Students Awarded Fulbright Fellowships

Post-graduate projects in Russia, Vietnam, South Korea

May 23, 2008

Myra Thompson

Three graduating seniors at Knox College have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships -- the nation's most prestigious awards for international postgraduate study.

Myra Thompson, a senior creative writing and Russian major, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study and write in Moscow, Russia. Rebecca Ganster, a senior who is majoring in integrated international studies and Spanish, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for teaching in Vietnam. Bethany Vittetoe, a senior economics major, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for teaching in South Korea.

In the past decade, fifteen Knox students have been awarded Fulbright Fellowships for postgraduate study in ten nations throughout Africa, Asia and Europe.

Thompson, who also won first prize in this year's Nick Adams Short Story Competition, will combine fiction writing with study of contemporary Russia.

"I'm particularly interested in the interactions between three segments of Russian society -- those who remember Stalinist times, their children who grew up in the 1960s and 70s under Brezhnev, and their grandchildren who never knew a 'Soviet Union,' which was formally disssolved in 1991," Thompson said.

Bethany Vittetoe

Bethany Vittetoe will teach English in South Korea. An economics major who has conducted research into the ethanol boom, Vittetoe said she also would like to study agricultural economics in Korea. "It depends on how quickly I pick up the language, and where I get stationed," she said "I'd like to learn more about agricultural practices in Korea, how they compare to the United States."

Rebecca Ganster was awarded a fellowship to teach English in Vietnam. Ganster, who majored in integrated international studies and Spanish, has traveled and studied in Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and Costa Rica. "In addition to teaching, I plan to study the effects of a modernizing economy on a traditional society," she said. Ganster also has researched domestic violence and interned at a Galesburg agency that works with domestic violence victims.

"These most recent awards affirm Knox's continuing mission -- established at the founding of the College -- to send students out into the world to help improve the lives of others," said Lawrence Breitborde, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of the College, and Fulbright program campus advisor. "Their participation in overseas communities will help them further develop their understanding of other people's ways of life."

Approximately 1,200 Fulbright fellowships are awarded annually. They are funded by the U.S. State Department and administered by the Institute of International Education, with additional support from participating countries and educational institutions.

Rebecca Ganster

The program was established in 1946 to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries. Approximately 1,200 fellowships for international study are awarded to outstanding college graduates, graduate students, young scholars and higher education faculty.

Founded in 1837, Knox is a national liberal arts college in Galesburg, Illinois, with students from 46 states and 43 nations. Knox's 'Old Main' is a National Historic Landmark and the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.