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Turning passion into a career through the Lincoln Scholarship

By Brittany Beyer

November 24, 2015

In first, second, and third grades, most students are learning basic reading and writing skills. Taylor Kloha? She was taking French. She was hungry for challenge even then, and was passionate about different languages.

“I’ve definitely had the language interest since I was little,” she said. “My favorite tape in elementary school was one that featured a song from just about every major language. To this day I could sing you something in Swedish. I also took French in first through third grade before beginning to study Latin in middle school.”

As time went on and Taylor began thinking about college, she decided to major in linguistics and started the application process. 

Pursuing opportunity

“I found out about the Lincoln Scholarship when I found out about Carthage, at a Lutheran college fair my junior year in high school,” she said. The Lincoln Scholarship is the most prestigious award in the Presidential Scholarship Program and covers full tuition, room, and board for four consecutive years of undergraduate study. 

The Lincoln Scholarship

Three full-tuition Lincoln Scholarships (valued at more than $200,000 each) are awarded to incoming Carthage students every year. To compete, admitted students must submit a Presidential Scholarship application by Dec. 3.

Taylor remembers opening the award letter notifying her that she won the scholarship at her kitchen table. “The emotion I felt most strongly was relief. The Lincoln Scholarship has freed my family and me from a tremendous financial burden, and has allowed me to pursue so many opportunities that I would otherwise have been unable to afford.”

Upon coming to Carthage, Taylor heard of the Great Ideas program and decided to study the major and pick up a Japanese minor. Since then, she has taken part in two J-Term trips to Guatemala and Japan.

“These trips have been some of the most significant pieces of my Carthage education, and I would not have been able to take advantage of them if I had not been awarded the scholarship. J-Term trips, at the risk of sounding cliché, provide an opportunity to move outside of your comfort zone and experience a tiny part of the incredible diversity the world contains. The most tangible benefit from my trips was how history became present reality for me. I was forced to question some of my habitual attitudes and develop ideas about things I had never considered before. In a way, these trips were like live-stream action versions of what I do when I interact with texts in my Great Ideas classes.”

Her full scholarship also meant she could afford to attend summer linguistic institutes in Canada and at the University of Chicago.

Looking ahead

After Carthage, Taylor hopes to teach English in the Czech Republic through a Fulbright Fellowship. She is also applying to a variety of graduate programs to study philosophy with the goal of earning her Ph.D. and ultimately working as a philosophy professor.

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities to deepen my experience in [philosophy]. There is something so rewarding about grappling with the most fundamental questions — What is beauty? What is meaning? What does it mean to be a good person? — and about investigating how great thinkers have dealt with the same questions. I can think of nothing I’d rather do than introduce people to these works and ideas, and help them personally experience what makes them great.”

Looking back on her Carthage experience, Taylor says she can’t imagine spending her undergraduate years anywhere else. “I’ve traveled the world, met amazing friends and incredible mentors, and pushed myself to develop my passions in just about every way imaginable. I’ve grown so much during my time here, and I can’t even imagine who I would be if it weren’t for the experiences I have had as a Carthaginian.” 


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