Senior Salute 2014 - Haley Beckett
“Wittenberg's community has been my main source of inspiration over the past four years. It may seem vague to simply point to ‘community’ as inspiration, but when you're a part of it here, you know exactly what I mean: people are engaged, not only with the campus and the surrounding city, but in an intellectual sense, too. If you're open to them, both the faculty and your peers will challenge and motivate you. As a young student, being immersed in this atmosphere was exactly what I needed to find direction within my own interests and ambitions, as well as the momentum to pursue them beyond graduation.”
Having gained plenty of momentum, Haley Beckett recently joined the ranks of Wittenberg scholars who have received prestigious Fulbright awards.
Hailing from Norwalk, Ohio, Beckett will complete economic research in China, studying at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in the city of Guangzhou and conducting her research in Guangzhou and in the neighboring city of Shenzhen.
“Wittenberg has been integral to me pursuing this research, because the education that I've received here has encouraged me to develop diverse interests and to wholeheartedly engage with those interests both inside the classroom and out,” Beckett says.
Beckett’s research, which examines how access to financial capital affects private entrepreneurial ventures, lies at the intersection of her academic pursuits: a dual major in financial economics and Chinese, with a minor in political science.
“I knew that I wanted to study economics after taking Dr. Wishart's Econ 190 course during my freshman year, because I found that understanding economics provides a helpful framework for understanding the world, whether it's on the micro level of individual human behavior or in a broader context, such as thinking about institutions, countries, or other collective factors,” she recalls.
“However, it wasn't until I traveled to Hong Kong the following summer that I decided financial economics was an even better route for me: the business courses I took abroad were not only interesting and practical, but they were complementary to the more abstract theory that I was learning in my economics courses, allowing me to apply the concepts that I was learning to situations in the real world. My Chinese major emerged independently of my choice to study financial economics. I signed up for an introductory Chinese course on a whim, looking for something new and exciting to fulfill the general education language requirement, but I stayed with the program after I realized how invaluable it was for me to understand a non-Western language and culture: the courses I've taken as a part of my Chinese major have challenged me immensely in a way that has yielded substantial personal and intellectual growth. My language skills have also opened doors for me, including enabling me to have an internship with the U.S. State Department abroad last summer and, even now, making my Fulbright research possible.”
With all her accomplishments, Beckett is quick to thank her professors for their support during her four years at Wittenberg.
“Coursework aside, my professors have played an equally significant role in inspiring me to pursue the Fulbright. As I worked on my project proposal, I saw a network of support grow among the faculty from whom I'd taken classes; they would talk through my ideas with me, pass on relevant books or articles, and critique my application. I can say without a doubt that their unparalleled guidance was key to my success.”
Her advice to future students: “Wake up to the opportunities around them: your four years of undergraduate study will go by unexpectedly fast, but they will offer you countless ways to receive the best education possible. At a school like Wittenberg, your education can encompass a variety of experiences: you can travel or study abroad, find an internship, do community service, or make meaningful relationships with mentors or peers. Whatever visions you have for yourself are attainable, but it's up to you to take the initiative to make them happen.”