Vanessa Kerry Wins Fulbright Grant
Chicago Sun-Times (AP) – Kerry daughter receives Fulbright grant in medicine
Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry has announced that his daughter Vanessa has won a Fulbright scholarship to study medicine in London. Vanessa Kerry is a 27-year-old Harvard medical student who frequently travels with her father’s campaign. According to the Fulbright Web site, about 1,000 U.S. students are awarded the federally funded fellowships each year of about 4,500 who apply. Kerry told reporters traveling with him to a long weekend vacation in Idaho on Saturday that Vanessa Kerry recently learned she was one of this year’s winners.
She has said she was inspired to seek a career in global health by a visit she made to Vietnam in 1991 with her father. After pre-medical studies at Yale, she studied infectious diseases at Harvard, spending time in Ghana immunizing children.
Kevin Aylward observes, correctly, that she could likely afford to pay for her own study in London and the general reaction seems to be that she is therefore essentially stealing the money from some poor kid who worked his way through school. I’m not sure that follows. The Fulbright is a competitive venture and going to school on a Fulbright is substantially more prestigious than going on mommy’s dime. Further, it’s quite likely that the alternate recipient would have been another rich kid from an Ivy League institution. (Whether such ventures are an appropriate use of federal funds is an interesting question, although I’m reasonably sympathetic.)
There’s no reason that people should be discriminated against because their parents have a lot of money or, for that matter, that mediocre students should be subsidized because their parents are poor. By all appearances, Kerry earned the scholarship and there’s no reason she shouldn’t have it. My guess is that the Heinz Foundation gives away plenty of scholarship money, anyway.
I am, however, slightly amused that Vanessa went to Vietnam.
(And, no, Vanessa is not the one who appeared in a translucent dress at Cannes or whose pet hamster nearly drowned save for the heroics of Vietnam Vet Dad; it was Alexandra in both instances.)
The above photo is from NPR, from a story with the clever headline “The Front-Runner’s Daughter.”