LeJeune Receives Future Nobel Laureate Scholarship
Devynn LeJeune was looking forward to studying abroad in Canterbury, England, when she began studies at St. Louis Community College in 2021. However, the world was in the throes of a global pandemic, and STLCC temporarily halted its international studies opportunities.
A year later, LeJeune’s wish to study abroad has become a reality. She is one of only 10 recipients of a Future Nobel Laureate Scholarship and will be studying in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 5-11.
EF College Study and The Forum on Education Abroad have created this first-of-its-kind, high-impact student scholarship program, in collaboration with EF’s educational partner, the Nobel Prize Museum. This interdisciplinary program, which combines an online project-based course, an international field study in Sweden, and attendance at the 2022 Nobel Week Dialogue, is dedicated to including students from diverse backgrounds.
“When I was first informed about the Nobel scholarship, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for me,” she said. “I was extremely grateful when I got it. The whole program revolves around intercultural relationships, so I am beyond grateful that I will be able to expand my learning with other students who also have a passion for diversity and other cultures.
LeJeune got the itch to study abroad from an older cousin, Savanna Badgett, who participated in such a program and traveled to Australia while attending Kansas State University.
“Her experience really inspired me to study abroad at least once in my life,” LeJeune said.
LeJeune, who grew up in Kansas City, came to STLCC through the A+ program after graduating from Lee’s Summit West High School. She moved to St. Louis to live with her grandmother and attend STLCC-Meramec beginning in fall 2021.
“The A+ program gives students the opportunity to do tutoring to receive free tuition to any community college in your state,” she said. “I decided to attend Meramec to have more of a real college experience, instead of attending a community college in Kansas City.”
LeJeune is enrolled in the general transfer studies program, and will transfer in fall 2023. She plans to major in English and literature and minor in political science. Her career goal is to earn a master’s degree and become an English and literature professor.
More immediately, however, is the trip to Stockholm in December. Applicants were required to write a 200-word prompt about a worldwide issue that also deals with equity and diversity.
“I made my prompt about moving forward and creating a clean global water system,” LeJeune said. “Contaminated water is an issue that affects everyone on Earth, but areas that are mainly people of color and low income will be affected by the water crisis first.”
LeJeune is excited to meet the educators and other leaders who are in Sweden for the week.
“The students of the program are part of certain activities for Nobel Peace week,” she said. “It will be amazing knowing I'm surrounded by others who have made their careers about pushing for equity, diversity and equality.”
The program, LeJeune noted, will be exciting, challenging and at times, a little uncomfortable.
“I will be learning more about intercultural relationships. Our professors in the program made it very clear that we will be having conversations that may be uncomfortable, but I believe that this is a good thing,” LeJeune said. “If we continue to avoid the ‘uncomfortable’ conversations, then change may never happen. I am happy that not only myself but my peers in this program will be able to learn from our stories and the uncomfortable conversations we'll be having.”