Seeking nominations for the 2020 ASU MLK Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award

August 30, 2019

Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, Arizona State University vice president for cultural affairs and ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. committee chair, is soliciting nominations for the 2020 ASU Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Student Servant-Leadership Award. This year’s theme is “We are all connected.”

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will present a Servant-Leadership Award to an ASU student at the MLK Breakfast on Jan. 23, 2020 at the Polytechnic campus.  Download Full Image

Servant-leadership is a practical philosophy that supports people who choose to serve first and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening and the ethical use of power and empowerment.

The committee requests the help of the ASU community in identifying a student servant-leadership awardee. The student must be currently enrolled full time, exemplify the ideals of servant-leadership and have a track record of commitment through volunteer service. A candidate may submit his or her resume with this form. Letters of recommendation are acceptable, but no more than two. Self-nominations are encouraged.

The ASU MLK Jr. Committee will provide a $1,500 scholarship to the awardee to be used toward his or her educational costs. This scholarship is available to ASU full-time undergraduate or graduate students. The winner must be a full-time student during the spring 2020 semester.

All applications will be reviewed and three finalists will be selected. Finalists will have 30-minute interviews with the committee on Friday, Oct. 18. Finalists will be contacted for their interview. The awardee must be able to attend the breakfast on Jan. 23.

Nominate yourself or another student.

Please submit this nomination by close of business on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Scan and e-mail to Michelle Johnson at with the subject line: 2020 MLK Student Nomination – Last name of candidate.

Marketing assistant, ASU Gammage

Scholarship helps ASU student explore Balkan roots

August 30, 2019

Marija Drozdek always had a strong passion for languages and cultures. This passion coupled with her family’s Balkan roots led to her studying abroad.

The hurdle for the political science major at Arizona State University was the cost. Fortunately, she found the perfect resource in the Melikian Center for Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies. ASU political science major Marija Drozdek during her time in Bosnia Marija Drozdek. Download Full Image

The Melikian Center, directed by School of Politics and Global Studies Professor Keith Brown, advances innovative use-inspired research and teaching on the languages, societies and geopolitics of greater Eurasia. The center also sponsors the Critical Languages Institute.

Drozdek was the recipient of the Hastings Award, just one of the many scholarships that the Melikian Center offers. This award supports students who are interested in learning less-commonly known languages who aim to pursue a career in international affairs or business.

With aspirations of a future career as a diplomat, this opportunity was exactly what Drozdek was looking for. With this scholarship she would get to travel to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia.

“Thanks to the Melikian Center, I had the chance to connect to my roots and speak the language with others besides my family,” said Drozdek, whose family immigrated from Serbia.

During her time in Bosnia, Drozdek’s Serb-Croatian significantly improved, thanks not only to intensive language classes but also day-to-day conversations.

Besides her family’s background, Sarajevo was the ideal location for Drozdek because she was attracted to the mix of cultures from the East and West. Sarajevo, according to Drozdek, showed every phase of Balkan history from the Ottoman style, to the Austrian-Hungarian phase, to the more recent modern buildings.

Traveling to Sarajevo provided Drozdek with the opportunity to better understand the current political and social environment of the Balkans. The regional conflict, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is her main source of inspiration to one day becoming a diplomat.

Her interest in politics was sparked during her first semester when she took a course on globalization and international relations. This class helped Drozdek realize how “essential and fascinating” politics can be.

“My degree in political science has given me the tools to be culturally aware and able to function in a multicultural world,” Drozdek said.

Being born in the United States and raised in a Serbian household, Drozdek was unsure how she would fit in during her time abroad. However, it ended up being a fulfilling, life-changing experience.

“This scholarship was one of the best gifts I have received in my life,” she said. “I feel so much more confident in my dream to help give back to the region that has helped shape me.”

This is just one of the many experiences offered through the ASU Study Abroad Office, which has 250-plus programs in more than 65 different countries.

Matt Oxford

Manager of marketing and communications, School of Politics and Global Studies