Aisha Bierma '02

October 8, 2003
By Sarah Maxwell

Some of senior Aisha Bierma's most meaningful Carleton experiences have come when she hasn't even been on campus. Bierma, a political science major, completed a fellowship in New Zealand and has studied off campus twice, experiences she credits with helping define her life's goals.

"I realize now how much I can learn about myself by going somewhere else," she says. "Studying off campus has supplemented my learning here in very positive ways."

The Off-Campus Studies program was a major factor in Bierma's decision to come to Carleton. "I've been interested in American politics for as long as I can remember," she says. During her junior year, Bierma participated in the Carleton in Washington seminar, where she interned with Senator Byron Dorgan's political action committee.

Bierma was awarded an Independent Research Fellowship from Carleton, which she used to spend six weeks studying political culture and values in New Zealand. She conducted interviews with New Zealanders on their views of government and citizenship, continuing research she had started in a course taught by visiting political science professor John Sullivan.

Bierma credits Carleton's financial aid with allowing her to follow her dreams. "I couldn't have traveled without Carleton's help--I couldn't even have gone here without its help," she says. "I've been blown away by how generous Carleton is."