Dartmouth Student Receives Prestigious Beinecke Scholarship

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Dartmouth junior Blythe George ’12 is one of 20 college juniors nationwide to receive a 2011 Beinecke Scholarship.

Blythe George

Blythe George ’12 has won the 2011 Beinecke Scholarship. She plans to study for a PhD in sociology and social policy after finishing her undergraduate degree at Dartmouth. (photo by Joseph Mehling ’69)

Established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of the Sperry and Hutchinson Company, the Beinecke Scholarship Program aims to “provide substantial scholarships for the graduate education of young men and women of exceptional promise,” and provides $4,000 prior to entering graduate school in the social sciences, humanities, or the arts, and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school.

Each year, approximately 100 colleges and universities are invited to nominate a student for a Beinecke Scholarship. George is the fourth Dartmouth student to receive the scholarship in the past four years, and joins Anise Vance ’11, Gabrielle Ramaiah ’10, and Jodi Guinn ’09 in the honor.

George is still adjusting to the news. “I still remember the first time I heard about it, thinking: could I really reach so high a goal?” she says. “The level of commitment, planning, and sheer luck needed to secure Dartmouth’s nomination made winning the award a far-off dream.”

A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and sociology major whose classes at Dartmouth have included “Poverty and Public Policy” and “Class in the Classroom,” George’s studies focus on education reform and poverty reduction. Her senior thesis will explore how the U.S. education system has addressed the achievement gap between Native and non-Native youth in northern California.

George has long had an interest in bridging the socioeconomic class divide in educational opportunities. As a Presidential Scholar at Dartmouth, she compiled literature reviews on contemporary Native American issues. She has also participated in the Tucker Foundation’s Early College Awareness program to introduce disadvantaged youth in the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont to the opportunities and benefits of higher education. Her extra-curricular activities include the Alliance for Socioeconomic Awareness and the First-Generation Student Network, where she has helped promote dialogue about class and privilege at Dartmouth and beyond.

In the spring of George’s sophomore year, she interned with the Northern California Indian Development Council (NCIDC), and says it was one of the “defining experiences” of her undergraduate career. The opportunity enabled her to work with the disadvantaged youth of her tribal community, the Yurok Tribe of northern California. Through this work, she says, “I realized the final dimension of my academic interests—applying my work in education reform in my own community, so that education could once again be a vehicle out of the cycle of poverty that awaits so many reservation kids.”

After she graduates from Dartmouth, George plans to pursue a joint PhD in sociology and social policy and will apply her knowledge to understanding how the Native American experience is represented in the field of sociology.

For more information on the Beinecke Scholarship, see Dartmouth’s National Scholarships/Fellowships website.

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