July 26, 2005
From among a competitive pool of candidates, a student at the Gettysburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College, won an Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarship from the Rotary Foundation. The scholarship, which is worth up to $26,000, is part of the Rotary's oldest and best-known program. It is intended to help cover round-trip transportation, tuition, fees, room and board expenses, and some educational supplies for study in another country.

Emily Hillenbrand, 27 and already a Fulbright scholar, chose HACC's Gettysburg Campus to complete a macro economics class in preparation for her graduate studies, which she will begin at American University this fall. Her qualifications for Rotary's scholarship stood out among a number of applicants in the central Pennsylvania region.

"I wanted to go to graduate school and didn't have a strong background in economics," Hillenbrand said. "Dr. Martinelli was a great teacher and brought [the subject] to life."

Hillenbrand refers to Patrick Martinelli, Ph.D., an adjunct professor at the Gettysburg Campus who retired from teaching in the MBA program at Johns Hopkins University. It was Martinelli who recognized Hillenbrand as a strong candidate for the Rotary scholarship.

"She has a very effective presence," said Martinelli, who as a member of the Gettysburg Rotary Club was responsible for identifying scholarship candidates. "People like her, will listen to her and respect her."

Martinelli says he was seeking candidates to represent this region who were very articulate both in the written and spoken word.

"I've been in the scholarship business for many years," he said. "When you get into these competitions-given a good background-what really counts is your ability to express yourself. She did her composition in two languages, French and English."

The regional organization - the Harrisburg Rotary Club - selected Hillenbrand as the scholarship recipient to represent the district. The scholarship is awarded through The Rotary Foundation, a national organization, which is funded by all the individual Rotary clubs.

Hillenbrand is a native of New Hampshire and a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont. She was living in Gettysburg after returning from Cameroon where she had worked on a research project as a Fulbright scholar.

"I was looking at the potential for better collaboration between traditional healers and conventional doctors," she says, adding that she plans to focus on women's human rights and health issues in her graduate studies in International Development. "I will start my degree this fall at American University and have a year abroad in the fall of 2006."

It is the year abroad that will be funded by the Rotary scholarship. Hillenbrand currently has several choices for where she will continue her international studies.

"The Institute for Social Studies in Hague, Netherlands, is my first choice, but it is not confirmed," she said. "I'm also considering two more in Africa and one in Moldova."

Hillenbrand, who is currently completing an internship with the State Department, Office of International Women's Issues, says each of the universities she is considering will allow her to continue her focus on women and gender issues in the developing world.

"What is exciting about [the Institute for Social Studies] is there are a lot of students from the developing world. I will get to experience a whole bunch of different perspectives," she said. "I'll also get practical experience from the Rotary projects I'll be involved in."

As an Ambassadorial Scholar, Hillenbrand will be an ambassador of goodwill to the people of her host country and give presentations about her homeland to Rotary clubs and other groups. Once she returns to the United States, she will share with Rotarians and others the experiences that led to greater understanding of her host country.

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