Former Rhinelander High School student Jesse Zarley is packing his bags for South America after earning one of the most prestigious scholarships in the country.
Zarley was named as a Fulbright Award recipient and will travel to Argentina for the remainder of this year and then on to Chile for all of next year to study the history of indigenous peoples after those countries achieved independence.
“I was very excited when I heard about winning the award,” Zarley said. “It is a binational program so I had to be approved in the United States and by the Chilean government. It was great to know that the Chilean government views my work as important enough to warrant this award.”
The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the United State government and is designed to increase understanding between countries. Fulbright winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize 44 times and have won the Pulitzer Prize 78 times.
Zarley, a doctorial history student at the University of Maryland, College Park, will research the experience of native populations in Argentina and Chile after the two countries gained their independence from European powers, similar to the experience Native American cultures had when the United States became an independent country.
“My research deals with the Mapuche who inhabited southern Chile and western Argentina,” Zarley said. “I am looking at their social organization, political organization around the late 18th and 19th century when these countries were becoming independent.”
Zarley is leaving for Argentina at the end of the month and will remain there until the first of the year. He will then spend the next year in Chile researching his project.
“When I return, I will use my research as the primary materials for my dissertation,” he said.
Zarley, who earned his bachelor degree from the University of Wisconisn-Madison, said when he is finished with his schooling he hopes to teach in a collegiate setting.
“What I will be doing now is a lot of researching,” he said. “But when I graduate, I am very much interested in teaching. I have taught several undergraduate classes at Maryland and my goal is to get a teaching position at a university.”