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Cadet 1st Class Jeremy Jacobellis will pursue two years of graduate studies at Exeter College at Oxford University in Oxford, England, as the recipient of the 2017 Holaday Scholarship.
Bart Holaday ‘65, a Rhodes Scholar graduate of Exeter College, created the scholarship with his late wife, Lynn, to provide a deserving Academy cadet with the same educational opportunity he benefited from as a young man.
Jacobellis is completing a double major at the Air Force Academy in foreign area studies (Africa) with a focus on political science and humanities. After he graduates in May, Jacobellis will move to Oxford to begin a two-year master’s program.
“Thanks to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Bart Holaday, I will pursue a master’s in modern Middle Eastern studies with a focus on the Maghreb region of Africa,” Jacobellis said. “This program is a two-year research program which will enable me to continue my studies of Francophone Africa and begin learning Arabic. I intend to write my thesis on the evolving notions of Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism in Morocco.
“I am thrilled to have been afforded such an amazing opportunity out of all of the distinguished and competitive candidates,” Jacobellis said. “I am eager to immerse myself in British culture and learn as much as possible from the very international community that Oxford University welcomes to its campus. I am particularly excited to learn about the British discourse on African affairs and the colonial legacy since this discourse differs greatly from that of the United States.”
Jacobellis also received a Stamps Leadership Scholars award that enabled him to travel twice to Senegal, West Africa, to expand his research on the culture and history of nations in Francophone Africa.
“Without the Stamps Leadership Scholars Program I really wouldn’t have been able to do much of my research and present it, which was an amazing experience,” Jacobellis said.
Jacobellis’ also conducted research on the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau for an Academy class: A History of African Warfare and Society. He presented the findings of his research at a University of Wisconsin African Studies conference and again for cadets at the Air Force Academy.
Jacobellis is looking forward to traveling to Africa and doing further research as part of his Oxford studies.
“In terms of travel and research opportunities, the master’s in Modern Middle Eastern Studies program helps organize personalized summer trips for each student in their focus region in order to reinforce language learning and allow in-country research time,” Jacobellis said. “Therefore, I intend to conduct research in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria on Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism during the colonial era, all the while continuing my studies of French and Arabic.”
Jacobellis’ Academy education, international experience and future research at Oxford are all part of a larger plan.
“My solid foundation in African Studies, both sub-Saharan at the Academy and North African in graduate school, will be indispensable for my career aspirations,” Jacobellis said. “I hope to assert myself as one of the central Africa area specialists in the Air Force by leveraging my regional expertise as a public affairs officer, in which capacity I would be able to practice public diplomacy abroad, and later as a regional affairs specialist (RAS). RAS officers are crucial military representatives present in most American embassies and military geographic commands throughout the world.”