May 18-24, 2001
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IN THIS ISSUE
Waters' mission runs deep
Two graduates honored for their service to humanity
Student aids the homeless

Mellon winner redefines "Jim Crow" era

Pre-med student shares his passion for music
Fast-track grad driven to help his family
Student leads effort to install Braille on Lawn room doors
Creative recycling: Students convert crate into studio
Lawson lives richly
Can you go home again? Issues facing international students
Education delayed but not denied
Weaver finds election laws discriminatory
Quilter gets A+
Students to go abroad on Fulbright scholarships
Weddle will research Peruvian women
Graduate rich in lessons learned
Anthony defender of public good
Affinnih plays her cards strategically
After earning degree in two years, graduate going for two more
Student develops new sign language system
Student trio pushes for late-night joe
Christy Ferguson
Christy Ferguson in Tunisia

Students to go abroad on Fulbright scholarships
Ferguson a fervant scholar of Muslim faith

By Charlotte Crystal

An archaeological dig in Carthage, Tunisia, in 1999, opened Christy Ferguson’s eyes to the Muslim world in all its beauty, mystery and contradictions. Since then, the young woman from Franklin, a little town in the peanut country of Southside Virginia where her family has lived for more than 300 years, has sought to understand that world and its diverse people.

This quest has shaped her studies at U.Va. and abroad. She addressed the Muslim identity in America in her fourth-year “distinguished major thesis” in anthropology.

Last summer, she interviewed Muslim immigrants while an intern with the Islamic Institute, a political lobbying group in Washington. And this summer, she will travel to Jordan as a Fulbright scholar to study Arabics.

After completing her Fulbright studies, Ferguson will choose between joining the Peace Corps in Morocco to work with a maternal-child health program or pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology at American University in Cairo or in the states at Michigan or Yale. s

Nationality is still important for Muslims who come to the United States, Ferguson said. “Recent immigrants don’t see themselves as American Muslims, but as Pakistanis or Syrians or whatever. They hyphenate and modify their ideas of themselves as they assemble a new identity in America.”

They also redefine their religion in terms that American Protestants, Catholics and Jews can understand, Ferguson said. Christianity, Judaism and Islam all begin with Adam and Eve, and Muslims believe Abraham, Moses and Jesus laid the foundation of their faith. It is the teachings of the seventh-century prophet Mohammed, she said, that remain the cornerstone of their religion, no matter where in the world they settle.

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