It is unusual for one university to produce Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars in consecutive years, but Pepperdine Dean Emeritus and Malibu Rotarian David Baird is proud that Pepperdine University can boast producing  five Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholars in five years.  Last December we were able to meet Amy Joehlin-Price who was the 2007-2008 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar sponsored by the Malibu Rotary Club and District 5280  to study public health at the Malawi College of Medicine in southeast Africa.  She now is at Ohio State Medical School.  When Braden Mogler, who was a junior at Pepperdine University asked  Dean David Baird about applying for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to study public health in a Spanish speaking country he recommended Braden apply through the Rotary Club in his home town of Mankato, Minnesota, rather than through the Malibu Rotary Club. 


 In 2005 Ashley Hardesty, a Pepperdine student in International Studies, was Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar The next  year Pepperdine student Maile Wehrheim was sponsored by her home Rotary Club in Po`ipu Beach  in Hawaii, to go to New Zealand, where she is working on post graduate degree in education while she teaches third grade. And next year a current Pepperdine student Katie Stjernholm  will  be a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar.

 The scholarships, which are designed to further international understanding and goodwill, provide for study abroad for one year in one of the 162 countries and 35 geographical regions where Rotary clubs are located.  Some 1,200 scholarships will be available from clubs worldwide.


Academic-Year Ambassadorial Scholarships are for one academic year abroad and provide funding for round-trip transportation, tuition and fees, room, board, necessary educational supplies, and language training (if necessary) up to a maximum award of US $23,000 or its equivalent.


During their studies abroad, Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholars act as "ambassadors of goodwill."  Through appearances before Rotary clubs and districts, schools, civic organizations, and other forums, the scholars represent their homelands and work to further international understanding.


The application process and competition to get Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships is keen.  Even among the well qualified applicants, Rotary districts try not show favoritism for clubs so if two applicants with equally sterling credentials come before the selection committee, the sponsoring club which has not had a recent selection winner would probably be favored over one that has. 


After filling out The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship Application in English, Braden also filled it out in Spanish, so it could be sent to those places  in Latin America where he was hoping to study.  He said the application process forced him to think about himself-to put into words his life's accomplishments and aspirations-"Who am I?"  He knew the application process and the rigorous interviews he had to go through in applying for the scholarship would serve as a great experience even if he hadn't been an eventual winner.  Rotary Club of Mankato, Minnesota, is part of Rotary District 5960 in eastern Minnesota.  Mankato is less than 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St Paul. The interview process for Rotary Ambassadorial applicants in District 5960 sounds like it is even more rigorous than in our District 5280.  It is a day long event, and the interviewers included several past District Governors, the current District Governor, and the District Govener-elect, along with other committee people.  It starts with a statement from the applicant which is followed by the interviewers' questions coming from behind the U-Shaped table set up.  District 5960 chose only one applicant from the 7 that were interviewed.  Braden said he was able to meet and become friends with the other applicants who all had distinguished backgrounds.  He also was be able to confer with Pepperdine's previous Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, Amy Joehlin-Price


Braden has long been interested in service a Latin American country.  Before college he had been selected as ambassadorial scholar to a Spanish speaking country, and during summers while at Pepperdine he had worked teaching in both Dominican Republic and at an orphanage in Mexico. He knew he want to study public health in a Spanish speaking country, and after doing research, and narrowed his choices down to Uruguay, Mexico and Honduras, and decided that Uruguay would be the perfect next step for him.  Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America, and one of the least corrupt.  It bordered only by one other country, Brazil, and Braden hopes to add to his lingual skills by also learning Portuguese while he is there.  Braden is interested in public health in such a country and also how the culture interfaces with medicine.  He said there are cultural difference on how people interact with doctors. He is interested in providing health care in impoverished areas. People here generally don't go to the doctor and when they do there are things they don't tell him. He expects to take bioethics as part of his curriculum. He is hoping to be accepted into a US medical school that features bilingual Spanish as part of the community it serves.  Among those are California schools, such as UCLA and UC Irvine.  


Everyone was impressed by Braden's composure speaking while having John Elman was trying  to get Braden's Power Point presentation loaded into our meeting room equipment.  We are sure Braden's composure will bode well for him when he becomes a physician.