BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


Senior Alison Kemp to take part in Berlin Fulbright program

BGSU senior Alison Kemp has always found ways to enhance her study of journalism and the German language through volunteer and work experiences. She will further hone her skills in both areas when she goes to Germany this November as a participant in the German-American Fulbright Commission’s Berlin Capital Program.


Alison Kemp

The weeklong Berlin program will feature representatives from U.S. and German news agencies to examine differences between the two countries’ media styles. “They asked us what we were interested in so they could tailor the program to our group,” said Kemp, who is majoring in journalism with a minor in German.

In her application for the Fulbright, Kemp wrote that she is also “interested in learning how the German media relates to other European media, what freedoms these media are permitted and how their freedoms differ from American publication rights supported by the First Amendment.”

The Warren, Ohio, native will not have far to travel to the Fulbright program since she will already be in Salzburg, Austria, in an academic year abroad. She leaves tomorrow (Sept. 23) and begins classes Oct. 1. The stay will be her second in Salzburg—she was also there for the summer program in 2006 to study German. “It seized her imagination so much that she decided to extend her studies and go back for the full experience,” said Dr. Geoffrey Howes, German, who has had Kemp as a student and worked with her when she was president of the German Club.

“Alison immediately strikes one as a mature young woman in all ways: socially, academically and personally,” Howes commented. “She combines modesty and ambition in a most effective way: she is open to learning from any and all situations, and she wants to learn as much as she can.”

For a college student, Kemp has amassed extensive work experience in journalism, most recently as a copy editor for The (Youngstown) Vindicator and previously as a reporter for her hometown paper, the Tribune Chronicle. Since the first day of her freshman year at BGSU, she has worked for The BG News, including as assistant campus editor. This summer she had an internship as a writer for American Spa magazine in New York City. While away, she wrote a Wednesday travel column for the campus paper about life in the Big Apple, and has since been writing about her experience preparing to study abroad in Salzburg. She will continue those dispatches from Austria.

“Her columns from New York show that she has a great ability to bloom where she is planted, and to get herself planted in some interesting places!” Howes said.

Kemp was bitten early by the travel bug and has taken every opportunity to pursue study and travel both abroad and in the United States. “I’m very interested in international news. I would like to be a foreign correspondent or travel correspondent and live abroad. I’d go anywhere,” she said. She also traveled to Paris in 2007 with the BGSU journalism department for the International Media Seminar, and has already been to Berlin.

“I am committed to public affairs reporting,” she wrote in her Fulbright application, “and because of this, I am out to change the face of journalism by writing about people and their ideas, beliefs and reasons for acting as they do. From my experiences in Europe, a lot of people think that Americans are not very well educated about the world around us. I want to go to other countries, learn about the people who live there and share my findings through journalism and educate Americans.”

Kemp’s commitment to public affairs and her achievements have earned her numerous scholarships, including the prestigious Frazier Reams Fellowship for 2008-09.

Dr. Kristie Foell, a German faculty member and director of the International Studies Program, has also taught Kemp and describes her as “pretty amazing. I'm very pleased that she was able to work in study abroad along with her journalism major. This took extra commitment from her, but I'm convinced it will be worth it. Journalism is a very demanding degree, but for students interested in doing international reporting, that investment in another language and study abroad is really a must, in my opinion.”

September 22, 2008