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Alumna honored as Lewis & Clark’s first Luce scholar

March 04, 2013

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    Megan Mills-Novoa ’09

Megan Mills-Novoa B.A. ’09 has been named a Luce scholar—the first Lewis & Clark student or graduate to receive the honor.

The scholarship is a highly prestigious and nationally competitive award from the Henry Luce Foundation that provides funding for young leaders to spend a year in Asia doing research that will lead to their professional advancement. Mills-Novoa will use her award to study agriculture, food security, and environmental change in Asia.

Lewis & Clark was designated as a nominating institution for the Luce scholars program in July 2008. Today, just 75 colleges and universities are eligible to nominate candidates.

Megan Mills-Novoa ’09

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tell us about what you expect to be doing while in Asia.

During my time in Asia, I will be broadly learning about strategies for adaptation to climate change impacts on food security. I will be placed with an organization that works on this issue in some way, potentially focusing on rural development, poverty reduction, and/or humanitarian aid. I am now in the process of working with staff from the Asia Foundation, a partner organization of the Luce Foundation, to narrow down which country and what professional placement would be best suited for me to pursue this work.

Did you participate in any study abroad trips during your time at Lewis & Clark?

I participated in a study abroad program to Cuba in fall 2007. As a Cuban-American, this was an intensely powerful experience that allowed me to become acquainted with a country that my family left in the 1960s. It challenged me to ask questions around my own identity that have really shaped who I am.

How do you think your Lewis & Clark education has contributed to you seeing yourself as a citizen in a global community?

My Lewis & Clark education empowered me to take ownership for my own educational and professional journey. As an environmental studies major, I was given the freedom to shape my degree, blending interdisciplinary learning with my passion for social justice. This freedom allowed me to situate my educational experience in a global context, making me feel that my classes and student activism were grounded and relevant to work beyond Palatine Hill. This sense of empowerment was forged through the support of professors and peers at Lewis & Clark who challenged me to be a more thoughtful, engaged, and grounded student, citizen, and activist.

What are your plans for the future, and how do you think your Luce experience will figure in those plans?

Following my year in Asia, I plan to return to graduate school and continue researching adaptation strategies to climate change impacts on food security. My hope is that my year as a Luce scholar will provide me an understanding and appreciation of Asia that I can carry forward with me into my graduate work and beyond.

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