September 21, 2009

Former Lady Blazer Receives International Scholarship

VALDOSTA - Former Lady Blazer Kathleen "Katie" Steffen, ’07, was awarded a Fulbright-Garcia Robles Scholarship for the Bi-National Business Program. The U.S. Department of State grant provides American students the opportunity to acquire professional experience and cultural understanding working for a company or non-profit organization in Mexico.

In September, the summa cum laude graduate began the prestigious full-time internship program with the New Business and Finance Department of Nestle Mexico, Mexico City. She will work for 10 months on a project that introduces a new Nestle product into the Mexican market. Steffen said the comprehensive education she received earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management at VSU has prepared her to tackle the project from market research to final introduction of the product.

"I hope to gain awesome international work experience, while using this opportunity to improve my business Spanish,” said Steffen, who is taking night business classes at el Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) as she works toward an MBA and ultimately a Ph.D. “Like most people my age, I hope this great experience can give me more clues as to what I want to do long-term.”

Steffen played basketball at Valdosta State for two years, and many remember the 5’7” shooting guard for her part in the Lady Blazers trip to the 2004-05 NCAA tournament. In the first round of play, Steffen was instrumental in the win against Florida Technical College. Steffen was an ideal student-athlete involved in almost every aspect of campus life. She 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.

"These are the kinds of stories collegiate athletics are all about," said Jennifer Head, women's basketball assistant coach and senior woman administrator. "Let's celebrate her determination and success."

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. She spent the first six months studying German to prepare 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 10-month application process resulted in her scholarship award and placement with Nestle Mexico - her top choice.

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