Hamline News

Taking Flight

flight article


A year after graduating from Hamline, Kestrel Jenkins ’07 learned she had won a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Madrid, Spain. She also plans to study global trade issues while she is there.

Growing up:
I grew up in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, a small town right on the Mississippi River with lots of bluffs and a state park a walk away. My parents bought an old historic building and turned it into a hotel and restaurant. Throughout my childhood, my brother and I worked there. People from all over the world came to visit. I guess that’s where I got my people skills—and also some of my sense of adventure and desire to travel. I have always felt very open to learning about other cultures, and I think I owe that to my parents and the way they raised me.

Accomplishments at Hamline:
I majored in global studies at Hamline. My minor was in women’s studies, and I also earned a certificate in international journalism and my Spanish proficiency.

Best Hamline memories:
I studied abroad in Chile for a semester for my global studies and international journalism certificate requirement. I worked with a newspaper as a reporter there. My Spanish definitely improved! When I came back, I interned at KFAI radio in the Twin Cities. I loved it. I reported, edited stories, and did field work. So between the two internships, I got to see two very different ways of pursuing journalism and of how much work goes into “good” journalism.

Outstanding professors:
Van Dusenbery was the first professor I had at Hamline, and I found him quite rigid when I first met him. He then became my advisor, and he just kept pushing me. Sometimes, it was really tough. He gave a lot of constructive criticism. But when I was praised by him, the satisfaction was unexplainable! And when I look at where I am now, I know that if it wasn’t for that intensity that he has, advising students to be really vigilant about their studies, I may not have reached this level. I may not have gotten this Fulbright. We do keep in touch. He sent me a congratulations when I got the Fulbright and that meant so much to me.

I also just adore Suda Ishida, who is the director of the Certificate of International Journalism program. She’s amazing and I learned so much from her. Her classes were filled with people from all different countries, so the discussions were always invigorating and filled with diverse perspectives.

Right now I’m in England, working for People Tree, a fair-trade fashion company, as a public-relations intern. I called home the other day to see how things were. I was just strolling down this London street on my way back to the flat after my internship for the day, and my mom answered by saying, “Kestrel? You got the Fulbright!” I was just…stunned. I had her repeat it like seven times.

Madrid, Spain:
From September 2008 through June 2009, I will be an English teaching assistant for primary school children in Spain…most likely in Madrid. It’s a fairly progressive school, so I may also be asked to help teach classes in both English and Spanish. I think Spain will be an incredible place to go—especially after my experience in Chile. They are both Spanish-speaking countries and post-dictatorship societies, but on different continents.

Life after the Fullbright:
I’m not sure what’s ahead. There are so many things I want to do. I may return to England and work in public relations again. I may stay in Spain. All of this has come together really quickly, so it’s hard to look too far past the Fulbright right now.

Living up to her name:
A kestrel is a bird—a kind of falcon. My dad was given an injured baby kestrel to care for, he and my mom helped it to get strong, and then they released it. I was born a few weeks after that. My mom is always saying that I live up to my name. When we talked about the Fulbright she said, “There you go, Kestrel, just spreading your wings to fly away again.”

Advice from a woman who's taking flight:
I think perseverance is the most important thing. I just keep pushing and working at something until I achieve it. Things don’t always fall into place immediately for people, but if you put in the effort and have the fire in your belly to reach your goal, you will.

By: JacQui Getty