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Journalism student receives Fulbright to research women's rugby in India

By Jennifer Abbey, '12

Four years ago, Robin Miniter, '11, caught the travel bug when she signed on to spend a year in Florence, Italy, as part of Marist's Florence Freshman Experience. Now, after completing her bachelor's de­gree, Miniter is heading abroad again, this time as the recipient of a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program Scholarship to India.

While in India, Miniter will research the development of women's rugby in India, a topic which combines her interests in gender issues, sociology of sport and photography.

"Sports can be a means of limitation as well as of liberation; it all depends on the perspective you take," said Miniter, who majored in communication with a concentration in journalism and minors in global studies and women's studies. "I want to see how women's rugby, a contact sport which is still slowly be­ing accepted in the Western world, is fitting into India's unique, complex social system."

The Fulbright Program, administered by the Institute of International Education, is the flagship international educa­tional exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between people in the U.S. and people in other countries. Annually, the Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants to students, scholars, teachers, artists and scientists in 155 countries to contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Recipients of the prestigious Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields.

In her proposal for the scholarship, Miniter proposed that the rise of women's rugby in India, a customarily masculine ac­tivity, is indicative of a potential recasting of traditional Indian gender roles. Through the lens of her camera and interviews, she will document the evolution of these changes.

Miniter, whose younger sister was adopted from Nagpur, India, established a personal connection with rugby as a mem­ber of Marist's nationally ranked club team.

"I came to college never having touched a rugby ball and have since then watched the sport grow exponentially within the past few years all over the world," Miniter said.

During her time at Marist, Miniter received recognition for her photography from the National Association of Photoshop Professionals, spearheaded public relations initiatives for the Literary Arts Society (LAS), participated in the Marist Emerging Leaders Program, and served as lifestyles editor, photography editor and staff writer for the college's student newspaper The Circle. She also completed several photography projects as part of her coursework, including one that depicted images of femininity in sport.

"It feels so fitting that this has all come full circle," said Miniter. "My experiences at Marist have not only cultivated my love for travel, but also my understanding of home, my sen­sitivity and respect, and most importantly, an appreciation for the people with whom I've crossed paths, at home and abroad, who've inspired me to stay passionate and keep moving."