Julia Skrovan ’15 has been awarded a two-year Shansi Fellowship to Indonesia. For her fellowship, Skrovan will teach English and lend writing support to undergraduate and graduate students at Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh. She will additionally spend time teaching for the master's program in the English education section of Teacher Training and Education at the university.
While an undergraduate at Oberlin, the geology major and politics minor worked as a teaching assistant for several geology courses, the marketing assistant for the Oberlin College Career Center, and the advertising manager for the Oberlin Review. She also sprinted and threw javelin for Oberlin College Track & Field and served as a compost coordinator for the resource conservation team her first and second years.
Skrovan has worked as the geographic information systems (GIS) research assistant for the geology department since graduating in spring 2015. In that role, she supported faculty and student research across departments related to spatial analysis and mapmaking using various GIS programs, GPS and surveying equipment, and ground penetrating radar (GPR). She also taught the GIS winter-term course, served as a teaching assistant for hydrogeology and GIS courses, and co-taught an ExCo on data visualization and communication.
Skrovan says she applied to this fellowship to strengthen and challenge her understanding of other cultures, histories, and what it means to enter a community as a visitor, a teacher, and a scientist. Banda Aceh, she says, has a particularly dynamic history of human and environmental conflict, both of which have challenged its cultural inertia and adaptability. “My interests in geology and politics stem from a desire to explore that type of balanced friction: great levels of change coupled with endurance,” Skrovan says.
Outside of her fellowship, Skrovan says she hopes to become involved with local scientists working on projects related to natural hazards and the environment and to engage in a variety of cultural learning. She says immersion in new cultures “at once reveals and deconstructs otherwise imperceptible boundaries I have drawn; boundaries that confine me to a certain American understanding of how to live in the world and interact with the people in it.” She will travel to Indonesia in June to complete a two-month language immersion course at Alam Bahasa Indonesia Language School in Yogyakarta before relocating to Banda Aceh.