Senior Daniel Rubin named one of 18 Luce Scholars nationwide

Competitive fellowship program promotes understanding of Asia among potential leaders

Senior Daniel Rubin, a political science and history major in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is among 18 students nationwide to be selected as Luce Scholars.

Rubin is the sixth student in WUSTL’s history to win the award. He was selected from a pool of 143 candidates nominated by 62 colleges and universities. Selection is determined after a rigorous interview process.

The Henry Luce Foundation launched this nationally competitive fellowship program in 1974 to enhance understanding of Asia among potential leaders in American society. Each year, the program provides stipends, language training and individualized professional placement in Asia. The scholars gain new perspectives and cultural insights through immersive living and working experiences.

The foundation welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students and young professionals who have had limited exposure to Asia. The program is unique in that it is intended for young leaders who might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience Asia in the normal course of their careers. Those with significant experience in Asia are not eligible. Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually every field.

Asia placements are confirmed in May. Scholars can be placed in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand or Vietnam. The scholar year runs slightly more than 12 months, from late June to mid-July.

“For the first couple of months, I will be focused on learning a bit of Hindi,” Rubin says. “While I have not officially received my assignment, it looks as though I will be working at a foreign policy-focused think tank in Delhi, India.

“I hope to get the Indian government perspective on engaging with China and the United States, combating international terrorism, and managing relations with Afghanistan/Pakistan. More broadly, I hope to learn about Indian culture through work, extensive travel and even more extensive eating.”

At the university, Rubin has focused on U.S. politics and international relations, taking classes on such diverse subjects as multinational corporations, the origins of international conflict and the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.

His passion for politics and public service has led him to pursue various internships. With the International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce, he researched and wrote on the liberalization of the Costa Rican Information and Communications Technology sector.

While working for Stewart Jackson, a member of Parliament in the U.K. House of Commons, he assisted with constituency work and researched the pupil premium, legal aid, sustainable local transport and the annual budget.

Finally, at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights in Washington, D.C., last summer, he monitored state-level legislation to prepare for possible litigation related to redistricting and Voter ID laws under the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“While I have done a decent number of internships, I am excited to potentially be working on foreign policy issues for the first time,” Rubin says. “Specifically, it will be interesting to learn about such consequential topics from the perspective of a rising democracy, rather than that of a superpower.”

Outside of the classroom, Rubin has tutored middle school students since his freshman year and contributes editorials to the Washington University Political Review. He plans to attend law school in the near future.

“Daniel is a stellar candidate academically, but what sets him apart is his genuine leadership skill and potential to greatly contribute to the goals of the Luce Scholars program,” says Joy Z. Kiefer, PhD, assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences and director of undergraduate research.

Rubin is the second WUSTL student to be selected since 2010. Kiefer attributes the success, in part, to a strong internal nomination process and full involvement from the university’s Career Center, which helps nominees prepare for the rigorous interviews.

“This particular scholarship program looks for candidates with leadership potential and clearly defined career goals,” Kiefer says. “Amy Heath-Carpentier (career development specialist), my Career Center partner in this process, is an expert at helping the students articulate their intended career path and our recent positive results reflect her contribution.”