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Senior Jennifer Gibbs excitedly recalls memories of her high school adventures with Upward Bound, a federally funded program that aids first-generation college-bound high school students. Now, four years after successfully completing the program, Gibbs is preparing to graduate from Southwestern with a degree in biochemistry and is planning to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona. 

Gibbs and Darlene Thompson, a senior political science major, will be the first Upward Bound alumni from Georgetown to graduate from Southwestern. Both are 2005 graduates of Georgetown High school.

“Upward Bound is a great program that helped me a lot in high school, especially with the SAT,” Gibbs said. “It’s particularly helpful for students who need someone to nudge them along, or for families who are unsure how to get their children to college. My parents both have associate degrees and hoped that I would do better than them in life, which is why they enrolled me in Upward Bound. Because of their encouragement and the resources in Upward Bound, I’ve been able to not only to do well in college but now I’m ready to go further in education.”  

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May will bring several transitions for senior English major and Georgetown native Alyson Youngpeter. Not only is she graduating from Southwestern, but she also is planning to leave the country for two years to do volunteer work in Malawi, Africa.

“This has been a long process of getting ready,” Youngpeter said. “In many ways, I’ve been preparing for this trip since middle school. When I was 12, I watched a program on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ that was in Africa. The crew was giving out Christmas gifts and basic provisions to children. Because it was my first exposure to poverty, I was very impacted by the images. I began questioning inequality and the differences between my life and those of the children on the television screen. At Southwestern, I was able to take courses that helped me understand Africa in general and the structural reasons for inequality in the world.”

Youngpeter will travel with the Marianist Volunteer Program, which will allow her to combine her passion for Africa with her educational skills as an English major.

Read the rest of the story here.



Georgetown’s 2009 Festival of the Arts will be held May 30-June 7 and will feature the work of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).

The Festival will begin Saturday evening, May 30, with a free concert in San Gabriel Park by the Temple Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra will perform Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”), followed by a dramatic fireworks display donated by the Williamson County Sun.  

Four days of music and lectures will follow June 4-7. Highlights of the week include chamber music by the Miro and Shanghai Quartets; an abbreviated film of Dvorak’s opera “Rusalka” starring Renee Fleming; a recital of piano music with famed pianist Anton Nell; and a finale performance of Dvorak’s choral masterpiece “Stabat Mater” performed by the Festival Chorus and Orchestra conducted by Kenneth Sheppard, professor of music at Southwestern. Scholars who have dedicated their lives to helping people understand and appreciate Dvorak’s music will present public lectures each day.

A full schedule of events is available at of the week’s events will be held at Southwestern.

Media Coverage

The Williamson County Sun ran an item about the two Southwestern students who have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Germany.


Two Southwestern students have been awarded Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships in Germany for the 2009-10 academic year. 

Carolyn Acker is graduating this week with a double major in German and Anthropology. Erin Osterhaus is graduating with a degree in Spanish and French, as well as a minor in German.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship program is one of several academic exchange programs administered by the U.S. Department of State. The application process begins in the fall when prospective candidates are interviewed by faculty members on their campus, who then rank and recommend students to the Fulbright Commission. The commission reviews the applications and selects a number of candidates to recommend to partner countries, who then screen the applicants again and match the candidates with schools in different cities. Acker and Osterhaus should learn soon which cities and schools they will teach in.

Students selected for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Program receive round-trip transportation to the host country, a salary for the academic year based on living costs in the host country, an allowance for books and research, and medical insurance. They have an orientation program and also participate in a variety of enrichment activities during the course of the year.

After her year in Germany, Osterhaus plans to attend graduate school for international affairs or Latin American studies. Acker plans to attend graduate school for social work or public health.  

Suzy Pukys, director of civic engagement, and students Jessica Domino, Hailey Ormand, Travis Norton and Lindsey Smith are giving a presentation at the International Partnership Institute at Portland State University May 18-19. Their presentation will be about their experience with the 2008 Verizon Domestic Violence Summer Internship Program.  

This is the last issue of In Focus for the 2008-09 academic year. Publication will resume in August. The In Focus staff wishes you a safe and happy summer!




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