Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 30, 2007

Two Whitworth Seniors Join College's Notable Fulbright-Recipient Ranks

Whitworth seniors Lindsey Kiehn and Leah Silvieus have been selected to the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program, which places young Americans as English teachers in middle and high schools throughout Korea.

This is the first time two Whitworth students have received Fulbright awards in the same year. Since 2000, six Whitworth students and four faculty members have been selected as Fulbright scholars, an excellent record for a school of Whitworth's size that speaks highly of the college's academic reputation, according to John Yoder, Whitworth professor of political science and the college's Fulbright advisor.

"Winning a Fulbright award is the culmination of a very competitive process, and is the beginning of increased academic and career opportunities for the future," Yoder says. "Past Whitworth recipients have used their Fulbright experience as the foundation for entrance into very selective graduate schools and notable careers."

Yoder cites former Whitworth Fulbright recipients Karla DePriest, '04, who is in her second year at Duke University School of Law; Laura Thaut, '05, who will enter the University of Minnesota's doctoral program in political science; and Alissa Johnson, '01, who is based at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., where she works with the HIV/AIDS Network Coordination Office.

The futures of current Fulbright recipients Kiehn and Silvieus look just as bright. Kiehn, a resident of Spokane, Wash., is majoring in international studies, French, and cross-cultural studies, with a minor in English as a second language. She will graduate in May with a 3.91 grade point average. Kiehn has studied for two years in Norway and French Guiana, and has taught French and Norwegian to American students. This semester she has tutored ESL students twice a week as a volunteer with the Adult Education Center. After completing the 13-month Fulbright program, Kiehn plans to attend graduate school and work in international development.

Silvieus, a resident of Rifle, Colo., is an English-literature major with a 4.0 GPA. As a Korean adoptee, Silvieus says she has always been interested in Korean culture. While at Whitworth, she has been involved with Spokane's Korean community, and has done independent research on Korea and taken Korean-language lessons through the college. Silvieus is currently an ESL tutor for two Korean children who attend school in Spokane.

"The Fulbright program, with its incorporation of language immersion and home stays, seemed a wonderful way to spend an extended period of time in South Korea and learn more about the culture," says Silvieus, who plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in English, ethnic studies, or Asian studies once she completes the Fulbright program.

Unlike most Fulbright grants, which focus on international research, the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship's primary focus is teaching. In almost all cases, teaching assistants are the primary teachers in classrooms of 30-45 students. The teachers develop their own lesson plans and teach conversational English 20 hours per week from September-July, as well as supplementary classes during winter vacation.

This July, Kiehn and Silvieus will join 53 other ETAs in Korea for a six-week intensive teacher-training and language-immersion orientation, to be held at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, the capital of Kangwon province. The ETAs will receive their teaching assignments at the conclusion of the orientation. As part of the program, ETAs will take part in temporary home stays with Korean families. The ETAs' host schools arrange the home stays, as well as provide regular housing and a monthly stipend. For more information about the Fulbright ETA program, visit www.fulbright.or.kr/eta/english/etamain.html.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college, which has an enrollment of 2,500 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


John Yoder, professor of political science, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4432 or johnyoder@whitworth.edu.

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

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