Olivia Blackmon is a junior from Martin Luther King Academic Magnet High School (Nashville, TN) majoring in International Affairs, Spanish, and the Chinese Flagship Program. She first became interested in the beauty of the Chinese language and culture in 7th grade, and since then her interest for global affairs has skyrocketed. She was able to visit China through the Confucius Institute Summer Camp program which was her first step in working towards her goal of becoming a diplomat.
A strong Chinese program and East Asian focus in International Affairs were among the reasons why Olivia chose to attend WKU. She says that “having Dr. Rich as a resource is like nothing I could have ever asked for. Knowing someone in the department with so much on-the-ground experience in the region is mind-boggling. He’s always showing us the research opportunities out there, and even publishing with us -- something I thought impossible for new students.”
In addition to participating in the Confucius Institute Summer Camps, Olivia was able to compete in the 12th Annual China Bridge Secondary School Chinese International Finals in China last year. In addition to winning awards in Mandarin essay competitions the past 3 years, she has also been able to start teaching Korean language through the Korean Pop Culture Club on campus. She is able to incorporate her experiences from visiting Korea through the National Defense Security Council under the NSLI-y Korea program.
Despite an impressive list of accomplishments, there is more that Olivia wants to do. She is also hoping to take part in the Rangel Summer Program in addition to the Chinese Flagship Capstone Year. Once she is finished with her time on the Hill, Olivia would like to work for the U.S. Foreign Service.