July 9, 2009
09-115

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

Alumna Awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship

VALDOSTA - Valdosta State University alumna, Kathleen "Katie" Steffen, '07, was recently awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship for the Bi-National Business Program.

On Aug. 25, the summa cum laude graduate will begin the prestigious full-time internship program with the New Business and Finance Department of Nestle Mexico in Mexico City. She will work for 10 months on a project that introduces a new Nestle product into the Mexican market.

Using the skills she acquired during her studies toward a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management at VSU, Steffen will work with a small team that does it all - from market research to the final introduction of the product.

"I hope to gain awesome international work experience, while using this opportunity to improve my business Spanish; and like most people my age, I hope this great experience can give me more clues as to what I want to do long-term," said the native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. who attended VSU on a basketball scholarship.

Steffen spent her years at VSU involved in almost every aspect of campus life. The student-athlete served as a resident assistant, volunteered for the Migrant Education Agency and participated in the Society for International Students, the Langdale College of Business Administration Student Advisory Board and the Ultimate Frisbee club team. The 2007 graduate captured many honors during her undergraduate career, including the President's Award and the Outstanding Management Student Award, both earned as a senior.

As a junior, Steffen had her first taste of international business - she spent the year studying abroad in Murica Spain. Following graduation, she spent a year in Germany on a scholarship from the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program. The first six months she spent studying the German language in preparation for a six-month internship with the Georgia Department of Economic Development's European Office in Munich.

To qualify for the Fulbright scholarship, Steffen was required to present essays and recommendation letters, interview with a 12-person panel via Skype and interview with each of the participating companies to determine the best match for her term. The almost ten-month application process resulted in her scholarship award and placement with Nestle Mexico - her top choice.

While in Mexico, Steffen will also use her time to take classes at either the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) or the Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) Campus Santa Fe toward a Master of Business Administration.

"I'm also hoping to gain a graduate assistantship to aid my studies towards an MBA and Ph.D.," she said. "This opportunity will make me a much more appealing candidate."

For more information about the Binational Business Program through Fulbright, visit http://us.fulbrightonline.org/program_country.html?id=70#binational .