La Venture Given Prestigious Fulbright Specialist Award

Dr. Kelly La Venture poses in front of the Angkor Wat in Cambodia
Dr. Kelly La Venture poses in front of the Angkor Wat during her recent Fulbright program trip to Cambodia

The U.S. Department of State and the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awarded Dr. Kelly La Venture, associate professor of business administration at Bemidji State University, with a Fulbright Specialist Program award for her recent work promoting entrepreneurship in Cambodia.

La Venture was selected by the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia (YEAC) to collaborate with YEAC staff and interns to grow an acceleration program for small and medium business in the country. The association serves 470 businesses that employ more than 19,000 Cambodians. She spent 30 days living and working in Olympia City in the capital city Phnom Penh from Aug. to Sept. 2022.

YEAC interns and staff wear Bemidji State University apparel
Dr. Kelly La Venture worked closely with interns and staff from the Young Entrepreneur Association of Cambodia during her recent Fulbright experience

Beyond her work with the YEAC, La Venture experienced Cambodian culture first-hand, learning the local language and visiting several historical and cultural sites.

“The YEAC staff encouraged me to take the short flight to Siem Reap to visit Angkor, an UNESCO World Heritage site, home to the famous Angkor Wat and one of the most important archaeological sites in southeast Asia,” La Venture said. “We sat peacefully on the edge of the moat captivated by the sounds of monks chanting from inside the temple as the sun emerged behind the ancient silhouette of Angkor Wat. It was the first day of Pchum Ben, a religious festival held over 15 days when Cambodians honor their ancestors.”

The Fulbright program was founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946 and is considered the flagship international education program sponsored by the U.S. government.

According to a release, Fulbright Specialist award winners are selected on the “basis of academic and professional achievement, demonstrated leadership in their field, and their potential to foster long-term cooperation between institutions in the U.S. and abroad.”

Intern of the YEAC poses with a BSU penant

“The Fulbright program is designed to build lasting connections and increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” La Venture said. “Fulbrighters address critical global challenges in all disciplines, while building relationships, knowledge and leadership in support of the long-term interests of the United States.”

La Venture has been recognized by the Fulbright program four times, twice for her work in the sub-Saharan island of Mauritius (2018, 2020-21), Cambodia in 2022 and for sharing her Fulbright experiences with kindergarten-through-college classrooms as part of the Fulbright in the Classroom program, also in 2022. In addition, she was elected this year to the board of directors for the Fulbright Association Minnesota Chapter.

She will discuss her Fulbright program experiences during a study abroad panel in BSU’s American Indian Resource Center Gathering Room on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m., part of International Education Week.

La Venture earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, an MBA from Minnesota State University Moorhead and her Ed.D. from the University of St. Thomas.

About Business Administration

Bemidji State University’s undergraduate business administration program provides opportunities for specialization in entrepreneurship, management, marketing, finance, human resources and computer information systems. BSU’s online Master of Business Administration program gives students the flexibility of earning their MBA anywhere in the world, at a pace right for them.


Dr. Kelly La Venture, associate professor of business administration


Press release

Fulbright Association