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Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-5732
Date: March 21, 1997

Student Wins Fellowship for Postgraduate Project

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Princeton University has created a new postgraduate fellowship that will enable the recipient to devote a year to an independent project meant to help him or her prepare for the next major phase of life, career, and intellectual endeavor. Cyrus Etemad, a senior from Tiburon, Calif., will be the first recipient of the Martin A. Dale '53 Fellowship.

The Dale fellowship, which was announced in the fall, enables the recipient to pursue a project that can widen his or her experience of the world and significantly advance his or her personal growth and intellectual development. The award carries a grant of $20,000.

Etemad's project arises from several years' experience researching and photographing abandoned military sites, ranging from World War I-era coastal fortifications to launching facilities for obsolete nuclear missiles. In addition to a large body of photographs, the project will lead to a text exploring the histories of these programs and sites, as well as their changing social contexts; the historical and present interplay between military technology and architecture and between defense planning and strategy, particularly during the Cold War; and the nature of obsolescence and ruin. The fellowship will allow him to continue to travel and photograph sites throughout the Western and Midwestern United States, as well as to undertake research at such institutions as the National Archives in Washington, DC. He intends to produce both a publishable manuscript and a photographic exhibition.

"I see the project as meshing several disciplines," said Etemad. "My aim is to fuse the analytic and the creative in a single work. The work and the process of making it may ultimately guide me in choosing from among the paths I have sought for my further studies and my career."

A major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Etemad is pursuing certificates in the University's Environmental Studies and Visual Arts programs. His senior thesis for the Woodrow Wilson School concerns high-level nuclear waste disposal in the United States, particularly the problem of interim storage. He is also mounting an exhibition through the Visual Arts program featuring photographs and other installation work. He expects to pursue a graduate degree and perhaps an academic career.

Last summer, Etemad participated in an intensive program in architectural design, history and theory at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. In the spring and summer of 1995, he used a semester's advanced standing at Princeton to work full-time as a research intern at Conservation International in Washington, DC.

Etemad's photographs have earned him two solo exhibitions: at Stanford University's Bechtel Center in 1996 and at the Branson gallery in Marin County, Calif., in 1995. He has worked for the past two years as an assistant preparator at the Princeton University Art Museum, matting prints, drawings, and photography.

The Dale recipient is selected on the basis of his or her proposal, particularly its clarity of focus and its feasibility, as well as the candidate's integrity and intellectual or creative talent. Candidates are measured by the potential impact the year spent working onthe project can have on their own personal futures and, where relevant, on the future of American society or the international community.

In 1991, Martin Dale created a program of summer fellowships at Princeton, which are awarded to six or more sophomore students each year and are intended to provide them with opportunities for personal growth; to foster independence, creativity and leadership skills; and to broaden or deepen some area of special interest.