Mei-Ling Fye, a rising senior and cadet in the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership, is one of just four college students in America to be awarded an Olmsted Scholarship to study abroad this summer.
The grant, made to Reserve Officer Training Corps students through the Olmsted Foundation Cadet Overseas Travel Program, helps future Army officers better understand a foreign language and culture. Fye will be in Japan. Her topic: “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Justified Acts of War or Violations of Noncombatant Rights?” She will visit the two cities, which were demolished by atomic bombs in World War II. While in Hiroshima, she will talk with a survivor.
To be eligible for the program, Fye needed to be proficient in foreign languages and demonstrate strong leadership capabilities. She speaks Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. Fye has been one of the top VWIL cadets. She was selected to attend airborne school last August and earned the Army parachute badge.
Fye, an Asian Studies major with minors in music and leadership studies, was elected to the Freshman Leadership Training Committee and to the Mary Baldwin University Honor Council in her sophomore year. She was re-elected to the Honor Council in her junior year. Fye is a member of the soccer team, an avid pianist, drum major of the VWIL Marching Band, president of the college’s chapter of the national leadership society Omicron Delta Kappa, and will be first captain, the highest position in VWIL, in the coming academic year.
“She is the most outstanding young man or woman I have observed in my 28 years as commander in the U.S. Army, three years as program manager in industry or for the past 12 years as the commandant of VMI and now of VWIL,” said Brig. Gen. N. Michael Bissell.