Samantha B. Bonar

Daisy Larios '07 has been named one of 18 winners of the Luce Scholars Program for 2011-2012. A history major, she is the 14th Luce Scholar from Occidental College since this prestigious award was initiated in 1974, and the College's third winner in three years.

Only three nominating institutions have had Luce Scholars for the last three years--Yale, Columbia, and Occidental. Jeremy Jangord '05, an artist working in the field of photography, spent his Luce year in Tokyo. Claire Markgraf '06 is currently at the Chinese Academy of Social Science in Beijing working in the field of urban redevelopment.

Like other Scholars honored by the Henry Luce Foundation, Larios will be placed in a major Asian city, connected to important institutions and people in her areas of interest, and given a year of financial and administrative support to cultivate her career. In Larios' case, that will be in libraries/archives, in line with her current job as the career and information services library assistant for Drexel University's Hagerty Library, where she co-founded the LibVid Awards blog with her colleagues. She will complete her master's in Library and Information Science (MLIS) degree at Drexel this June.

Larios hopes to be placed in Seoul. "South Korea has modernized at an incredibly rapid rate, and the speed and reach of their Internet far surpasses that of the U.S. At the same time, the government just opened a brand new National Digital Library and has announced the building of hundreds of new public libraries throughout the country," she said. "Exposure to the culture and environment that promotes this national prioritization of libraries and information would be fascinating and inspiring all in one breath."

"This is an extremely prestigious award. Daisy joins a very select group of leaders, each in their own career fields, and will have many opportunities to meet professionals in her field throughout Asia," said Dale Wright, professor of religious studies and chair of the Luce Scholars Program on campus.

A native of Inglewood, Larios was selected as a 2009 Spectrum Scholar by the American Library Assn., and is currently organizing an upcoming fundraiser for the Spectrum Scholarship program. She came to libraries by way of the Mellon Library Recruitment Program, a grant-funded program that awarded her an undergraduate internship experience, a post-baccalaureate Fellow position at Swarthmore College, and a graduate school scholarship. Her experience in the Getty Multicultural Internship Program after her sophomore year at Occidental also provided an initial entryway into the world of museums, libraries, and archives.

The selection of the 18 Luce Scholars for 2011-2012 concludes a rigorous interview process that began in November 2010 with the nomination of 151 candidates by 67 top colleges and universities. Their placements in Asia will be confirmed in May. The new Luce Scholars will undertake intensive summer language training in their individual placement country in Asia, following orientation in New York and San Francisco in late June.

The purpose of the Luce Scholars Program is to increase awareness of Asia among future leaders in American society. Luce Scholars have backgrounds in virtually all fields--other than Asian studies--including medicine, the arts, business, law, science, environmental studies, and journalism.

Because of its historic Presbyterian roots, Occidental's orientation toward Asia is a longstanding tradition. As early as 1910, when Ki Rhee Lee became the College's first Asian American graduate, almost 10 percent of alumni had foreign addresses, including China and Korea, nearly all reflecting missionary service. In 1916, Occidental hired its first Asian faculty member, K.S. Inui, to teach Japanese history, and entered into its first overseas study program with Hang Chou Christian College. Asian studies was first offered as a major at Occidental in 1991.