Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Manchester College alum to study in Belgium

NORTH MANCHESTER - As a Manchester College student, Wendy J. Matheny learned about politics in West Africa, where she worked to help women break their cycle of poverty. After graduation, she studied Capitol Hill politics as an intern for U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now, with a full-ride Fulbright scholarship, Matheny, a Peoria native will research politics at the seat of the European Union and NATO - in Brussels, Belgium. Matheny, a 2005 cum laude graduate, is Manchester College's 19th Fulbright in 11 years. Her scholarship is for the 2006-2007 school year.

As a graduate student at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, she will study the political impact of the increased involvement of women in Belgian-European politics.

“The idea came to me when I was in Togo - seeing women at the bottom of the political food chain,” said Matheny, who volunteered for six weeks in West Africa with ECHOPPE Inc., which helps women start their own businesses and individual initiatives for economic improvement.

The political science and French major studied abroad at the Université de Strasbourg her sophomore year with Brethren Colleges Abroad, and spent a month in The Hague at the International Symposium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. She also served as a conference translator in Kenya and traveled to Ecuador on an environmental learning tour - all through her Manchester College connections.

And after her Fulbright year in Belgium?

“I love the political game and want to continue that in some form, whether on the domestic front or internationally,” said Matheny. “I'd love to work on the Hill again, but I also want to do grad school.”

Undoubtedly, she will continue to focus on the role of women in the international political arena.

Matheny came to Manchester because it is a Church of the Brethren college, and for the College's historical reputation in peace studies and study abroad opportunities. She was raised in the Peoria First Church of the Brethren.

Source: Wabash Plain Dealer

No comments: