Scholarship winners gain opportunities to travel

Samantha Sigler

With only six applicants for the Fulbright Scholarship and approximately 20 for the Kemper Scholarship, one would think that students would be jumping at the chance to apply and win. However, this is often not the case.

The Fulbright Scholarship is a national scholarship that helps send graduating seniors or recent graduates abroad to teach in another
country. The Kemper Scholarship offers freshmen scholarship assistance, as well as, provides them with two summer internships with stipends.

“It’s highly competitive, so there is a lot of self selection,” Debbie Olsen, Linfield’s competitive scholarships adviser, said. “People realize the level of competition and the tremendous amount of work, so I usually have more people start out then actually apply. It’s not something you do the night before.”

Two Linfield students, freshmen Cody Purchase and Terran Sobel-Smith, were chosen for the Kemper Scholars award, and one Linfield graduate, Chris Norman, class of ‘10, was awarded the Fulbright Grant.

For the Fulbright scholarship, there are two different opportunities for seniors or recent graduates. One is a full grant to be used for research or projects, while the other is to help send the winner as an English teaching assistant to somewhere in the world.

Having graduated in 2010, Norman went through Linfield to apply for the Fulbright grant.

“He stood out because he was the ASLC vice president [his senior year], and made regular presentations to the board of trustees. And he was comfortable speaking in front of a group,” Olsen said.

Norman graduated cum laude as a political science major, and is interested in political systems around the world. Although he does not want to be a teacher, Norman is interested in education policy and will use this grant to explore different countries’ policies.

“This will give him first-hand experience in the classroom,” Olsen said.

Norman will use the grant to teach English in Germany, which is also where the last four other winners of the grant went.

“This speaks very well of our German language program here at Linfield,” Olsen said.

The Kemper Scholars Award also spoke well of Linfield’s programs, as they are usually only allowed to give one student the Kemper Scholars Award. However, last year and this year they were allowed to choose two students.

“It is really exciting that we have two again,” Olsen said.

Last year, the winners of the Kemper Scholarship were sophomores Blake Densly and Joe Gladow.

“They were instrumental in recruiting students for the Kemper Scholarship this year,” Olsen said. Densly and Gladow assisted the committee in choosing the finalists of the scholarship.

One of the two winners, Sobel-Smith, is a biology major in the environmental studies and policy track at Linfield and wants to work in environmental consulting one day. At Linfield, he is involved with Circle K, Greenfield and speech and debate.

“The scholarship gives me a good chance for me to get both sides of what it takes to be in a leadership position,” Purchase said. “I get both the education at Linfield and experience with people who are leaders.”

Purchase is a Japanese and International Relations double major, and plans on using the scholarship to intern in Chicago next summer at a not-for-profit organization that has to do with human rights or at a cultural center. The following summer, he hopes to intern at a for-profit youth exchange program in Japan if available.

“However I can make the best impact, whether that’s working directly with kids or something higher up where I work with the overall logistics of it,” Purchase said.

Other scholarships that are available to students through Linfield can be found at

Samantha Sigler/
News editor