VERMILLION, S.D. -- Jane Gullickson can’t imagine a job where she isn’t working with people. The University of South Dakota senior, set to graduate in May, isn’t positive what job she’ll have in the future, but the 2009 Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar is excited about the possibilities.
"I had the opportunity to learn a lot in college," said Gullickson, a native of Brandon, S.D. "Now I look forward to learning about the world."
Gullickson, a political science and journalism major, is one of more than 750 university students from 60 countries selected to study abroad as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. Designed to bridge cultures and encourage goodwill, the Ambassadorial Scholarships program is one of Rotary’s leading efforts to promote world peace and understanding.
"It's a great opportunity," said Gullickson, who was nominated for the scholarship by the Downtown Rotary Club of Sioux Falls. "Rotary will help pay for my education and, in turn, I will participate in community service projects and participate in speaking engagements during my time abroad."
Gullickson will study at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia, beginning next February. She hopes to earn a graduate certificate in health leadership administration during her year of study. She has worked full-time and part-time at long-term care facilities during the past eight years, most recently for Bethany Meadows Assisted Living in her hometown of Brandon.
"It's really something special to be able to work with the elderly," she mentioned. "It's a wonderful experience because you just keep learning. Every time I go to work, I receive more than I give."
Gullickson, daughter of Brad and Colleen Gullickson of Brandon, was a Student Ambassador, a member of The U's Orientation Team, and spent two years on the staff of USD's student newspaper The Volante, including a semester as news editor.
Gullickson also interned for Larry Rhoden, former majority leader of the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2008. It was an experience of a lifetime as she sat in meetings with Rhoden and Gov. Mike Rounds and learned firsthand how state government works. She also spent time away from campus volunteering on behalf of The U through the Center for Academic Engagement’s Alternative Week of Off-campus Learning (AWOL), where she made enjoyed the service-learning experience and meeting new people. This past year, she was elected to AWOL’s inaugural Executive Board serving as the organization’s director of public relations.
"As a previous participant, Jane had the ideal experience to bring to the board to rethink and enhance the program to put the students at the helm," noted Jacqueline Lonning, coordinator of academic engagement at USD. "Her voice and enthusiasm for the program permeated all of the positions and projects the program took on, and our success this last year is due in large part to the time she has put in and the ideas she has had."
Gullickson embraced the challenges and believes the learning experience has prepared her for the next step in her future.
"I've been grateful for the opportunities I've had the last four years," she noted, "but I'm excited for what's next. I had a phenomenal experience at USD," Gullickson added. "USD has set me up well for the next part of my life."
Rotary's Ambassadorial Scholarships program is the world’s largest privately sponsored international scholarship program. Focused on humanitarian service, personal diplomacy, and academic excellence, the program has sponsored more than 40,000 scholars since 1947. Alumni include former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom Philip Lader, Goucher College President Sanford Ungar, former U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford and Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert. In 2008-09, nearly 700 scholars from some 70 countries studied in more than 60 nations, at a program cost of nearly $12 million.