WALLA WALLA, Wash.— A dozen Whitman students have been recommended for Fulbright Fellowships that would send them around the world next year to study and teach in countries that include Malaysia, Germany, China and Korea.

“Whitman had a record number of 22 applicants as well as a record number of 12 students making the 'first cut' in being recommended on to the final stage in the Fulbright process,” said Julia Davis, adviser of the Whitman College Fellows Program. “The Fulbright Committee was impressed with the high quality of this year's applications, and we were particularly pleased with the increase in the number of students applying for Teaching Fulbrights and developing Research Fulbrights from their Study Abroad experiences and thesis research. In recent years applying for a Fulbright has become the capstone of students' other experiences as Whitman, and the quality and the depth of the applications shows.”

Daniel Beekman with Chinese student
Whitman Fulbright applicant Daniel Beekman '07 is shown here with a middle-school-aged Chinese student that he tutored in English during a semester abroad last spring. 

Established by Congress in 1946, the Fulbright Student Program is considered the flagship of America’s educational exchange programs, and allows participants to design their own projects in which they conduct academic research and teach English as a foreign language around the world.

Davis, who expects to begin hearing of award confirmations by the end of March, said she would encourage all current students to set their sights and start planning their own application for a fellowship, be it a Fulbright, Truman, Watson or another of the many opportunities available. For more information, contact Davis or Shannon Gilmore in the office of grants and fellowships at fellowships@whitman.edu.

Proposed projects by Whitman applicants this year include an academic study of China’s presentation of the Olympics, a research project into social factors that affect fair trade rice cooperatives in Thailand, and a study of culture, language and food in Malaysia. Other students have proposed to teach English in Germany, Spain, and South Korea.

One such proposed project would take senior anthropology major Daniel Beekman ’07 to China to study “how Beijing will present itself to a global audience” when it hosts the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. These games, said Beekman in his Fulbright proposal, “represent an about-face, a colossal gamble. The Chinese have invited the world in to scrutinize three decades of development. For better or worse, the Games will punctuate China’s quest for modernization and global legitimacy. I propose to experience, research and report on the intensification of pre-Olympic activity and visibility of Olympic symbols in Beijing.”


Another proposal would take senior Veronica Willetto to Botswana, where she spent spring semester of her junior year studying abroad. While there she conducted independent research about the Naro people in D’kar and about the development intervention take by the Botswana government and the Kuru Family of Organizations on behalf of the San peoples. While in D’kar, she observed elements of cultural tourism, which is what she proposes to study with a Fulbright Fellowship.

“One form of tourism in Botswana is indigenous cultural tourism, in which San communities control the construction of the attraction and/or serve as the essence of the attraction,” Willetto said in her proposal. “Though cultural tourism is an alternative preferable to industrial tourism, there are still negative impacts. Thus, I will study the intricacies of cultural tourism, determining the participants in its construction and the implications on San communities and the Botswana nation.”



CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
Email: parishlj@whitman.edu