First student Fulbright announced

kelsey utne - fulbright scholar

June 7, 2012, Salem, Mass.—The Fulbright U.S. Student Program announced last week that Kelsey Utne of Beverly has been awarded a fellowship to conduct a nine-month research project in India. Utne will research the impact of non-governmental education programs on identifying the most effective means of empowering youth to help break the cycle of poverty in India. Her research will take place in the capital of Delhi, and in the rural area of Anupshahar, Uttar Pradesh. Utne, who graduated last month from Salem State University and is a graduate of Marblehead High School, is the first student from the university to receive the prestigious fellowship. 

This Fulbright program is specifically designed for graduating college seniors, graduate students, young professionals, and artists from the United States to study abroad for up to one year. During their experience, Fulbrighters are expected to meet, work, live with and learn from the people of the host country, sharing daily experiences. The purpose of the program is to facilitate cultural exchange through direct interaction, allowing the grantee to gain an appreciation of others’ viewpoints and beliefs, thereby promoting mutual understanding.

“While designated as one of the top producing Fulbright scholars among faculty, Salem State University is so proud to now have its first Fulbright student scholar,” noted Dr. Kristin Esterberg, provost of the university.  “This is a distinguished honor, not only for Kelsey, but for all those who supported her throughout her academic experience at Salem State.” 

At Salem State, Utne majored in political science, history and economics, and earned minors in foreign languages and Asian studies. During the summer of 2011, she interned in Senator John Kerry’s legislative office and in Representative Barney Frank’s legislative office in Washington, D.C. She also interned at the New America Center where she supported caseworkers in assistance programs for refugees from Bhutan, Nepal, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan. Named to the Salem State Civic Engagement Hall of Fame, Utne founded the Amnesty International chapter on campus and served as its coordinator.

Utne is currently in India studying the Hindi Language for the Department of State Critical Language Scholarship Program. It is anticipated that her Fulbright fellowship will begin in the fall.