Pine native surprised to earn Fulbright scholarship
China-bound after winning a Fulbright scholarship is Holly Belkot, 22, of Pine, a new graduate of Susquehanna University in Snyder County.
“I had no expectation of actually receiving it,” Belkot said. “So it's kind of a surprise.”
“I get a living stipend and housing,” she said about the prestigious federal grant. “My understanding is that it's about $30,000 or $40,000.”
The Council for International Exchange of Scholars, or CIES, helps administer the Fulbright Scholar Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.
In 1945, Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas proposed the program to Congress after World War II to advance “mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries of the world,” according to the program's online site.
Belkot, who studied Mandarin Chinese as a Pine-Richland High School student, expects to teach English at the University of St. Joseph in Macau, a former Portuguese colony on the South China Sea.
“It's a perfect assignment for her,” said social-studies teacher Matt Roberts of Pine-Richland High School.
Belkot, a 2009 Pine-Richand graduate, credits Roberts for nurturing her interest in foreign affairs.
“Holly was always an excellent student,” said Roberts. “I knew she was going to do great things.”
Belkot will go to Macau in early August and spend 11 months in the seaport's tropical climate.
She also expects to organize cultural programs and perhaps do research on Macau as a microcosm of globalization.
“Holly is a very involved, conscientious, creative, and intelligent student of life,” said Catherine Cymone Fourshey of Susquehanna University, associate professor of history and faculty coordinator for postgraduate opportunities.
“She is concerned not only about her own personal interests but also the global community and making a positive impact on society,” Fourshey said.
Belkot applied for her Fulbright scholarship at the urging of Fourshey.
Belkot also credits her parents — Kenwyn and Dana Belkot of Pine — with fostering her yen for globe-trotting.
“They've never been afraid to travel, even when we were younger,” said Belkot, who has two older brothers.
“I think that really lit the fire for me.”
As a 10-year-old child, Belkot visited Central America on a family mission trip to rural Honduras.
Two years ago, Belkot spent five months in Gambia on the west coast of Africa to fulfill a Susquehanna University requirement for study abroad.
“I've been to Senegal. I've been to a lot of Western Europe — France, Spain and Portugal. I've been to Moldavia,” said Belkot, who has not been to China.
Belkot said her experience with global travel helped her gain a Fulbright scholarship.
“Essentially you're getting thrown into a different culture, a different place and a job,” she said. “You kind of just have to be ready to adapt, and I think that's what traveling has done for me.”
But Belkot described herself as a less than fluent when it comes to speaking Chinese. “I'm not very good at it, but I can,” she said.
“I actually don't consider myself too adept at learning new languages, which is kind of ironic,” Belkot said. “But I pick up languages pretty well when I'm in the places where they're spoken.”
At Pine-Richland High School, Belkot was president of the service-oriented Key Club.
At Susquehanna University, Belkot majored in history and international relations.
She claims no musical talent or athletic pursuits.
“I'm kind of just a big reader and a big nerd,” she said. My big thing in college was service ... I organized service trips and participated in service learning. “
Career-wise, Belkot said, she ultimately aspires to work oversees and help women gain access to banking, education and trades in developing nations.
Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ross commissioners recommend mall plan
- Photo Gallery: Ross Elementary Field Day
- Proposed North Allegheny budget calls for tax hike
- Photo Gallery: Posture improvement at the Northland Public Library
- Most candidates endorsed by anti-Wal-Mart group don’t win primary
- ‘Healthy Foods for Men’ lecture set for Wexford pavilion
- North Hills students share their knowledge of German language
- Former amateur boxer’s fitness club attracting a crowd at Hampton Plaza facility
- Chatham to host buffet of concerts at Eden Hall campus in Richland
- Graduating North Hills senior goes full speed ahead with rowing
- Famly plans to honor late Richland veteran with 21-gun salute