William & Mary Student Selected to Travel to Asia with Scholars Program

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Rebecca Schectman, William and Mary class of 2016, will spend her first year after graduation as a Luce Scholar working abroad. (Photo by Marisa Spyker)
Rebecca Schectman, William and Mary class of 2016, will spend her first year after graduation as a Luce Scholar working abroad. (Photo by Marisa Spyker)

A William & Mary senior is one of 18 students and young professionals selected nationwide for a position with the prestigious Luce Scholars program class of 2016-17.

The Luce Scholars program, founded by Time Inc. Editor-in-Chief Henry Luce, is “a nationally competitive fellowship that offers stipends, language training and individualized professional placement in one of 14 countries in an effort to provide young leaders with a deeper understanding of Asian culture and practices,” according to a recent news release from William & Mary.

In order to apply, a candidate must be under 30 and nominated by one of 75 eligible universities. Schectman is the second student from William & Mary to ever be selected for inclusion in the program’s 42-year history.

Schectman is an international relations major whose focus is on humanitarian aid and international development.

During her time at William & Mary, Schectman has also worked as a research fellow with AidData, studied abroad in Argentina and traveled to Uganda as a fellow with UNICEF.

While contemplating her post-graduation plans, Schectman was encouraged to apply for the fellowship by Lisa Grimes, director of fellowships in the Charles Center.

“I knew I wanted to spend a year working abroad, but I hadn’t really considered Asia, or this scholarship, because I didn’t have any experience there,” Schectman said. “But then I realized that’s exactly what the Luce Foundation is looking for.”

In Asia, Schectman “hopes to pursue work helping residents of impoverished areas and displaced people,” according to the William & Mary release.

“I’m hoping for placement somewhere in Southeast Asia, like Thailand, Malaysia or Myanmar,” Schectman said. “But anywhere would be great. I’m just thrilled and honored to be given this opportunity.”

In the coming weeks, Schectman will work with the Luce Foundation and the Asia Foundation to tailor her year abroad to fit her professional interests. She will depart for her posting in July.

“Rebecca Schectman’s success in the prestigious Luce Scholarship competition is a testament to the outstanding abilities of W&M undergraduates interested in global and regional issues,” said Steve Hanson, vice provost for international affairs and director of the Reves Center for International Studies. “All of us at W&M know that Rebecca will take full advantage of this opportunity, and go on to make a real difference in the world.”