Journey to JakartaGAMBIER, Ohio (May 30, 2007) Sam Polk, a 2004 Kenyon graduate who majored in International Studies and Political Science, has been named a 2007-08 Luce Scholar by the Henry Luce Foundation. The prestigious Luce Scholars Program provides stipends and internships for eighteen young Americans to live and work in Asia each year. Nominated by an invited list of colleges and universities, Luce Scholars are selected for their record of high achievement, outstanding leadership ability, and a clearly defined career interest with evidence of potential for professional accomplishment.
Polk will be hosted by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, Indonesia. To prepare for his time there, the Luce Scholarship will fund Polk's enrollment in an 8-week intensive language course to learn Bahasa Indonesia, the standardized dialect of Malay that is spoken throughout Indonesia, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Southeast Asian Summer Studies Institute (SEASSI).
For the past two-and-a-half years, Polk has been working for the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, providing analysis to support U.S. government efforts to stem illicit financing of terrorist and other groups. He hopes to attend law school eventually, and believes that his time at the Treasury has given him a solid basis for exploring the intersection of law and international politics.
While a student at Kenyon, Polk studied abroad in Cuba and Mexico. Immersion in these cultures provided him with "some of the most formative experiences of my life." He looks forward to similar opportunities in Indonesia to learn another language and become familiar with another region of the world.
"Living and working in so dynamic and diverse a place as Indonesia will familiarize me with a part of the world of increasing importance to the U.S., and leave me well-situated to return to the policy world if I so choose," says Polk.