Junior Named a Finalist in Truman Scholarship Competition

Posted: March 27, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Christopher Anzalone

Recently, Emmaline Gayk, a junior double majoring in French and government and international politics, was chosen as a finalist for a 2005-06 Truman Scholarship from the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation.

She is competing with 249 other finalists chosen from academic institutions from across the United States for one of the scholarships, which are designed to assist qualified candidates pursue graduate studies. Awards of up to $30,000 are given for graduate programs in public service.

In addition to taking courses in French language and linguistics, Gayk is studying Arabic and has an interest in the Middle East and North Africa. After graduating from George Mason, she plans on furthering her Arabic language studies and is considering pursuing a graduate degree. “Acquiring near-native fluency in Arabic is one of my personal and professional goals,” she says.

After completing her graduate studies, Gayk hopes to work for the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer in embassies abroad. “Working in American embassies abroad will allow me to use the language and political skills I will have gained throughout undergraduate and graduate school,” she says.

“Ultimately, I plan to choose a career track in public diplomacy. I am committed to promoting an understanding of American values, traditions and history. I strongly believe that exchange programs and cultural awareness are fundamental to enhancing both personal and governmental relations.”

In addition to excelling academically, Gayk has also served as a student leader during her three years at George Mason, working as a resident advisor, a member of the George Mason Chess Club and for Student Government. She is also an active member of the national service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and has participated in numerous volunteer events, including the AIDS Walk and Fall for the Book.

She explains her activism by saying, “I feel that a strong foundation in community service is important for America’s leaders.”

During the application process for the scholarship, which includes a lengthy application form and an in-person interview with foundation personnel, Gayk says she had to think seriously about her goals. “While working on the application, I learned a great deal about who I am and who I want to become,” she says.

Last year, 75 scholarships were awarded. The 2006 winners will be announced on March 28.

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