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Released July 29, 2004

SOUTHERN MISS STUDENT WINS ROTARY SCHOLARSHIP

HATTIESBURG - A recent graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi has been awarded the Rotary Ambassadorial Fellowship by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.

Katie McGee of Hattiesburg will use the $25,000 scholarship to study for one year at the University of Manchester in England. McGee, who graduated from Southern Miss in May, will pursue a master's degree in audiology at Manchester.

McGee said she fell in love with the speech and hearing sciences after a mission trip to Honduras, where she fitted children with hearing aids at a school for the deaf.

"It was such an amazing experience, and I was so touched by it that I decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life," said McGee, who departs for England Sept. 15.

To win the Rotary award, one of two given to Hattiesburg college students this year, McGee had to complete written essays and conduct an interview with nine Rotarians from the New Orleans district. McGee's grade point average of 3.9 was also an important factor in her selection.

"First, a club has to meet her and to agree to sponsor her," said one of McGee's undergraduate speech and hearing professors at Southern Miss, Dr. Margaret Carlin. "Then she got the application. Katie was up against many others and the competition was stiff."

In addition to being active in mission trips to Honduras and Russia, McGee, who received a bachelor's degree in speech pathology and audiology, has worked with a sign language group at Southern Miss. She also participated in student government while an undergraduate.

When she returns home, McGee is required to speak at Rotary clubs about her experiences abroad. She said the scholarship will provided her an opportunity to spread cultural goodwill, as well as to get an excellent education.

After getting her master's, McGee hopes to achieve certification in her field and land a job in the Hattiesburg area.

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August 5, 2004 5:05 PM