(Posted April 26, 2001)

-- Press Release -- Wossenyelesh Mazengia, a senior at Juniata College studying international politics, has been awarded a Fulbright grant to study in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the practice of female genital mutilation among Ethiopian women in the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox Church, the U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced recently.

Mazengia is the daughter of Mazengia Yitbarek and Tsehay Kebede, of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and has resided with Kenneth and Martha Stauffer of Elizabethtown, Pa. during her studies at Juniata. She will spend a year in Ethiopia starting this fall at Addis Ababa University working with Forward USA, a nonprofit group based in California that is working to eliminate female genital mutilation.

"I am really surprised and shocked to receive such an honor," Mazengia says. "I think this period of independent study will give me a better idea of what I would like to do in the long term."

In her time at Juniata, Mazienga has been active in the Juniata College Model United Nations Club, and served on the club's executive committee. She also competed on the cross-country team for three years. In 1999 she received the Andrew Mutch Scholarship from the St. Andrews Society in Philadelphia to study for one year at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. She concentrated on courses in international politics during her time overseas.

Since January, Mazengia has been working as an intern at Voice of America in Washington, D.C. She has conducted interviews and researched programming for the agency and hosted several program broadcast in Amharic, Ethiopia's official language.

Fulbright Award recipients are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement and because they have demonstrated extraordinary leadership potential in their fields. The Fulbright program was created in 1946 and sponsored by Sen, William Fulbright of Arkansas to foster mutual understanding between the United States and other countries.

The program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. More than 88,000 students and professionals from the United States have studied, researched or taught abroad. More than 146,000 scholars and students from other countries have used the program to study in the United States.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.