WALLA WALLA, Wash.In what has become a banner year for Whitman, students have won prestigious awards from the Watson, Truman and Udall foundations.

Seniors Joseph Bornstein, Teal Greyhavens and Erik Thor Andersen have received Watson Fellowships. (Whitman was the only college to receive three or more Watsons this year.) Truman Scholarships went to Caitlin Schoenfelder ’09 and Erica Goad ’09; Elena Gustafson ’10 received a Udall Scholarship.

“For any college or institution to have students win two Truman Scholarships, three Watson Fellowships, and a Udall Scholarship in the same year is nothing short of spectacular,” said Whitman President George Bridges. “Very few institutions in the country, particularly those the size of Whitman, have this record of quality and accomplishment. We are immensely proud of these students and the faculty members and staff who supported them through the scholarship process.”

The Watson Fellowship

The Watson Fellowship Program provides a one-year grant of $25,000 for independent study and travel outside the United States to college graduates of “unusual promise.” Only 50 were awarded nationwide this year.

Bornstein, a philosophy major from Ashland, Ore., who last year won a Truman Scholarship, will use his grant to put into effect “Philosophies and Strategies of Sustainable Community Development.” He will spend time in Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Mali and India volunteering with organizations involved in sustainable community development in anticipation of his career plan of involvement with environmental justice.

Greyhavens, of Eugene, Oregon, is majoring in rhetoric and film studies. He will travel to the United Kingdom, Burkina Faso, Egypt, India and China to create “Moving Pictures around the World” as he surveys the role of cinema and the habits of film audiences to find the “threads” that connect the experiences of moviegoers around the globe.

Political philosophy major Erik Thor Andersen has created “Re-Presenting the Absent: Memorials and Historical Memory,” which will take him to Japan, Poland, Austria, Rwanda, Israel and Northern Ireland, where he will develop a “critical vocabulary” that will enable him to “read” public art and understand how physical reminders of past violence reshape the physical spaces and the historical memories of a people. Andersen is from Kneeland, Calif.

The Truman Scholarship

Truman scholars named this year were chosen on the basis of leadership potential, intellectual ability, and the likelihood of “making a difference.” Each scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study, in addition to priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, as well as addition training and counseling. Whitman’s two recipients are among 65 nationwide.

Schoenfelder is a politics major with a minor in Latin American studies whose resume reads like a roadmap to “leadership” and “making a difference.” Her Whitman activities have included leadership roles in the “Borders in Our Backyard” program, a four-day experiential learning trip for Whitman students to study immigration issues; Immigration Interest Group, which works with the local Latino community; Border Links, a student-led field study trip to the U.S.-Mexico border; and a volunteer for “Story Time Project” in which she reads stories to local students n the English as a Second Language program. In letters of recommendation, the junior from La Grande, Ore., was cited for “academic and intellectual abilities” and her potential for success in graduate school.

A biology-environmental studies major from Golden, Colo., Goad’s involvement at Whitman includes Whitman’s Campus Climate Challenge; the Whitman College Conservation Committee; the Whitman College Outdoor Program; the women in Outdoor Leadership Club; and ASWC. Her extensive civic and professional activities include that of intern with the Tri-State Steelheaders; intern with the Sustainable Living Center; conservation field researcher with Save the Rhino Trust, Namibia; and forest conservation worker for the Hells Canyon reservation Council. She was described in a nominating letter as a “highly engaged intellectual who is deeply committed to civic engagements on campus and in her community.”

The Udall Scholarship

The Udall Scholarship of up to $5,000 is awarded to honor Morris K. Udall, an outspoken defender of the environment, for his 30 years of service in the House of Representatives. The scholarships go to sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated commitment to careers related to the environment; scholarships are used for educational expenses for the next academic year. Recipients attend a four-day Udall Scholars Orientation in Tucson, Arizona, in August.

Gustafson, a sophomore majoring in environmental humanities and minoring in geology, stated her career goal as one of “integrating environmental and outdoor education into the public school system.” Environmental education, she says, is an academic awareness of facts; outdoor education is “direct, experiential connection of book knowledge into the physical world.” She has already begun integrating the two with the creation of the Youth Adventure Program, in which Whitman students lead local youth on outdoor education trips. She is also an active member of Youth Development Initiatives, a group that is creating community service opportunities for disenfranchised youth in Sierra Leone; she student teaches in “Environmental Education for Kids”; and is a member of both the Campus Climate Challenge and the Campus Greens.

In one of her nomination letters, Gustafson was praised for her commitment to “providing young people with direct experiences with nature and with psychological and emotional resources to come to terms with what is happening in their world.” Gustafson is from Los Alamos, NM.


CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156