Jacob Ledbetter, a sophomore at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded a prestigious William Jefferson Clinton Scholarship.
Ledbetter, a 19-year-old from Cullman, Ala., and member of the UAB Global and Community Leadership Honors Program, will work to gain a global perspective on renewable energy efforts as a Clinton scholar at the American University in Dubai. He leaves Sept. 1, 2012.
“I will be enrolled in the GCL service learning course online while I am in Dubai. One component of the course is to volunteer in the community for 30 to 40 hours during the semester,” says Ledbetter. “I’m hoping to volunteer with a group that focuses on environmental aspects so I can learn firsthand from initiatives in the Dubai area and gain a broader understanding of renewable energy and the environmental movement around the world as a whole.”
The Clinton Foundation selects up to 10 U.S. citizen students to study in Dubai each semester. The program is designed to expose students to culture in the Middle East and it places an emphasis on students who are interested in being exposed to the Arab world for the first time.
Ledbetter recently was selected for the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship Program. He will spend this summer studying the Korean language and culture at Chonbuk University in Jeonju, South Korea. He will return to the United States in mid-August and leave for Dubai two weeks later and remain there until December.
“It definitely will be a crazy few months,” says Ledbetter. “I would rather the opportunities be spaced out a little more, but with opportunities this big you can’t dictate the timing and there is no way I would turn down these opportunities of a lifetime.”
Ledbetter is an economics major but that may change as his education progresses. He, along with his advisor Laura Tull, is working to propose a new major for the UAB Collat School of Business. The new degree, if approved, would be the economics of renewable energy.
“I read recently that by the year 2050, 40 to 70 percent of energy will come from renewable sources, whether they are solar or bio,” says Ledbetter. “Renewable energy is something that will be an emerging industry and will power the economy with a lot of job opportunities, so it makes perfect sense for UAB to be the education leader for the future. I hope I can help the effort.”