Our Stories

Student Continues Life of Travel Through Scholarship

About half of Willamette's students study abroad sometime before they graduate, eager to learn language and culture by living in a country besides their own. Mika Lim '11 was lucky enough to have this experience before coming to college, as the daughter of two parents who were adamant that their children explore the world.

She was born in Maryland, but her homes during the years have included Guam, Palau and, most recently, Taiwan.

"My parents thought it was important for us to be global citizens rather than just staying in a suburban town and only experiencing one lifestyle," she says.

Having a global perspective is increasingly important in the business world, and it will give Lim an advantage in her latest adventure. Lim is one of two Willamette students recently selected for the national Kemper Scholar program. The scholarship from the James S. Kemper Foundation is for first-year students interested in business or management. It provides an annual scholarship for three years in addition to two paid summer internships -- one at a nonprofit organization in Chicago after Lim's sophomore year, the other in a location of her choice after her junior year.

Willamette is one of 15 small colleges that can nominate students to be Kemper Scholars, and this is the third consecutive year that the Kemper program has chosen two Willamette students for the honor -- typically only one is picked from each campus. The other winner is Marco Fiallo '11.

The opportunity is golden for Lim, who hopes to work for a nonprofit advocacy organization in the future. "Interning at a nonprofit is a great opportunity for me to be exposed to that environment and see if it's what I want to do long term," she says. "Because of my background, I've met so many different types of people, and I'm interested in the way different cultures can share with each other."

The issues she is currently most passionate about are women's rights and challenges facing the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community. She is a member of Angles, Willamette's gay-straight alliance. It's one of several activities she's taken on during her first year at Willamette.

During the academic year, you can catch her weekly on the University's online radio station, WU Wire, where she hosts a show called "Fierce Beats." Punk rock, riot grrrl and hardcore are her music genres of choice -- listen for bands like Sleater-Kinney, the New York Dolls and the Violent Femmes. (Look for the show schedule at www.willamette.edu/org/radio/ in the fall.)

She also has traveled to the Oregon coast for service projects with her fellow residents at Kaneko Commons, a residential community that incorporates multiple levels of programming into the living experience, including service. The students have worked at a camping area clearing trails, cleaning and building a sustainable garden.

Lim still isn't sure about her major or her career path (she's only a freshman, after all), but that's another reason she's excited about the Kemper program. "They have large variety of organizations where you can do your internships, which is nice because it caters to a lot of different interests."

For more information on this scholarship and others, contact Monique Bourque in the Student Academic Grants and Awards office on the second floor of Putnam University Center, or visit www.willamette.edu/dept/saga.