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For someone who never had traveled abroad before coming to Carthage, Katie Niemeyer ’13 quickly demonstrated an ability to adapt in unfamiliar surroundings.
As a double-major in international political economy and economics, she thirsted for a chance to go abroad and learn about peoples’ lives in other countries. She traveled to Guatemala and Turkey during two of her J-Terms, and also to Tanzania, where she arranged her own summer internship with a non-governmental organization.
In the spring semester of her senior year, she learned she had earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She spent the 2013-2014 academic year as a Fulbright Fellow, living and working in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, as part of the United States’ premier cultural ambassadorship organization.
Upon her return to the United States, she headed to the University of California-Davis, where she earned a Master of Science in international agricultural development.
Ms. Niemeyer said her liberal arts education helped her understand the overlap of politics, economics, and other factors that affect societies. She credits her Carthage professors for boosting her confidence, noting that before Carthage, she couldn’t imagine such a prestigious scholarship was within her reach.
“I owe a lot to the faculty for pushing me and, at the same time, supporting me along the way,” she said. “In the end, it was the guidance I received from faculty and staff that helped me pursue my interest in international development. It was their support and encouragement that allowed me to accomplish things I never would have expected before attending Carthage College.”
How has your liberal arts education helped you?
Tips for current Carthage students:
Ms. Niemeyer encourages fellow Carthage students to apply for the Fulbright program, and offers the following advice: “I think the most important thing students should know when they are applying for a Fulbright scholarship/grant is that they have to be absolutely genuine about their reason and purpose for pursuing a placement in the program. Many people tend to think that grades and maybe even related experience are the main factors that make a Fulbrighter.
“The truth is that of the former Fulbrighters I’ve met and my current peers, one of the common strands that connects all of us is our curiosity about other people and cultures. … Fulbrighters want to pursue the unknown and be willing to create their own unique experience.”
Ms. Niemeyer said she made the right decision to pursue a Fulbright Fellowship in Mongolia. “I couldn’t imagine a better fit for my interests, personality, and personal growth.”
Favorite Carthage memories:
“Carthage gave me opportunities to explore other countries and cultures through J-Term study tours. Some of my favorite memories from college are from J-Term trips abroad to Turkey and Guatemala, and not just because I had exciting experiences. I not only learned about other societies and cultures, but I learned more about myself. These memories have, in a way, shaped my personal identity and life direction.”
“In the end, it was the guidance I received from faculty and staff that helped me pursue my interest in international development. It was their support and encouragement that allowed me to accomplish things I never would have expected before attending Carthage College.”