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Paul Bisceglio '09 Receives Fulbright to Study in the U.K.

It is “notoriously difficult,” says Dean of Academic Affairs Phil Bean, to win a Fulbright for study in the United Kingdom. “The U.K. is so easily accessible, linguistically, to Americans that it receives nine times more applicants than average for the 70 countries on Fulbright’s regular program list,” says Bean.

But this year, a recent Haverford graduate has beaten the odds. Paul Bisceglio ’09 will use his newly awarded Fulbright to fund his enrollment in the Philosophy and Literature M.A. course at the U.K.’s University of Warwick. Out of 597 applicants for U.K. Fulbrights, Bisceglio is among a handful of winners.

A philosophy and English major at Haverford, Bisceglio wanted to study at Warwick because, he says, it has “one of the top philosophy and literature programs in the UK.” The M.A. course is led by a leading scholar, Eileen John, whose classes and publications match Bisceglio’s own interest in the intersections of philosophy and art—especially poetry. “I want to investigate the emotional, ethical, and aesthetic experiences of reading,” he says, “and understand how these experiences influence and unsettle our perspectives and values.”

Outside of his classes, Bisceglio plans to attend lectures and events sponsored by the University’s Centre for Research in Philosophy, Literature and the Arts, an independent, interdepartmental research center that serves as a community forum for promoting interdisciplinary exchange. His short-term goal, once he receives his M.A., is to get accepted into an American Ph.D. program in either philosophy or English.

Since graduating from Haverford, Bisceglio has worked on a summer project with Assistant Professor of English Laura McGrane, researching evidence of transatlantic exchange in 18th-century American drama. He has also been participating in City Year Greater Philadelphia, an Americorps program that hires young adults for a year of service in inner-city schools and communities. Bisceglio works in Northeast Philadelphia at Francis Hopkinson School, where he has been assistant teaching seventh-grade reading and running after-school programs.

Bisceglio won’t leave community service behind when he relocates to the U.K. He intends to take advantage of Warwick’s location on the edge of the city of Coventry and become involved with a volunteer group called Voluntary Action Coventry. “I’m particularly interested in the Visually Impaired and Sighted Tandem Association, a weekend cycling group that pairs visually impaired adults with sighted riders for tandem bike rides outside the city,” he says.

A dedicated runner, Bisceglio recently won the 2010 Philadelphia Race for the Cure, which raises money for the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Crossing the finish line in 15 minutes and 58 seconds, he ran in celebration of Mother's Day with his mother, Gail, who he calls a big inspiration in his life. "We were both moved by the race's cause, and wanted to support the healthy lifestyle and positive attitude that the race encourages," he says.

-Brenna McBride

The ramp from Magill Library with Ryan Gym and Sharpless Hall in the background.

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