Former St Ninian’s High School and Castle Rushen High School student Catherine Breed is the winner of the 2015 Ella Olesen Scholarship.
Catherine, 21, of Pooil Vaaish, will follow a long line of local students in spending nine months at the University of Idaho in the USA.
The scholarship is named after the late Miss Ella Olesen, a former registrar of the university who died in 1985. Her Manx ancestry – her mother Margaret Teare was born in Ballaugh and emigrated to America in 1890 – led her to gift the scholarship in 1971. It is awarded annually to a female degree student who has been supported through her studies by the Department of Education and Children (DEC).
Forming the interview panel for this year’s scholarship were Geoff Corkish MLC, Political Member of the DEC; John Gill, Head of Legal and Administrative Services, and Katie Taylor, from Ramsey, who was the Ella Olesen scholar in 2010 and is now a PhD student at the University of Idaho.
They interviewed five applicants before selecting Catherine to travel to Idaho next August.
Catherine is studying for a degree in history at Cambridge University and graduates in the summer.
She is a member of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society and spent a summer volunteering in a variety of roles for Manx National Heritage.
A member of the Isle of Man swimming squad since she was very young, Catherine also swims for the university swimming team and is a half-blue, which signifies sporting excellence. She is an accomplished tennis player and a qualified lifeguard.
Catherine took part in the Department of Economic Development’s STEP programme for undergraduates in summer 2014.
‘The opportunity to travel and experience a difference culture is really exciting and I feel it will enrich my understanding of the world. It will also allow me to share my knowledge of the Island with a multi-cultural group and raise the profile of the Isle of Man.’
The scholarship will allow Catherine to study a range of academic and non-academic subjects, creating her own timetable, and she plans to make the most of this. She is already looking forward to trying skiing.
‘The variety of opportunities on offer at Idaho will allow me to explore current and new interests in order to make a more informed decision about my career.’
As part of their interviews, scholarship candidates spoke via Skype with current Ella Olesen scholarship holder, Lorrae Fox.
Lorrae, 23, of Port Erin, is a graduate of Lancaster University who went to Castle Rushen High School and the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education. She will study in Idaho until May 2015.