PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Career-minded officers interested in developing language skills and regional cultural knowledge are encouraged to apply for the fiscal year 2020 (FY-20) Olmsted Scholar Program, announced March 1, in NAVADMIN 053/18.
Currently available to unrestricted line, information warfare, and supply corps officer designators, the Olmsted Program is a unique scholarship opportunity offering two years of graduate study using a foreign language while providing overseas cultural and travel opportunities, often leading to a graduate degree at a foreign university.
The Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) is currently accepting applications from active component officers in the approved designators for the FY-20 Olmsted Scholar Program. Applicants should be available to start language training in summer/fall 2019, begin study at a foreign university in 2020, and complete study in 2022.
The ideal candidates will display the qualities of dedicated career officers and aspire to command assignments. Applicants must have demonstrated strong leadership qualities, solid overall performance, strong promotion potential, and superior demonstrated scholastic ability. Candidates must have three years of commissioned service, but no more than 11 years of total active federal service as of April 1, 2019, to apply for the scholarship. Designators 1310 and 1320 have expanded service eligibility to no more than 13.5 years. Specific designator eligibility is listed in the NAVADMIN.
Historically, Olmsted scholars have benefited from the program and continue to promote to senior leadership positions, including 12 past Navy scholars that achieved flag rank.
One Olmsted scholar currently on track as an intelligence officer following her international experience in Mexico City at the University Panamericana is Lt. Jessy Elfstrom, intelligence watch officer at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet in Manama, Bahrain.
"The Olmsted Scholar Program provided me with the most exhilarating and transformative years of my life," said Elfstrom. "Because of the Olmsted experience, I am a better, stronger, and wiser person than I was before. My Olmsted experience benefits everyone I interact with, serve, and lead. Through two years of living, travelling, and studying abroad I developed the ability to see the world from various perspectives, relate to different people, and adapt to unusual environments and circumstances, which is necessary for our unique jobs in the Navy. Taking a two-year hiatus to develop yourself personally and intellectually has an extremely powerful impact on one's outlook and composure. I feel certain that whatever is to come at me personally or professionally, that I can manage it successfully because I was successful at conquering so many challenges alone as an Olmsted scholar."
According to the Olmsted website, scholars interact daily with locals and immerse themselves in the culture of their host country, but a background in a specific foreign language is not a prerequisite to selection. Scholars are expected to live on the local economy and travel widely. Olmsted scholars receive their normal pay and allowances, and if married, are normally accompanied by their families.
Applicants are required to meet a list of qualifications and prerequisites and submit a command-endorsed nomination package that must be received by NETPDC, Code N221B, Officer Special Education Program (OSEP)-Olmsted, no later than Aug. 24. In November, the applications are reviewed and a Navy-sponsored list of up to 12 finalists will be submitted to the foundation for consideration into the Olmsted program.
The Olmsted Foundation, named in honor of Maj. Gen. George and Carol Olmsted, and the Department of Defense have jointly sponsored this scholarship program since 1959. Since its inception, the foundation has focused on educational and charitable purposes.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bruce Scott serves as president and chief executive officer of the Olmsted Foundation and was an Olmsted scholar from 1979-81 at the University of Freiburg (Albert Ludwig) in Freiburg, Germany. Scott believes the success of the program is a direct result of the vision of the man for which the foundation and the scholarship program is named.
"Gen. Olmsted, our benefactor and founder, certainly possessed great vision when he said that the world's greatest leaders must be educated broadly," said Scott. "For more than 50 years, our program has educated young officers in foreign language fluency and foreign cultures, which are becoming more and more important in today's world and in supporting the Navy of the future."
With the selection of the 59th Olmsted scholar class in March 2017, 652 scholars have completed, are completing ,or are preparing for two years of study abroad. Their studies to date have been in 40 languages, in 202 different foreign universities, spanning 60 countries worldwide.
The Navy nominations are submitted to the Olmsted Foundation Board of Directors, along with nomination packages from the other services. During a comprehensive personal interview, the foundation staff examines the nominee's academic and professional background, motivation to be a scholar, choice of foreign university, proposed course of study, language aptitude, and career goals. Taking all this data into account, the interview panel will make its recommendations to the board for final decisions on the nominees at its meeting in March 2019 for the FY-20 Olmsted scholar class.
All eligible and interested officers should visit the Olmsted Foundation website at http://www.olmstedfoundation.org for details. Specific information on the Navy's application procedures can be found on the Navy College Program website at http://www.navycollege.navy.mil/resources/olmsted.htm and additional information can also be found in NAVADMIN 053/18.
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