Emma Thvedt ’20 Earns Prestigious Boren Scholarship

Emma Thvedt ’20 is the latest Tar to earn the prestigious competitive scholarship, which is reserved for students who intend to pursue careers in federal national security.

The National Security Education Program has named Emma Thvedt ’20 a 2018 Boren Scholar.

The David L. Boren Scholarship provides funding for U.S. undergraduate students to study less commonly taught languages in international regions critical to U.S. interests. In exchange for funding, Boren Scholars commit to work in the federal government for at least one year after graduation.

The scholarship is a perfect fit for Thvedt, a double major in English and music who started studying Japanese in high school and plans to serve as a foreign service officer. She wasted no time putting the scholarship, which carries a maximum award of $20,000, to good use.

Thvedt is spending her summer in an intensive Japanese language school program in Tokyo. She’ll continue her studies in the Japanese capital this fall at J.F. Oberlin University. The six-month study-abroad experience is the latest stop on a journey that began when Thvedt was just 14.

After falling in love with the Japanese language as a high school freshman, Thvedt participated in the Kakehashi Project, a 10-day exchange program funded by the Japan Foundation.

“On that trip, we were introduced to the history of U.S.-Japanese relations—from Japan’s past isolationism and the beginning of diplomatic relations to our disunion in World War II and our post-war reunion,” says Thvedt. “The Japan Foundation emphasized the importance of our relationship and the work that still needs to be done in the future, and it triggered the idea of a future career in diplomacy.”

A year later, Thvedt returned to Japan to participate in a year-long study-abroad program. Her time in the southern part of the island only deepened her love for the Japanese language and solidified her ambition to pursue diplomacy.

While Thvedt’s dual passions for language and diplomacy were well developed before arriving on campus, she credits Rollins’ academic rigor and personalized learning environment for helping her secure the Boren, which is one of the nation’s most competitive scholarships.

“Since the Boren is competitive, it’s important to do well academically and to show involvement in extracurricular activities,” says Thvedt. “Rollins gives students a lot of attention and resources, and I have thrived in this environment the past two years. If I went to another school, I don’t think I would have been as academically prepared.”

Thvedt is the sixth Rollins student to win a Boren Scholarship in the past decade, joining Karina Barbesino ’19 (China), Caleb Archuleta ’18 (Morocco), Shelby McGuire ’15 (Rwanda), Kari Smith ’12 (Japan), and Fatema Kermalli ’11 (Jordan).

Photo by Scott Cook Photo by Scott Cook

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