Deidre Irby ’16, an East Asian Studies IPM major, received the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and awarded annually to only 800 American undergraduate students nationwide to study abroad. Deidre will attend Korea University in Seoul, March through June 2016, where she will study the Korean language.
“I like translating. I like figuring stuff out and what it means. If I don’t understand, then I want to,” says Deidre, who is a member of Oglethorpe’s Society of Japanese Language Students and helped to found the Anime Anonymous, an anime club at Oglethorpe. Her interest in East Asian culture and language developed while growing up in Fayetteville, N.C., a diverse military town.
After studying abroad, Deidre will focus on graduate school, where she likely will study Korean and linguistics. Deidre is especially interested in second language acquisition and historical linguistics—how language functions, is used, and develops over time. Eventually, she plans to teach and research language, particularly language development.
Deidre hopes that Oglethorpe can grow and solidify a dedicated Asian Studies program, and says she’d like to help make that happen. “Maybe one day I’ll become a college professor,” says Deidre, who has felt the impact and importance of a mentor. She credits Dr. Ron Bobroff, director of the A_LAB’s Center for Global Education, as being “super supportive” during the study abroad application process and “the single most helpful person on this campus.”