On April 3, 2014, NSLI-Y India, Academic Year 2012-13 Alumna Maddie attended the Coca-Cola Scholars Banquet, which honored 150 nationally recognized recipients selected as “exceptional people [with a] thirst for knowledge and desire to make a difference in the world,” according to the Coca Cola Scholarship foundation. The banquet was highlighted by keynote speaker and former Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, whom Maddie was given the distinguished honor of being paired with for the event.

“I was recently named a Coca-Cola Scholar, and at the banquet held for the 150 scholars and hundreds of sponsors, I was chosen to sit next to former Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, at the head of the table. I would certainly have not been given this opportunity had I not participated in NSLI-Y!” said Maddie.

Dr. Rice spoke about the challenges youth must overcome and provided avenues for success as the scholars embark on higher education. In her speech addressed to the graduating seniors, Dr. Rice urged them to study abroad, learn a language, and immerse themselves in foreign cultures.

“We’re different, and that’s what makes the world an exciting place. There is also nothing more humanizing than knowing other people and how they live,” said Dr. Rice.

Maddie’s selection to sit next to Dr. Rice allowed her to share her stories and lessons that the NSLI-Y and Department of State provided her. In doing so, Dr. Rice and Maddie connected over the importance of understanding different cultures and their participation in the global community.

“Dr. Rice was thrilled to hear about my travels and the role the State Department had played in them,” Maddie recalled.

As NSLI-Y alumni forge new paths after their programs’ completion, students such as Maddie are finding that their experiences abroad continue to influence their lives and open new doors. In doing so, alumni such as Maddie have jumped to the forefront of the competitive and developed students who exemplify the values of lasting change.

Originally published on May 23rd, 2014.

2017 Update

Madison is a rising senior at the University of Georgia, where she is majoring in Anthropology and International Affairs with a certificate in Global Studies. During her time at UGA, she has studied in twenty countries on five continents.

She is currently the Executive Director of the UGA Miracle, the largest student organization in the state of Georgia and the sixth largest in the nation. Last year they raised $1.35 million for a local hospital. She also conducts policy research, leads the introductory seminar for the university’s first year honors students, and tutors Latino elementary school students.

This summer she is interning at the US Department of State, working on public diplomacy initiatives, such as academic exchanges like NSLI-Y.