Middlebury political science and Chinese major Catherine Kish ’24 has been awarded the Harry S. Truman Scholarship for graduate studies. Selected from a field of 705 candidates, she will receive a $30,000 scholarship toward graduate school. Kish plans to pursue a graduate degree in international relations.
Kish noted that her work as a research assistant for the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies motivated her to pursue a career in counterterrorism as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer (FSO) at the Department of State. She described her research as her first exposure to the topics that motivate terrorists.
“The topics I researched were unsettling,” said Kish. “They strike close to home, with dark themes permeated by violent racism, misogyny, and calls for societal destruction. I was motivated to dive deeper, realizing that research was my way of contributing to the fight against these hate-driven movements.”
Amy Yuen, chair of the department of political science, said Kish “has a long-held career goal of working in public policy to address extremism and counterterrorism.”
“She’s creative, thoughtful, dedicated, and highly intelligent, making her an extremely qualified candidate for the Truman Scholarship,” Yuen added.
Throughout her Middlebury career, Kish has been an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). She served on the Student Government Association, founded and led the Gender Equity Team, and organized an International Women’s Day event.
During her sophomore year, she started the Intercultural Film Initiative, as part of a competition hosted by the McCain Institute. She helped create a curriculum that teaches intercultural competency through film and storytelling.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was created by Congress in 1975 to be the nation’s living memorial to President Harry S. Truman and has become one of the most prestigious national scholarships in the United States.