Ian Rawlings ’25 awarded Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service
Ian Rawlings ’25, a history major and theater minor in the museum studies certificate program, has been selected as part of the 2023-2025 cohort of Voyager Scholarship/Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service recipients.
President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Airbnb cofounder and CEO Brian Chesky created the innovative scholarship in 2022. It combines financial aid, travel opportunities and mentorship to support the next generation of public service leaders. The Obamas and Chesky believe that exposure to new places and experiences generates understanding, empathy and cooperation, which equips the next generation to create meaningful change.
“I’m excited by the privilege of being selected,” said Rawlings, who is from East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and interned this summer as an archivist at Wistariahurst Museum in nearby Holyoke, where he worked on an exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the city’s Anniversary Hill Park. He hopes to continue working in museums.
He said, “This scholarship will allow me to focus on creating inclusive museum experiences to build bridges for neurodiverse people to empower all members of the community to participate in and enjoy our rich history and culture while I continue to study at Connecticut College. I’m proud to be part of that and can’t wait to make a difference in my community. I’m looking forward to learning from the many public service leaders who are part of this innovative program.”
The two-year program is open to students entering their junior year at an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. who have demonstrated a financial need, and who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents or DACA recipients.
An inspiring group of young people eager to bridge divides and take on the world’s biggest challenges, the 2023-2025 cohort of 100 Voyagers represents 74 colleges and universities in 33 states and territories.
Students will receive up to $25,000 per year in “last dollar” financial aid for their junior and senior years of college, with the goal of alleviating the burden of college debt so that they can afford to pursue a career in public service.
Students will also receive a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing to pursue a summer work-travel experience between their junior and senior year of college. The students will design their own Summer Voyage to gain exposure to new communities and experience in a chosen field. They are invited to an annual Fall Summit to help define and inspire their public service journey. This year’s summit will take place in November.
Throughout the program, students will be invited to an ongoing speaker series, giving them access to a network of leaders who will expose them to new areas of service and innovations happening in their fields.
After graduation, they will join the Obama Foundation’s global community, providing them with Foundation resources and programming.