Whitney Turientine

Whitney Turientine

International Studies, Sophomore 

by Joy Gonsalves

International Studies is as promising a program as sophomore Whitney Turientine, is a young scholar. “I always wanted to be an International Studies major,” Turientine began. “I’ve taken Spanish since second grade. I was the one in our family who was always watching travel shows on TV, but I’ve had questions about the world, politically, that no one’s been able to answer.”

Not surprisingly, soon after hearing the International Studies program had been added to the College of Arts & Sciences, Whitney decided to change her Political Science major to a minor and keep Spanish as a second major. The newness of the IS program didn’t deter her: “It’s growing and flexible,” she said, citing its strong recruitment potential as a major broad in scope. She also looks forward to an IS student organization in the near future, one whose members could form “more of a culture than a major - we could have our own tee-shirts,” she only half-joked.

Thanks to supportive faculty, like Emily Beaulieu, with whom Whitney was asked to conduct research, her vision is materializing. The two have been investigating boycotts and elections of major world countries from 1972 to the present. Turientine acknowledges that Beaulieu’s presence on the IS faculty committee has also assured her that her voice will be heard. She is grateful, too, for a helpful and informative IS listserve, which she thanks the Director of Undergraduate Studies, Monica Udvardy, for being instrumental in shaping.

A Parker Scholar whose concentrations are in International Development and Latin America, Whitney is eager to put the skills she’s been developing here at UK to the test. This summer, she’s participating in a service-learning study abroad opportunity in Peru. In addition to taking classes, she’ll join the collaborative effort to build schools, install cleaner, burning stoves, and other projects that might require an equal share of brains and brawn. This Resident Advisor, politically-passionate student, and go-getter knows what she wants and is obviously giving her all to get it. But she takes her decisiveness as a skill she learned from her father.

“My dad taught us that in our house, you had a right to change your mind, but you had to make a decision.” Their morning ritual was no less important. Every day, she and her brother were required to recite the following three lines before leaving the house: “I am a leader, not a follower. I can do anything I put my mind to. I am somebody.” While Whitney admits there were days she rattled them off to get herself out the door and on her way to elementary school, she now sees they just might have brought her to college, too. And they’re still taking her places.