Suzanne Wiltgen & Helen Huarca Awarded Prestigious Luce and Truman Scholarships


Senior dance major Suzanne Wiltgen will study arts in Asia with her Luce Scholarship.










Junior neuroscience major Helen Huarca exults as President Joanne Creighton announces she's won a Truman Scholarship.

Two Mount Holyoke women took top honors in two highly prestigious national competitions. Junior Helen Huarca will receive a Truman Scholarship, and senior Suzanne Wiltgen has been named a 1999 Luce Scholar.


About seventy juniors nationwide are chosen each year for the Truman award, which carries with it $30,000 in funding for graduate school. Truman scholarships are awarded to students preparing for careers in government or public service.

Huarca, a neuroscience major from Silver Spring, Maryland, says her public service will involve health care. "I am committed to becoming a physician in an underserved urban area," she explains. In addition to treating her own patients, Huarca aims to influence policy on a broader scale as a medical consultant on a federal health-care policy writing committee. The goal, she says, is to make health care accessible and affordable for all. As part of the Truman application process, she proposed a policy extending medical coverage to all uninsured adults. Under her plan, patients would share the cost of medical treatment with the federal and state governments.

This summer, Huarca will head for the Harvard School of Public Health for an internship. After graduation next year, she plans graduate school work toward a master's degree in public health and a medical degree. Huarca is looking only at graduate schools located in urban areas, "where I can put my skills to use immediately" to help the local population.


Senior Suzanne Wiltgen has been named a 1999 Luce Scholar by the Henry Luce Foundation. One of eighteen scholars chosen from the nationwide competition, Suzanne will be placed in a yearlong internship program relating to her career interests in East or Southeast Asia. Suzanne is currently completing a dance major and romance language minor.

"I feel studying in one place for an extended period of time is the best way to gain insight into a culture," Wiltgen said about the scholarship. Already a seasoned traveler, she spent her junior year studying dance in Brazil, and her senior year of high school studying in Italy. "I'm very interested in exploring what happens when you mix different cultural dance vocabularies together," she explained. "I want to discover how the body is perceived and how the arts are included in Asia's daily life."

The Luce Scholars Program provides career opportunities for outstanding young Americans who have no previous experience with Asian Studies or languages. Students are placed in countries such as Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The program is based on the belief that the United States lacks a nucleus of national leaders who are familiar with the ways of the East and responsive to them.

Mount Holyoke, which is one of some sixty-five colleges and universities invited to submit nominees for the program each year, has had several Luce Scholars in recent years.