College senior Dana Toy was named one of 15 Luce Scholars, an award that provides college students with a year of professional work experience in a country in Asia, last week.
According to the Luce Scholars Program website, Scholars “gain new perspectives and cultural insights on their countries through immersive living and working experiences in Asia.”
The program, which the Henry Luce Foundation launched in 1974, arranges professional placement for each student according to his or her interests, background and qualifications while also providing stipends and language-training.
Toy is the sixth Emory student to receive the award since 2000, according to Dee McGraw, director of the national scholarships and fellowships program.
“I am excited, honored, and grateful to have such an amazing opportunity to follow my undergraduate experience at Emory,” Toy wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I have known for about a week now but still have not fully processed the idea that I will be in Asia very soon after graduation.”
The program includes orientations in New York and San Francisco in late June, followed by intensive language study in Asia during July and August. Placement begins in September and lasts for a year, though Toy said he will be informed of his location in the upcoming months.
“The purpose is to introduce young Americans to a part of the world about which many of us know too little and to create collaborations and friendships that will last throughout the recipients’ lives,” McGraw noted.
She added that the types of work students complete through the program vary widely for each recipient. Emory students have done work in fields ranging from journalism to wild animal veterinary sciences in the past.
Each year, around 75 colleges and universities participate in the program, and each institution submits up to three nominations through a designated member of its faculty or administration. Students apply for the internal nomination through the Emory National Scholarships and Fellowships Program Office.
Emory nominated three students this year, with Toy being named the only finalist from the University by the Luce Scholars Program. McGraw explained that the Scholarships and Fellowships Program Office submits nominations for the program almost every year. Because individuals can apply up to age 30, the award is a “particular honor for a graduating senior,” McGraw explained.
Applications for the program require a record of high achievement, leadership abilities and “clearly defined interests,” as well as the potential for accomplishment in professional fields, according to the program’s website.
Approximately 45 finalists are selected from a pool of nominees to appear before one of three selection committees each February. Finalists attend a dinner reception and undergo one-on-one interviews in either New York City or San Francisco.
McGraw remarked that she believes Toy is a good fit for the program because of his internship and professional work experience. Toy has worked as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Arthur English, an Emory professor of cell biology and associate professor of rehabilitation medicine, since his sophomore year. Additionally, he has been involved with various initiatives with the Office of Multicultural Programs and Services.
Toy is also a Pre-Major Advising Connections at Emory (PACE) captain, senior retreat coordinator for the Crossroads diversity retreats and Issue Troupe cast member, among other activities.
“[These] experiences have prepared him to step into meaningful work,” McGraw commented. “He’s made his life at Emory about inclusion and diversity.”
Ideally, Toy wrote, he will be placed in a health care clinical setting or research laboratory. Toy hopes that the Luce Scholars program will allow him to conduct international collaborative research, he noted.
Toy added that he expects that the program will provide him with “international experience and professional [and] personal development]” before he enters medical school.
“This fellowship is unique in that I have the opportunity to really mold the fellowship to meet my aspirations in becoming a physician and clinical researcher,” he explained.
The last Emory recipient of the Luce Scholars Program award was Anne Marie Gan (’08C), who worked as an art historian for the restoration and preservation of artifacts at the Preah Norodom Sihanouk-Angkor Museum in Cambodia.
— Contact Jordan Friedman.