St. Catherine University congratulates Fulbright semi-finalists and Truman finalist

Two current students and an alumna advance to final rounds of the highly prestigious competitive fellowships.

Two current St. Catherine University students and one alumna have been selected for finalist and semi-finalist stages of prestigious 2023 national and international fellowships. Anchee Nitschke Durben ’24 was selected as a finalist for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation’s Truman Scholarship, a competitive fellowship that funds graduate study for students pursuing careers as public service leaders. Nitschke Durben is an Antonian Honors student and Katies for Aging Research and Equity (KARE) Scholar double majoring in public health and data science. She plans to pursue a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan and hopes to work directly with communities to improve health outcomes. 

St. Kate’s also has two Fulbright semi-finalists, Kate Yapp ’23 and Morgan Weyrens-Welch ’21. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program focuses on cultural exchange and gives grants that allow recent college graduates to pursue graduate study, conduct research, or teach English abroad. Yapp, an Antonian Honors student double majoring in communication studies and political science, is pursuing the Young Professional Journalist Award in Germany. Weyrens-Welch, an Antonian Honors alum and double major in economics and public policy, is pursuing a Research Award in Paraguay. 

The application process was supported by the Competitive Fellowships office, which is part of the Office of Scholarly Engagement, St. Kate’s hub for engaged learning. Staff and faculty advisors and recommenders, with additional help from alumni and community members, guided students through the process, looking over applications, and offering feedback.

“Working with our Truman candidates particularly our finalist this year, Anchee Nitschke Durben was a tremendous honor and pleasure,” said Truman advisor Anne Weyandt, JD, EdD, associate professor of education. “It's a reminder of our students' remarkable capacity to do good in the world. Offering their research and advocacy skills for the most vulnerable in our world is completely consistent with the Truman mission and the commitments of our University and its founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.”

"I am incredibly proud of all our fellowship candidates,” said D’Ann Urbaniak Lesch, strategic director of the Office of Scholarly Engagement. “Fellowship processes are time-consuming, and I am so glad that at St. Kate's, through the Office of Scholarly Engagement (OSE), and Competitive Fellowships in particular, we have robust systems in place for support and guidance.”


Hui Wilcox, PhD

Hui Wilcox, PhD

Joining the advisors is Hui Wilcox, PhD, the new director of Competitive Fellowships. In her new role, Wilcox will work with the team in preparing these applicants for their finalist interviews this spring. Wilcox, a professor of sociology, women’s studies, and critical studies of race and ethnicity, has experience with students in OSe programs, including as an AMP mentor, Summer Scholars faculty researcher, and Global Studies and Antonian Honors course instructor.

The finalist interview process for both fellowships will continue this spring. St. Kate’s will host the regional interviews for Truman finalists from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin on March 27, and the 2023 Truman Scholars will be announced in April. The Fulbright awardees will also be announced later this spring.