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Student Wins Scholarship to Study Russian Innovation Policy

Jonathan Askonsas (SFS’13)

Jonathan Askonas (SFS’13) stands on campus at St. Petersburg State University in Russia, where he studied abroad.

April 13, 2012 – A Georgetown student plans to use the competitive Beinecke Scholarship he just won to study the history of innovation policy in Russia since the early days of the Cold War.

Jonathan Askonas (SFS’13) is one of only 20 students nationwide to receive the scholarship.  

Askonas says the scholarship will help him explore the intersection of three of his favorite passions – technology, revolution and the former Soviet Union.

Supporting Innovation

“Technological innovation has radically altered our society over the past century, and government support of research has played a big part in that,” Askonas says. “I want to contribute to better, more robust government support of innovation, both here and abroad.”

Beinecke winners receive $4,000 before entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while pursuing graduate studies.

The competitive scholarship is awarded annually to juniors of “exceptional promise” to pursue a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities or social sciences.

Greater Freedom

“Continuing my education has always held great appeal to me – the more I learn, the more I wish to keep learning and exploring,” says Askonas, an international politics major. “The Beinecke Scholarship means greater freedom to choose the best program based on its merits, not its financial aid. I was extremely humbled to be selected, and I owe a special thanks to Georgetown.”

John Glavin, a Georgetown English professor and director of the Office of Fellowships, Awards and Research for Undergraduates, says Askonsas “possesses genuine kindness, warmth, generosity, discipline and keen intelligence.”

“With Jon, inevitably thinking becomes acting, learning leads to doing,” Glavin adds.  “He devours philosophy, but even the most densely theoretical texts will lead him back into, and acting on, the world.”

More than 100 U.S. colleges and universities nominated students for the award.

This is the second year in a row that a Georgetown student has won a Beinecke Scholarship. Michael Murto (C’12) won the scholarship last year.h

Walsh exchange

The John Carroll Fellow, who speaks Russian and French, serves on the SFS Academic Council and is a member of the Philodemic Society.

This past summer, he founded The Walsh Exchange, an undergraduate academic conference focused on international affairs research, for which he raised over $10,000 of support.  The Walsh Exchange will hold its first conference this spring.

The conference is named for Edmund Walsh, S.J., who founded Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in 1919.

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