Georgetown Senior Wins Luce Scholarship

After an intensive selection process, Flynn Coleman (SFS ’03) was recently bestowed a Luce Scholarship by the Henry Luce Scholarship Foundation and will spend next year living and working for an Asian company or organization.

“I’m really honored to be part of the program,” Coleman said. “It’s a great opportunity, especially because I’ve never been to Asia. I will be working and learning about human rights law while being exposed to another culture.”

In order to be designated a Luce Scholar, Flynn was nominated by Georgetown, selected for a first round interview, then selected for a final round of six interviews and finally chosen to be one out of 15 scholars. The recipients will be sent to different locations in Asia as diverse as Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Korea, Japan, ongolia, Cambodia, Taiwan and China.

The foundation will pay for all living expenses and travel as well as an intensive language course prior to leaving the U.S. The program begins in August and concludes in July, at which time all the scholars gather together in Asia and present their experiences to the Luce Foundation. Each is assigned to a location based on his or her specific career interests by the Asia Foundation, which is headquartered in San Francisco.

The number of location possibilities has diminished this year because of the war with Iraq, according to Coleman’s father, Tom. “I am afraid that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is going to complicate all of our lives – Flynn may very well be safer a long distance from Washington, D.C.,” he said. “The Luce Foundation is not placing any scholars in Indonesia or other uslim countries or hot spots and the placements are all well though out.”

As a culture and politics major with a justice and peace certificate focused on international human rights law, Coleman could be placed in situations as diverse as helping to coach soccer in order to help develop greater interest in Asian women’s sports to working for a legal reform organization. Coleman believes her experience in Asia will help her to compare Asian values with those of the West, which in turn would help her in a career dealing with international human rights.

After becoming a finalist in late January, Coleman went to New York in February with 15 other candidates to face a last series of seven interviews. The first six interviews determined the five chosen finalists, while the last was with a representative from the Asia Foundation who will help place the scholars. Interviews also took place in Washington and San Francisco, with five scholars selected from each pool.

Facing an executive of Equity Sales and ING Banking, an executive at General Electric for Asia and a retired general would be intimidating to most people, but Coleman was not fazed.

“It was actually great. There is no other interview process like it,” she said. “In general it was conversational, and a good opportunity to talk to such amazing people. It was really exhausting, though.”

One of Coleman’s main concerns is the entire year that she must spend away from friends and family. “I’m really close with my family, so being away will be very hard. I’m definitely worried about living in a different culture on my own,” she said. “Every day is going to bring a new challenge, with different traditions, customs and the language barrier.”

Time spent away from home is also a concern for Coleman. “Anyone can visit Flynn while she is in the program and I plan on taking full advantage of that opportunity. They do, however, discourage her from even making one trip home during the year, so I am a little disappointed about that,” he said.

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