Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

This site is archival. Please visit the current MIZZOU magazine site for up-to-date content.

Around the Columns

Fulbrights in flight

Andrew Sidel

Fulbright scholar Andrew Sidel, BA ’10, has taken his love of music and tennis to Madrid, where he’s teaching English as a second language. Walter Hare, BA ’10, who was not available for a photograph, spent part of his summer in Japan before starting his Fulbright research there on bunraku. Photo by Rob Hill

Becoming a puppeteer and touring with a hard-core metal band are hardly considered stops on the traditional route to collegiate success. But then again, the résumés of the two MU graduates who won 2010 Fulbright scholarships certainly must have stood out in the stack.

During his freshman year, Walter Hare, BA ’10, of Independence, Mo., learned about a form of Japanese puppetry called bunraku through Martin Holman, MU lecturer of Japanese. He joined Bunraku Bay, Holman’s Columbia-based troupe and the only known bunraku group outside of Japan. Now, Hare’s Fulbright has allowed him to delve into bunraku history at Shikoku University in Tokushima, Japan. Bunraku targets middle-class adults with its tragic themes of love suicides and missing children. “My initial attraction was actually the musical accompaniment to the play,” Hare says. “It’s performed on an instrument called the shamisen, which is basically what would happen if a banjo traveled to Asia.” He plans to meet local bunraku troupes, watch their practices and perhaps even perform.

The Fulbright Scholar Program grants awards to recent graduates and graduate students for yearlong research projects and English instruction. Andrew Sidel, BA ’10, of Brentwood, Mo., earned the latter. He now teaches in a Madrid secondary school and leads Intercambio, or conversation, groups for Spanish and English speakers. “You can talk about anything — culture, music, sports — so hopefully it leads to more cultural understanding,” he says. Sidel, a former member of MU’s Tennis Club, also plans to give tennis and music lessons. Traveling is nothing new to this drummer who delayed enrolling at Mizzou for a semester to tour the country in a van with Novella, a metal band. An active overachiever, Sidel says he started running half-marathons while previously living in Spain because he couldn’t sleep during the three-hour siestas. “When I was in Spain for study abroad, though, I began realizing that the rest of the world isn’t so stressed out,” he says. “I’m looking forward to being reconnected with that part of Spanish culture.” After his Fulbright year, Sidel plans to teach in a bilingual Texas school through Teach for America.