Knox College student receives Fulbright

Sea turtle retention in Costa Rica

April 13, 2007

Knox College senior Kourtney Cone has been awarded a 2007 Fulbright Fellowship. Cone will conduct research on the retention of sea turtles in Costa Rica.

Cone is the thirteenth Knox student in the past 12 years to receive a Fulbright Fellowship. The award is among the nation's most prestigious for international postgraduate study.

"Knox experiences fostered my interest in conservation and medicine."
"When sea turtles hatch," Cone says. "They immediately go into a swimming frenzy to get to the safe environment of weeds that cover the ocean floor. They are equipped with a yolk sack that gives them the energy to make this strenuous swim."

According to Cone, conservationists, in an effort to help the turtles build their strength before the swim, have held the hatchlings back for a day. "The theory is that they will be stronger. But, the yolk sack is temporary and its purpose is to provide this temporary burst of energy. We don't know if the yolk sack maintains the same amount of energy that it provides right after the turtles hatch," she says. "If the energy is spent either way, it doesn't help the hatchlings to hold them back."

In her research, Cone will measure the yolk sack of the hatchlings that immediately swim out to sea versus the yolk sack of hatchlings released at different timed release intervals.

As a biology major, Cone says that the best title for what she wants to do is conservation field medicine. "I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was a kid, and my Knox experiences have fostered my interest in conservation and medicine."

Cone  is also a member of Pi Beta Phi, plays the viola in string ensemble, has served as captain of the Prairie Fire tennis team for the last two years and is on the La Crosse team. She is from Pekin, Illinois.

Postponing veterinary school for Fulbright
Cone has been accepted to the University of Illinois' school of veterinary medicine but has deferred those studies for one year for the Fulbright study. "The way the Fulbright Fellowship works, I am an ambassador for the United States. I want to work with the community and learn about its culture. The kind of lessons you don't find in the classroom," she says.

Cone also wants to teach English and teach the community about conservation. "There is a real shortage of sea turtles and a lot of that is because we are sending them into a dirty environment. I want to make community education a part of my job.  I want to spread the conservation message."

About the Fulbright Fellowship
Fulbright awards are funded by the United States State Department and administered by the Institute of International Education, with additional support from participating countries and educational institutions.

The program was established 60 years ago to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries. Fellowships are awarded to outstanding college graduates, graduate students, young scholars and higher education faculty.

Knox College Fulbright Fellowships since 1999

 StudentField of StudyCountryYear
Kourtney ConeBiologyCosta Rica2007
Lindsey TurnbullMedical ResearchMalawi2006
David HanTeaching EnglishKorea2006
Cristin KjellandTeaching EnglishKorea2005
Angela RossmanIslamic StudiesUAE2003
Helen ScharberEnvironmental StudiesUK2003
Margaret AnthonyLawGermany2001
Carolyn SchenckGerman LanguageAustria2001
Ellen TitzkowskiTeaching EnglishGermany 2001
Rachel MuellerTeaching EnglishKorea1999
Theodore PrzyzyckiEuropean HistoryGermany1999
Kimberly RogersEthnomusicologyZimbabwe1999