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Lee Sommerfeldt '18 Awarded Bridging Scholarship to Japan

Lee Sommerfeldt, from Sealy, Texas, a junior at Washington and Lee University, has received a Bridging Scholarship for Study Abroad in Japan and a Morgan Stanley Scholarship. He will be studying at International Christian University (I.C.U.) in Tokyo during the 2016-17 academic year.

The Bridging Project offers scholarships to American undergraduate students participating in study-abroad programs in Japan. Funding from private foundations and major U.S. corporations (including Morgan Stanley), through donations to the nonprofit U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, makes it possible to award these scholarships. Sommerfeldt will receive $2,500 from the Bridging Project.

Morgan Stanley supports the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation’s Bridging Project for Study Abroad in Japan. Morgan Stanley awards only two scholarships each year to students who have an interest in economics and international finance and who have been accepted for study in Japan. Sommerfeldt’s Morgan Stanley scholarship is for $7,500.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation and Morgan Stanley during my study abroad at International Christian University in Tokyo,” said Sommerfeldt. “During February break this year, I stayed on campus researching and writing the essay portion of the scholarship on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, so it’s a great feeling having my work be recognized.

“I’d like to acknowledge all the help I’ve received from Washington and Lee’s Japanese Department, including W&L professors Janet Ikeda and Yumiko Tashiro. Their advice has helped me develop my language skills and passion for Japanese culture. Mixing that with our excellent commerce school and the library’s resources, Washington and Lee has given me the skills to seamlessly apply liberal arts thinking to more concrete topics, such as the modern Japanese economy.”

A double major in business administration and East Asian languages and literatures (Japanese emphasis), Sommerfeldt is a member of the Venture Club, which not only promotes entrepreneurship but also helps students learn about start-up businesses in a hands-on environment. He also is a member of Sigma Nu fraternity and W&L Campus Kitchen, where he prepares and delivers meals. He also is a Kemper Scholar.

“I first met Lee when, as a first-year incoming advisee, he emailed me in the middle of the summer and asked what he could do to prepare for the first week of class of Beginning Japanese,” said Ikeda. “My recommendation was to master the first writing system of Japanese known as ‘hiragana.’ True to his word, Lee arrived on campus already having pushed himself to succeed. He is a deserving recipient of two scholarships that will aid his yearlong study at I.C.U. in Japan. We are especially proud to call him W&L’s first Morgan Stanley Scholarship winner.”