Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

June 20, 2003

Whitworth Alumna Receives Fulbright Grant to Study in the Netherlands

Kelly Siebe, a 2003 Whitworth alumna who majored in communications, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to study in the Netherlands. Siebe will study at the University of Groningen, located in the north of the Netherlands, and plans to write her master's thesis on the relationship between colonialism and women's travel writing during the 19th century. Siebe is the fourth Whitworth alum since 1990 to receive a Fulbright award.

John Yoder, Fulbright advisor and professor of political studies at Whitworth, says the Fulbright is one of the most competitive and prestigious grants given to graduates of U.S. universities and colleges.

"Students who win the Fulbright receive a stipend that covers all of their travel, tuition, and living expenses," Yoder says. "The main benefits, however, are not financial; the opportunity to study abroad at a strong university in a field of one's choice is a great benefit."

The Fulbright Program, established in 1946 by the U.S. Congress, is intended to foster mutual understanding among nations through educational and cultural exchanges. Approximately 1,000 awards are given annually to graduate and undergraduate students.

Siebe is the first Whitworth graduate to receive a Fulbright grant to Europe. Whitworth's other winners have studied in Ghana, Congo-Brazzaville and Burkina Faso, West Africa. Siebe's strong project proposal and her excellent Dutch language skills were among the reasons she received the scholarship, Yoder says.

Siebe says that the University of Groningen is an excellent place to study because it is a center for both women's studies and historical travel writing.

"The Netherlands is a good place to observe a post-colonial society," she says. "Dutch culture is still affected by its imperial past. It's haunted by historical wrongdoing, yet enriched by the diversity its former colonies provide."

Siebe, originally from Enterprise, Ore., says Whitworth prepared her well for international study.

"Whitworth's intercultural-communications class opened my eyes to so many elements of my own culture I'd never thought about, and it made me curious to see what tends to make people in other cultures tick," Siebe says. "Whitworth as an institution sharpened my critical-thinking skills, helped me look beyond the 'obvious answer' to more complex issues, and fueled my desire to discover more of the world."

After completing her Fulbright studies in the Netherlands, Siebe plans to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor specializing in travel writing; she also hopes to publish her own travel writing.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,200 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Kelly Siebe, kellysiebe@hotmail.com.

John Yoder, Fulbright advisor and professor of political studies, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4432, johnyoder@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729, jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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