Artboard 1 apply Artboard 1 copy 2 Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB give Artboard 1 copy 3 info link Mount_Logo_Primary_RGB Artboard 1 Artboard 2 Artboard 1 visit

Eliza Felos Awarded Huayu Enrichment Scholarship

Nicole Patterson

eliza felos feature

Eliza Felos, C’21, has been awarded the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) by the Taiwan Ministry of Education. This international award will fund 12 months of language training in Mandarin Chinese at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan, and includes a stipend of 25,000 NTD (about $894 USD). Felos is the first-ever Mount recipient of this scholarship.

dsc_0080-2.jpg“I was able to find this scholarship with the help of the Fellows,” said Felos, who studied political science, international studies and history. Her long-term goal is to work for the United States Foreign Service or serve in international humanitarian work in eastern Asia. “I am incredibly fortunate to have advisors and mentors who encouraged me to apply for a variety of scholarships and helped me in the application process. Dr. Blackshaw and Dr. Gianoutsos spent many a weekend helping me polish my essays and applications to where they would be competitive.”

Hailing from Lebanon, Tennessee, Felos came to the Mount as a transfer student and quickly took leadership roles as captain of the NCAA Division I swimming team and founder the Mount Democrats Club. Both of these roles emphasized her sacrifice, preparation and grit. She was also a finalist for the Luce Scholarship, a nationally competitive fellowship program that provides scholars with resources, language training and immersive experiences in Asia. In 2019, Felos was one of 10 students nominated for the Training Ms. President program, which works to encourage women to run for political office and connect with inspirational women in politics.

“Few individuals are as well-rounded as Eliza, performing admirably in academics, in sports, in service and in leadership,” commented Director of the Office of Competitive Fellowships and Professor of History Jamie Gianoutsos, Ph.D. “What comes through all of these activities is Eliza’s tenacity, eagerness and determination. She has spent the last two years trying to study in Taiwan, and when hampered by the pandemic spent her time studying Mandarin Chinese with a tutor. This scholarship will provide Eliza the distinctive opportunity to be immersed in the Chinese language and Taiwanese culture, aiding her long-term goal of working in international diplomacy.”

According to the HES website, “Taiwan is the only place in the world where traditional Chinese writing is widely taught and used. A mastery of traditional Chinese characters provides access to an enormous body of ancient Chinese literature, key to understanding the origins of Chinese culture.”  

Felos learned Mandarin Chinese from Adjunct Professor Dorothy Trench-Bonnet for two years, working diligently to overcome various obstacles to continue pursuing her interest in mutual understanding, language and culture.

“In the first day of the first course Eliza took with me, she indicated that she aspired to pursue a career in international affairs and diplomacy,” said Allison Berland, Ph.D., a lecturer in the Department of Political Science who wrote a recommendation letter for Felos. “Her maturity and focus stood out to me from the outset.”

Professor of Political Science Michael Towle, Ph.D., also wrote Felos a letter of recommendation. “I am thrilled that Eliza is receiving this scholarship! She is a fantastic student and a delightful person. One of her goals has been to master Mandarin Chinese, and this program in Taiwan is perfect for her—and the Mount gets to send one of ours around the world to learn and share experiences,” he said.

This weekend Felos graduated summa cum laude. During her time at the Mount, her efforts, advocacy and conduct influenced fellow students, faculty and administrators. Her willingness to listen and lead by example have served her well. “I hope that other students in the future will be able to take advantage of the amazing resources this University offers that, I have no doubt, will help shape my future career,” she said.

The HES award period is between September 1, 2021, and August 31, 2022.

Nicole Patterson