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September 2, 2008

Local student heads to Europe after being named International Scholar

Surprised with a research trip to Europe that she never dreamed could be hers, Chelsea Huddleston of Norman describes her selection as a Governor's International Scholar a "rare opportunity."

"I was incredibly excited to be given such an amazing opportunity," Huddleston said Friday before she left the country on Saturday. "I'll be studying at Swansea University in Wales as part of a new program in Oklahoma. To be recognized as a member of such a prestigious group is a special honor."

Huddleston graduated in the spring from USAO, where she majored in psychology. This fall, she will serve as a research intern with the Conservative Party in Wales, one of five parties represented in the national assembly. She will assist with developing public policy and legislation for Wales.

Huddleston was named with four other Oklahoma students to the Brad Henry International Scholar Program for "excellent academic talent, character and leadership," the governor's office said Friday.

She is "passionate about making a better world," says her major professor, Dr. Tina Winn, associate professor of psychology at USAO.

"Chelsea was the first person in my mind when the president asked for a nomination," said Winn, who chairs the division of business and social science. "She is one of our top psychology students. She has served in numerous leadership roles on campus, successfully applying to charter a chapter of the Sierra Coalition at USAO, and participating on a research team led by Dr. Christopher Walker, assistant professor of psychology, that presented its study at the American Psychological Association annual convention.

"In addition to her impressive success as a student, Chelsea is passionate about making a better world," Winn said. "She had been accepted into the Peace Corps but encountered difficulties that were going to result in putting that dream on hold. She began considering a graduate degree in public administration as she worked toward her dream of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. The beauty of this program is that Chelsea can gain valuable public administration experience and exposure to a foreign culture, while completing hours toward a political science minor at USAO, all of which will be great assets for her as she applies to graduate programs and prepares for a life of public service."

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