Rachel Markowitz (B.A. '08) is one of UT Dallas' newest alumni and the first UT Dallas undergraduate student to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship. She graduated in May with her bachelor's degree in political science and will soon be traveling to Morocco to study alternative dispute resolution.
Markowitz says that receiving a Fulbright award is "the biggest thing" that's ever happened to her, and that it is a direct result of her being at UT Dallas. She is especially thankful for the support she received from UT Dallas faculty members, including Dr. Doug Dow, Dr. Marie Chevrier, and Dr. Edward Harpham, and the McDermott Scholars program. She began preparing to apply for the Fulbright a full year before the application was due, crafting and recrafting her application with Dr. Dow until, she says, neither one of them could stand to read it anymore and they passed it to other faculty members to review. She is thrilled that the Fulbright program will support her as she delves deeper into a subject that has fascinated her since high school.
She became interested in dispute resolution while studying at the United World College of the American West in Montezuma, New Mexico. While in Morocco she will research how Western models of dispute resolution are being used in a non-Western context. Her independent study will focus on the implementation of alternative dispute resolution in Moroccan courts and civil society, and her hope is that her research will one day influence the creation of a "truly Moroccan form of alternative dispute resolution."
This won't be her first time to study in Morocco. As a McDermott Scholar at UT Dallas, she had the opportunity to study Arabic and mediation there during the spring 2006 semester. The country appeals to her because it is French-speaking, and she's had five years of French classes, but also because she is comfortable being an outsider. One thing that attracted her to UT Dallas was the medium size of the university, which meant that she usually "knew at least two people and didn't know at least two people" at every event. A community of this size made her comfortable, but also gave her room to grow. She'll likely experience something similar when she returns to Morocco as both an insider who has traveled there before and an outsider from the Western world.
When she returns, she plans to pursue a joint degree in law and conflict resolution or Middle Eastern studies and gain fluency in Arabic. Her hope is to one day work on resolving cross-cultural disputes, maybe through work with the United Nations.