Obadiah Baker is a native of Cleveland's Hough community. In 2021, Obadiah produced and composed a film score for a documentary film called "The Shadow Between Us" with The Silhouettes, from America's Got Talent, about systemic racism and healing the divide through shadow dance. This film won "Official Selection" in the 2022 Toronto Black Film Festival.
Obadiah is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy, New England Conservatory of Music, and the University of Arkansas Grantham, a military intelligence and civil affairs army officer, Afghanistan War Veteran, aerospace and defense quality manager, award-winning independent film producer, and now a Fulbright scholar. He founded Tender Heart Crusades in 2009, a nonprofit organization that directs its attention toward community involvement. His Fulbright research will study the cross-cultural replication and power of shadow dance as a conflict resolution and global peace intervention technique, with a focus on the interplay of Israeli Gaga and American shadow dance on Israeli Jewish students' awareness of race and identity.
The Shadow Between Us (2022) Documentary Film Trailer
Nolan Lebovitz was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue his research project "The Book of Esther and the Maccabees" at Bar-Ilan University under Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster. He will examine the Book of Esther's connection with the Hasmonean Period (3rd Century BCE - 1st Century CE) by studying other texts from this period that are not included in the biblical canon, to determine linguistic trends and thematic connections with Esther. By analyzing the relationship and the legacy between Esther and the Maccabees, he will be able to portray this significant Hasmonean Period as a microcosm of complex agendas and texts from which we may all continue to learn. Lebovitz is pursuing his PhD at Claremont Graduate University. Before then, he received his Masters and Rabbinic Ordination from the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at American Jewish University, and his BA from University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
Faigy Mandelbaum was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue her research project titled, “The impact of childhood trauma on C-PTSD symptomology in active-duty lone soldiers” in the lab of Dr. Rachel Dekel at Bar-Ilan University. Faigy has a B.S. in Behavioral Science and Human Services from Bellevue University, a Post-Bac from Brooklyn College, an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Hofstra University, and is a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Hofstra University. Faigy is the first person to study mental health struggles in Lone Soldiers. Lone Solders are defined as soldiers who serve in the army without family support. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is the only army in the world to recognize the construct of the lone soldier. Faigy’s research showed that Lone Soldiers endorse more childhood trauma, emotion regulation difficulties, and interpersonal difficulties when compared to non-lone Soldiers. Faigy’s research also found that Lone Soldiers are more likely to screen positive for PTSD than non-lone Soldiers. Faigy will be expanding this research during her Fulbright Fellowship. She will also assess the efficacy of current Lone Soldier support networks.
Her recent publications:
Elbulok-Charcape, M., Mandelbaum, F., Miles, R., Bergdoll, R., Turbeville, D., & Rabin, L. (2020). Reducing stigma surrounding mental health: Diverse undergraduates speak out. Journal of College Student Psychopathology. DOI:
Stewart, G., Kamata, A., Miles, R., Grandoit, E., Mandelbaum, F., Quinn, C., Rabin, L. (2019). Predicting mental health Help-Seeking Orientations among Diverse Undergraduates: An Ordinal Logistic Regression Analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 257, 271-280.
Hazan, B., Zhang, W., Olcum, E., Bergdoll, R., Grandoit, E., Mandelbaum, F., Wilson-Doenges, G., & Rabin, L (2018). Gamification of an undergraduate psychology statics lab: benefits to perceived competence. Statistics Education Research Journal, 17(2), 255-265.
Kathleen Abadie was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue her research project titled, “Revealing Immune Cell Dynamics in Solid Tumors to Advance Immunotherapy” in the lab of Professor Ido Amit at the Weizmann Institute. Kathleen has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Rice University and is currently a Bioengineering PhD student at the University of Washington. Her current research seeks to better understand how T cells, the workhorse killer cells of the immune system, transition between different functional states with distinct roles in fighting immune threats such as infection and cancer. As a Fulbright Fellow in the Amit lab, she will work to develop genomic methods to better track changing immune cell states over time as they respond to cancer. Ultimately, she hopes this research will improve our ability to engineer immune cells for cancer therapy.
Alexandra Kemp is a recipient of the Fulbright One-semester PhD Research Award for her research project titled, “Bridging Aviation and Healthcare: UAVs in Emergency Medicine” at Tel Aviv University under Dr. Joachim Meyer. Alex earned her BFA in Mass Communications and a minor in Vocal Performance at Valdosta State University in 2008, and her MS in Aeronautics with an emphasis in Space Studies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Alex is a PhD student at Purdue University studying Aviation with an emphasis in Human Factors under Dr. Brian Dillman. Currently, Alex is researching prevention methods to mitigate loss of control inflight using energy management, for general aviation pilots.
Kelsey Reed was awarded a Fulbright Doctoral Fellowship to pursue her research project, “Improving Heirloom Tomato Traits through Gene Editing,” with Dr. Idan Efroni’s lab at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This project aims to extend the shelf life of heirloom tomatoes by precisely modifying target genes through gene editing. The project will result in a more durable and diverse tomato through a method that can be applied to other crops. Kelsey obtained a B.S. in Plant Biology at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2018 and is currently a Ph.D. student in Dr. Bastiaan Bargmann’s lab at Virginia Tech. She is currently researching how to increase regeneration capabilities of plant protoplasts for crop improvement.
Sean Rao was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue his research project, titled “Ideology, Credibility, and Political Mobilization in Israel’s Arab Sector”, at the University of Haifa under Dr. As’ad Ghanem. Sean earned his B.A. in International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his M.A. in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Government and Politics at the University of Maryland-College Park, where he is writing his dissertation on the role of religious and socialist ideologies in political mobilization. He studies whether the use of ideological framing by political parties impacts perceptions of credibility among voters.
Edith Chen received her BA from Duke University in Public Policy and Islamic Studies, MA from Harvard University in Middle East Studies, and is now a PhD candidate at Princeton University’s Near Eastern Studies department. Her research is focused on the history of the Mongol Empire and its relationship with vassal states. Her dissertation, “Southern Iran Under Mongol Rule (1220 - 1350)” looks at the Mongols in Iran during the Ilkhanate period and the social ties between the imperial center and polities on the peripheries, and the impacts of geography, climate, and political cultures during this period. She will be continuing her research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she will be working with Professor Michal Biran on the “Mobility, Empire and Cross Cultural Contacts in Mongol Eurasia” project to maintain and update a database of translated primary sources on individuals active during this period. In addition to incorporating digital humanities tools into her research, she will also be working with faculties in the departments of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, Asian Studies, and those specializing in climate history.
Jon Paul Heyne
Jon Paul Heyne received his B.A. at the University of Dallas and M.A. at The Catholic University of America, where he is currently completing his Ph.D. He was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research under Professor Iris Shagrir at the Open University of Israel for his doctoral dissertation, “The Franciscans of the Holy Land: Religion and Politics of the Mediterranean in the Age of Queen Sancia.” His project exams the fourteenth-century reestablishment of the Franciscan friars in Jerusalem within the context of wider political and religious phenomena of the late medieval Mediterranean.
Jill Joshowitz is a PhD candidate in the department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at New York University, where she is writing her dissertation on the representation of biblical figures in late antique synagogue art. Jill’s dissertation investigates the role that biblical imagery played in shaping and reinforcing late antique notions of exemplary behavior throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. Jill was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to pursue research under Dr. Uzi Leibner at at the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University, where she will examine the biblical iconography that has survived in mosaic pavements from synagogues excavated in northern Israel.