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Elon alum awarded Rotary Scholarship

Caitlin Goodspeed '08 will spend a year in Scotland working toward her master's degree in global and international sociology.

Caitlin Goodspeed '08


By Caitlin O’Donnell ‘13

It was after the death of her father in January 2011 that Caitlin Goodspeed ’08 first considered the possibility of going abroad for a graduate program. It wasn’t until a conversation with a fellow alumna that her goal turned real.

Goodspeed will begin a yearlong program this fall supported by a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She'll pursue a master’s degree in global and international sociology and participate in a yet-to-be-finalized service project while serving as an ambassador to local Rotary Clubs.

“I was trying think of ways to honor my dad’s life and I said ‘I should travel,’” said Goodspeed, who double majored in international studies and religious studies while at Elon. “The main thing that came to mind was that he had done a year abroad in the United Kingdom. My thought was, maybe go to grad school and visit the same cities, tracing his travel journal.”

Few scholarships are available for graduate programs abroad. After a conversation with Rebecca Watts ’09, Goodspeed learned about the Rotary Scholarships, which were started in 1947 and help fund degree-oriented study in another country. The foundation provides up to $26,000 for each scholarship.

Goodspeed is the seventh Elon student to receive the scholarship since 2006.

Both the service component and immersion into the culture are facets of the experience that Goodspeed is excited to tackle. Though she traveled abroad to Italy during her undergraduate years at Elon, she said she spent the majority of her time with her American friends.

“I really enjoy the fact that this isn’t just about getting your degree; there’s another element to it that revolves around getting deeply committed to the community you’re living in,” she said. “What I’m looking forward to about this is really being embraced by the Scottish people and having these people be my core group and provide insight into the culture.”

While Goodspeed said she has no solid plans following completion of the program, she anticipates returning to an international programs office at a college or university. She has already interned with a similar office at Alamo Colleges in San Antonio.

“The plan is to come back, although I’m open to staying abroad if that’s a possibility,” she said. “I haven’t given it a lot thought, but it’s a full year so I imagine I’ll have some time to think about what I want to do when I return.”

Eric Townsend,
4/4/2012 10:04 AM