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Fiscal Year 2019 Olmsted Scholarship Program Seeking Applicants

By Ed Barker, Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- Career-minded officers interested in developing language skills and regional cultural knowledge are encouraged to apply for the fiscal year 2019 (FY-19) Olmsted Scholar Program, announced Feb. 17 in NAVADMIN 038/17.

Currently available to unrestricted line, Information Dominance Corps 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 and often leading to a graduate degree at a foreign university.

The Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center (NETPDC) is currently accepting applications from regular or full-time support officers in the approved designators for the FY-19 Olmsted Scholar Program. Applicants should be available to start language training in summer/fall 2018, begin study at a foreign university in 2019, and complete study in 2021.

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, 2018, 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 who achieved flag rank. 

One Olmsted Scholar currently on track as a naval aviator following his international experience in Leipzig, Germany, at the University of Leipzig is Lt. Cmdr. Haywood Foard, department head at Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

"The Navy's tactical aviation community is right to place its strong emphasis on tactical development and currency in the air, but unfortunately that focus can come at a cost to officers' understanding of naval aviation's role in the broader global security environment," said Foard. "The Olmsted Program fills that gap. My two years in Germany allowed me the time and opportunity to learn the larger context of the Navy's role in the world. The Olmsted Scholarship challenged me daily to reassess how I thought about and perceived the world, and it made me a better leader and officer."

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 which must be received by NETPDC, Code N221B, Officer Special Education Program (OSEP)-Olmsted, no later than Aug. 25. In October, the applications are reviewed and a final, Navy-sponsored list of nominees is selected. For the past five years, the Olmsted Foundation Board of Directors has selected five Navy scholars.

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.

"General 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's Sailor 2025 program."

With the selection of the 58th Olmsted Scholar Class in March 2016, 634 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 2018 for the FY-19 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 website: http://www.navycollege.navy.mil/resources/olmsted.htm and additional information can also be found in can be found in NAVADMIN 038/17.

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Additional information about the Naval Education and Training Professional Development Center can be found at https://www.netc.navy.mil/netc/netpdc/Default.htm