Three emerging leaders receive Luce Scholarships to work in Asia

Three Yale students are among 18 emerging leaders to be named 2024-25 Luce Scholars.
Awa Cisse, Anna Lenaker, and Adriana Golden

Awa Cisse, Anna Lenaker, and Adriana Golden

Three Yale students are among 18 emerging leaders to be named 2024-25 Luce Scholars. The prestigious 13-month fellowship, created by the Henry Luce Foundation, provides the recipients with stipends, language training, and immersive professional placement in Asia that is tailored to their interests and career aspirations.

Awa Cisse and Adriana Golden are seniors at Yale College, and Anna Lenaker is a master’s student at Yale School of the Environment.

Launched in 1974, the Luce Scholars Program aims to strengthen relationships across geographic borders by creating opportunities for young Americans who would otherwise have had limited experience in Asia and may not have the opportunity to live there during the normal course of their career.

For the recipients, the scholarship presents an opportunity to dive into a new culture, gain valuable experience, and make a meaningful impact in their chosen fields.

This year’s scholars were chosen from 386 applicants from across the nation.

Awa Cisse is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French studies at Yale. She was born and raised in Dakar, Senegal. After earning an associate’s degree in biology from Georgia State–Perimeter College in 2021, she was awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Transfer scholarship and received admission at Yale. Cisse conducts research at Yale School of Public Health in the infectious disease department, where she focuses on effective treatments for malaria. She also volunteers at local organizations that focus on health care equity and access. She is a member of Yale’s Eli Whitney Students Program for nontraditional students with exceptional backgrounds and aspirations.

Adriana Golden is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a concentration in creative writing. She performs with The Odd Ducks, a sketch and stand-up comedy group, and served as the chair of The Yale Record, the nation’s oldest college humor magazine. Working for the Living History Project, at Yale New Haven Hospital, she also interviews long-term patients about their life stories and shares their narratives with their care teams. She is also a psychoeducation provider at the HAVEN Free Clinic, where she conducts anxiety coping workshops and performs mental health evaluations for recent immigrants to the U.S., and is a research assistant on a Connecticut Mental Health Center study about the perception of substance use disorder among Latin American patients. A published fiction author, she is interested in a career as a physician-writer.

Anna Lenaker is pursuing a Master of Environmental Management degree at Yale School of the Environment, specializing in climate change science and solutions. Previously, she received a Master of Public Affairs and B.A. in Religious Studies from Brown University. Calling climate change and its disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations the moral issue of her lifetime, Lenaker is committed to developing and supporting science- and place-based solutions to the climate crisis that are just and effective. She has written on the public health impacts of tropical deforestation with the World Resources Institute, and is the author of the book “Able to Be Otherwise,” an account of her experiences and encounters with poverty, familial addiction, and climate change.

Applications for next year’s Luce Scholarship open in April and must be submitted by October.

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