Jesse Chase-Lubitz '18 has been chosen by the Henry Luce Scholarship Foundation to join the 2019-2020 class of Luce Scholars. Aimed at the enhancement of the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society, the Luce Scholars Program places students in various host countries within Asia for an immersive living and working experience, along with supporting them through stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement.
The program is highly competitive, with just 15-18 applicants nationwide selected each year. Each candidate must be nominated by one of 75 participating institutions, after which they undergo a rigorous selection process that includes interviews and an extensive vetting process. Jesse and the 17 other 2019-2020 Luce Scholars will embark on their journeys to Asia in late June.
“Everyone I met in the final round was so impressive and interesting that I really feel lucky to even have made it that far,” Jesse said.
Jesse’s interest in the program stemmed from a budding passion for journalism. She hopes to gain a better understanding of her placement country’s history, as well as a deeper knowledge about trends that run throughout their society today. Throughout her life, she has had a passion to explore and immerse herself in cultures she is not familiar with, and this passion led her to pursue journalism.
"I chose journalism because each new story requires the writer to learn — to transition from asking the questions to answering them. The Luce scholarship is a chance to attempt to understand a new group of people and their culture and politics, to learn about their interests and concerns, and start to grasp their history. A year is not enough time to fully understand a society, but it’s a start," Jesse said.
Jesse’s newly-found passion for journalism developed when she first arrived at GS.
“The first time I came to Columbia I remember being excited and overwhelmed by the feeling that anything I could ever want to learn was physically surrounding me,” explained Jesse. “GS gave me the opportunity to explore whatever I wanted and the support to do so with confidence.”
But she also gives a lot of credit to her fellow students, who she said set an example of fearlessness and ambition in working tirelessly to achieve their goals.
“I went to Columbia as a ballet dancer and left as a journalist. Though I still expect to be a journalist after the Program, I imagine the experience will be similarly transformative,” Jesse said.
The Luce Scholars Program is a nationally competitive fellowship program. It was launched by the Henry Luce Foundation in 1974 to enhance the understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society, and is unique among American-Asian exchanges in that it is intended for young leaders who might not otherwise have an opportunity to spend time on the continent.
GS Communications, April 4, 2019