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Meet Anna Feit: Fulbright U.S. Scholar 2024-25

May 22, 2024

In May we asked undergrad Anna Feit about her upcoming research abroad as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Program 2024-25 recipient, which will take her to Brazil for nine months and her Jackson School student experience. In June 2024, she will graduate with a bachelor of arts interdisciplinary honors, global and regional studies major, with a minor in Portuguese Language and Luso-Brazilian Studies. Her hometown is Seattle, Washington.

Anna Feit headshot

Anna Feit ’24

How did you decide to major at the Jackson School?
During my first few years at the UW, I was involved with the Model UN club. There, I got to meet juniors and senors with similar interests in international engagement to me and they suggested that I look into the Jackson School programs. My involvement in the club and the connections I made helped shape my goals. I was drawn in by the School’s emphasis on culture and language and the freedom a Jackson School major would give me to explore my interdisciplinary interests.

What inspired you to apply for a Fulbright?
I knew I wanted to pursue opportunities abroad for a few years between graduating and going to graduate school for a library science degree. When I saw an email from an adviser about an upcoming Fulbright information session, I was curious and decided to sign up. I never thought I would be “good enough” for a Fulbright, or that it would be the right program for me. However, in the information session, I learned that I was eligible and interested in pursuing a Fulbright grant. I liked that the grant values self-driven learning and research questions. I am so glad that I did not count myself out because now I have the opportunity to conduct research that I am passionate about and that I hope to continue for the rest of my career.

How will you be spending your time as a Fulbright?
During my time as a Fulbright recipient, I will research how Jewish understandings of archival resources align with an archive’s methods of creating and organizing their data. This research will be conducted at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I will work at the archives managed by the Center for Jewish Studies (NEJ) and collect data from this work that I will then analyze under the supervision of a professor from UFMG’s Information Science School (ECI). I will also audit classes at UFMG at both the NEJ and the ECI. The project, titled, “Digital Archives and Remembrance: Jewish Studies and Knowledge Organization in Brazil,” will combine my knowledge of Portuguese and Brazilian Jewish history with my career goals in Jewish archival science.

Key skills have you learned at the Jackson School you think you’ll take with you in your career?
In the Jackson School classes I took, we were constantly taught to think critically about information presented to us while also being respectful and open to a diverse range of opinions. The classes also let us practice academic writing and debate.

What were the most impactful learning experiences you have had as an undergrad Jackson School student?
The most impactful learning experience I have had has been working with the Sephardic Studies program at the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies at the Jackson School. I have now worked at the Sephardic Studies archives two springs in a row, using my passion for library and archival sciences with my knowledge of Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) to explore the cataloging of texts that are hundreds of years old. This has given me valuable research experience and a familiarity with archives and the digital humanities. Additionally, I will forever be grateful that my Jackson School major requires proficiency in a second language. I learned Portuguese to fulfill this requirement, and in doing so, gained a newfound love and appreciation of learning languages and the insights that language can give you on a country’s history and culture. Learning Portuguese also gave me the confidence to start learning Ladino, and I hope to learn many more languages in the future. It also led me to take part in a Jackson School Early Fall Start study abroad program in Brazil, which challenged and furthered my understanding of the world in so many ways.

Advice to prospective majors about advantages of the Jackson School?
Talk to your professors and teaching assistants! While taking a class, go to their office hours, even if you don’t have any questions about course material. Asking professors about their interests and their career paths was really helpful for me when figuring out my own path. Professors are also always happy to help students and discuss their research. If you build a relationship with them, they can then be great references for job and grad school applications. This is also how most undergrads, including me, are offered research jobs. Also, take classes outside of your comfort zone and study abroad. Studying abroad is highly encouraged by the Jackson School and the advisers are great at helping you figure out how to make it possible, financially and academically.

Feit was one of two Jackson School students out of 13 at the University of Washington this spring to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship for exchange, research and teaching around the world in 2024-25.