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June 13, 2005

History grad off to Taiwan on Fulbright Scholarship

By Scott Rappaport

In two weeks, Katie Walsh will touch down in Taiwan to begin an 11-month adventure--teaching English and American culture to elementary schoolchildren as a Fulbright Scholar.

Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh
Photo: Scott Rappaport

The 21-year-old College Ten student has just received her bachelor of arts degree in history from UCSC with an emphasis on Asia and the Middle East.

She marked the occasion by delivering the student commencement address on Saturday at her college graduation ceremonies.

A transfer student from Bryn Mawr, Walsh came to UCSC in the fall of 2003 after taking a year off to work for the educational wing of AmeriCorps.

“Essentially it’s the domestic Peace Corps,” Walsh noted. “During the mornings, I mentored six second graders learning English as a second language who had just come over from mainland China; in the afternoon, I was a teacher for 29 third graders.”

Upon her arrival at UCSC, Walsh found her niche on campus at the College Ten International Living Center where she resided for a year with students from a variety of countries around the world. She soon became the coordinator of the International Affairs Group, a student organization that met every week to talk about politics and culture.

Walsh also participated in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Internship Program, working with Praxis--a service-learning organization at Colleges Nine and Ten. “We did a number of different community-service projects throughout Santa Cruz for groups like the Homeless Garden Project and Jacob’s Heart, which provides support for children with cancer,” Walsh said. “We also helped out with a benefit concert that was held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium to raise money for Oxfam, the global relief agency.”

Last spring, Walsh also found time to travel to Mexico with a group of 30 students as part of UCSC’s Alternative Spring Break program, to help build a house for a Mexican family.

Walsh said that she has been very impressed with the quality and support offered to her by faculty during her time at UCSC. “When I first transferred here, I took a course in history with Alan Christy and his class was amazing and intriguing--he was unlike any professor I had encountered at Bryn Mawr,” she noted. “And I’ve taken classes from Gail Hershatter who has been extremely approachable, supportive, and inspiring--she helped me with my academic and career plans.”

“What also makes UCSC so dynamic and powerful has been the activism on this campus--how passionate students are and how committed they are to social justice,” Walsh added. “That passion doesn’t exist at many other campuses.”

After returning from Taiwan in 2006, Walsh plans to further her education--by traveling throughout Asia to visit friends and contacts she made at the College Ten International Living Center--before considering a possible career in education and public policy. “To successfully do education, community, and social justice work, I feel it’s essential to learn and understand the history of different cultures,” she observed.

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