Phillip Ly, a May 2022 Strategic and Security Studies graduate, has one final time during his undergraduate career been recognized for his outstanding academic achievements. Shortly after his graduation ceremony and commissioning into the Georgia National Guard, Philip found out he had been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. This followed closely on the heels of his being named a “Rangel Scholar” earlier in his final semester at UNG.  

Phillip, originally from Forest Park, GA and an alumnus of Forest Park High School came to UNG courtesy of a University of North Georgia Military scholarship. He was drawn to the military aspect of UNG and chose Strategic and Security Studies due to its focus on international issues, the chance to study abroad, and the challenging coursework. He was initially impressed by the variety of concentrations within the degree program, including the chance to focus one’s studies on languages. “The opportunities here at UNG are quite amazing,” Phillip noted, expecting that prospective students will embark on “a rewarding journey if [they] come here.” 

The Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Summer Enrichment Program accepts only fifteen students out of a potential applicant pool of nearly 800 in any given application cycle. This recognition of Phillip’s hard work and academic excellence is another addition to an ever-growing list of awards.  

Designed to educate and train students in international affairs, the Rangel Program connects participants with both government and non-government professionals to prepare them for graduate and professional work in the field. The program invites young scholars to Howard University in Washington, D.C. where they take part in courses focusing on educating and training participants in U.S. foreign policy, economics, and the writing skills necessary to excel in foreign-policymaking and international affairs. In addition to a $3,300 stipend, the program covers tuition, travel, housing, and a portion of the scholars’ daily meals.  Looking forward to his time with the Rangel program Philip states: “I want to see how those professionals got where they are today so I can learn how to pursue the same path they did. I also want to learn more about the rhythm of their daily lives.” 

Phillip’s recent Gilman Scholarship and acceptance into the Rangel Program adds to his extensive list of academic achievements, awards, and scholarships. In the past, he has been selected for the a Funds for Education Abroad scholarship (2020), the Freeman-ASIA Scholarship (2020), and the Boren Scholarship (2020). These competitive scholarships are a testament to Phillip’s dedication and ambition. As further proof of Philip’s academic and personal attributes, he was one of the first two students from UNG to win a Funds for Education Abroad scholarship and one of only 124 students to win the award nationwide in 2020. He was also selected to receive a Gilman scholarship in 2019, but was unable to use it due to Covid-related travel restrictions. 

In 2020 when he received the Boren and the Freeman-ASIA scholarships, Phillip was looking forward to the opportunity to study in Japan. For Phillip, studying abroad in Japan was more than just a fulfillment of his degree requirements. The main reason he wished to study abroad then was “to learn more about…my target language, which is Japanese, and other opportunities such as meeting new people and making connections.” While COVID-19 restrictions made traveling abroad untenable at the time, Phillip was able to defer some of the funds from these scholarships. 

When not applying for and winning scholarships or working with the Georgia National Guard, Phillip strives to improve himself both mentally and physically. Now that he has graduated, Phillip intends to fulfill his duty as an officer in the Georgia National Guard while he begins to pursue a career in the Foreign Service, leveraging the skills and knowledge acquired through his language concentration in the Strategic and Security Studies program.