PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Career-minded line officers interested in developing language skills and regional cultural knowledge are encouraged to apply for the Olmsted Scholar Program, announced in Naval Administrative message (NAVADMIN) 202/10.
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 and often leads to a graduate degree at a foreign university. Applicants for the fiscal year 2012 (FY-12) program should be available to start language training in summer/fall 2011, begin study at a foreign university in 2012 and complete study in 2014.
The Navy is looking for leaders who display the qualities of dedicated career officers and who aspire to command as line officers. 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, 2011 - to apply for the scholarship. 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. There are currently three Navy Olmsted Scholar flag officers serving on active duty, including Rear Adm. James P. Wisecup, president of the Naval War College. Wisecup was an Olmsted Scholar from 1981-83 in Strasbourg, France, and in addition to his Naval War College duties, serves as the active duty Navy director on the Olmsted Foundation board of directors.
"The Olmsted scholarship simply changed my life," said Wisecup. "My ability to speak a foreign language opened doors to me I never would have imagined, and I've used it in jobs I never thought I would need it for. My Olmsted experience prepared me for working in coalitions, and understanding other navies. By the time I had a posting to NATO headquarters in Brussels as a Navy captain, being in Europe was familiar terrain to me, as well as my family. I couldn't recommend this more highly."
Olmsted scholars interact daily with locals and immerse themselves in the culture of their host country. A background in a specific foreign language is not a prerequisite to selection. Scholars are expected to live on the local economy, travel widely when not in class and be affiliated with U.S. embassies or consulates for administrative purposes only. Olmsted scholars receive their normal pay and allowances, and if married, are normally accompanied by their families.
The Center for Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) is currently accepting applications from regular or line officers for the FY-12 Olmsted program. Applicants are required to meet a list of qualifications and prerequisites and submit a command-endorsed nomination package that must be received by CPPD in Pensacola no later than Sept. 30. In October, the applications are reviewed and a final, Navy-sponsored list of nominees is selected. Up to 10 Navy scholars may be selected for the FY-12 program.
The Olmsted Foundation, named in honor of 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 Rear Adm. Larry Marsh serves as president and chief executive officer of the Olmsted Foundation and was an Olmsted Scholar from 1968-1970 in Munich, Germany. Marsh 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.
"General Olmsted, our benefactor and founder, certainly had great vision when he said that the world's greatest leaders must be educated broadly," said Marsh. "For the past 50 years, our programs have 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 Maritime Strategy."
With the selection of the 52nd Olmsted Scholar Class in March, 2010, 525 scholars have completed, are completing or are preparing for two years of study abroad. Their studies to date have been in 37 languages, in 177 different foreign universities, spanning 58 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 makes its recommendations to the board for final decisions on the nominees at their meeting in late March 2011.
Specific guidelines and details for applying for the Olmsted Scholar Program can be found in NAVADMIN 202/10.
All eligible and interested officers should visit the Olmsted Foundation Web site at www.olmstedfoundation.org
for additional details, including important information regarding selection of country/city/university for their scholarship education preference.
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