St. Catherine University congratulates Erin Nelsen ’20, who has received a Fulbright scholarship to Aberystwyth University in Wales. Nelsen is the second St. Kate’s student to receive a Fulbright this year.
With this yearlong Master of Arts program Fulbright grant, Nelsen will study International Relations with a concentration in Feminist Security and serve as a cultural ambassador, enhancing mutual understanding between Americans and the people of the United Kingdom.
“I feel overwhelmingly grateful for trusting the process,” Nelsen said. “I am also so thankful to everyone who encouraged me to go for this far-off dream that is now a reality.” A double-major in International Relations and Women & International Development, Nelsen was first named an alternate in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program in the United Kingdom. Fellow classmate, Addison Cross ’20, was named a Fulbright scholar to El Salvador for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Though this is her first Fulbright venture, Nelsen is not new to foreign studies, as she has studied abroad four times throughout her undergraduate time at St. Kate’s.
Nelsen credits her mentors for encouraging her to pursue this and other dreams during her time at St. Kate’s. Business Administration professor Mary Henderson, Ed.D., Fulbright Fellowship advisors Allison Adrian, Ph.D. and Mysee Chang, and alumna and role model Jordyn Arndt all supported her confidence to apply for Fulbright. “While we were here to support her, she really owned the process and navigated uncharted territories,” Chang said. “This achievement just shows Erin's ability to persevere through many rigorous application cycles. And I personally think that it speaks to her passion and commitment to be an influential leader in her field.”
The United Kingdom, the most competitive European country among Fulbright applicants, only awarded 46 out of over 1,000 applicants for study/research for the 2021-22 cycle. Nelsen competed against both graduate candidates and undergraduates. “For Erin as an undergraduate candidate to receive a research/study award, it is a big deal,” Chang said. “It is a testament of her intellect, character, drive, and maturity.”
This summer, Nelsen is serving as a Political, Economic, and Public Affairs intern with the Department of State’s U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. Nelsen was planning on interning in Vietnam but with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, she is working out of the U.S. instead.
When she arrives in Wales in September, Nelsen looks forward to learning more about Welsh language and culture, mountaineering, and volunteering with local womxn’s empowerment groups. Once she completes her Fulbright program, Nelsen hopes to work on feminist security issues with the U.S. Government, empowering women and other underrepresented communities.