Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Two Whitworth alums selected for esteemed Lilly Graduate Fellows Program


Amy Schroeder, '09
Whitworth alumnae Amy Schroeder, '09, and Katrina Wheeler, '08, are among 16 graduate students selected this year to the prestigious Lilly Graduate Fellows Program. The graduate program is part of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts that supports outstanding students who want to explore connections between Christianity, higher education, and the vocation of the teacher-scholar.

Schroeder, Wheeler, and the other 14 fellows were selected by a nine-member committee who interviewed 24 finalists selected from an original group of 61 applicants. Over a three-year period, the fellows, along with two mentors who are senior scholars in the Lilly Fellows Program Network, will communicate and collaborate in the areas of spiritual and professional development, research, and teaching. Each will attend four conferences in the next three years, participate in group readings and online discussions, and receive an annual stipend of $3,000.

After graduating from Whitworth, Schroeder taught literature courses for a year at Payap University, in Chiang Mai, Thailand. During this time she developed a strong interest in pursuing her Christian vocation, which she says has led her toward becoming an English professor.

“The English department at Whitworth taught me to love the difficulty of poetry; I probably would not have pursued it further had I not had such excellent literature professors,” Schroeder says.

During her doctoral research, she plans to study the work of several 20th-century poets who utilize daily and religious rituals in their work. “I plan to explore how their poetry illuminates the move from modernism to postmodernism and influences these poets’ changing conceptions of belief,” she says. She says that she feels “incredibly blessed” to have received this fellowship.

Katrina Wheeler, '08
Wheeler’s research will focus on the history of Christianity in France during the 18th and 19th centuries, with a special emphasis on the ways that Christians engaged the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

“Thus far I have studied clergy in the Catholic Church during the Revolution, especially the priest Henri GrĂ©goire, whose story contrasts from the usual narrative of religion and revolution being at odds,” Wheeler says. “I’m interested in seeking out other stories that might bring more nuances to the discussion of how Christians reacted to the French Revolution.”

Wheeler says she is excited to represent Whitworth as a member of this latest cohort of Lily fellows. “After meeting most of the other finalists during our interview weekend in April and learning about their prior accomplishments and experiences, as well as their future plans, I know I’m joining a fascinating group of people,” she says.

The fellowship recipients will meet together for three days at an inaugural conference beginning on July 30 in Indianapolis with their mentors Whitworth Professor of History Arlin Migliazzo and Jane Kelley Rodeheffer of Pepperdine University.  Following the conference, the fellows will embark on an online colloquium, engage in one-on-one mentoring relationships, and participate in the three additional conferences.  All 16 are pursuing a Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree in humanities or the arts.

Schroeder and Wheeler join Chris Holmes, ’06, Heather Wallace, ’11, and Kelly Vincent, '09, as the five Whitworth alumni to earn these fellowships. The program is funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

“Having alumni receive this award demonstrates that our students’ Whitworth education makes them competitive with students from much larger schools that are part of the network,” says Migliazzo, who, in addition to his duties as a professor of history, has served as the university's faculty representative to the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts since its inception. Other institutions that are part of the program include Wheaton College (Ill.), University of Notre Dame, Calvin College (Mich.), Baylor University (Texas), and Boston College.

There are currently 100 schools now part of the national Lilly Fellows Program network, of which Whitworth is a charter member. Member institutions can nominate up to three candidates for the 16 awards granted annually.

The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts began in 1991 with 26 church-related colleges and universities from across the country. Since its founding, the program has provided post-doctoral fellowships for teacher-scholars who seek to enrich their intellectual and spiritual lives while preparing for leadership roles in church-related higher education. The program also supports mentoring programs for new and junior family members at network institutions, as well as exchange programs showcasing distinctive programs that highlight the church-related characteristics of institutions and conferences examining matters of interest to those involved in Christian higher education. For more information, please visit http://www.lillyfellows.org/.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Arlin Migliazzo, professor of history, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4367 or amigliazzo@whitworth.edu.

Lucas Beechinor, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or lbeechinor@whitworth.edu.