2015 Merit Scholarship Recipients

AAFSW is pleased to announce the winners of our 2015 Merit Scholarships.

High School/Gap Year Merit Scholarship

The AAFSW High School/Gap Year Merit Scholarship ($2,000) was awarded to Patrick Odlum, son of Geoff and Jennifer Odlum. This award honors an outstanding high school senior or gap year student.

Patrick Odlum is a graduate of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia. Patrick’s previous postings include Vienna, Austria and Istanbul, Turkey.

Patrick was an active member of his school community. He was senior captain of the varsity track and cross-country teams, President of the Washington-Lee Science Club, W-L Student Ambassador and was a member of the National Honor Society. Outside of school, Patrick is an Eagle Scout and has volunteered with the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Foreign Service Youth Foundation.

Patrick will follow both his older brother and his love of science next year by attending Virginia Tech’s Honors Program in Engineering.

College Merit Scholarship


The AAFSW College Merit Scholarship ($2,000) was awarded to Meredith Hilton, daughter of Olivia and Robert Hilton. This award recognizes an outstanding student currently enrolled in college.
Meredith Hilton is a sophomore Computer Science major at Columbia University, focusing on vision and graphics. She freelances as a website designer and developer, and is on the board of Women in Computer Science where she organizes the mentorship program, coding circles, and other community events. When not coding, Meredith is deeply engaged in activism on campus and in New York City. She is the president of the Columbia Queer Alliance, co-chair of Columbia’s Queer Awareness Month, and a member of Students for Justice in Palestine. She also mentors both queer freshmen and freshmen women in computer science. In her downtime, Meredith likes to stand in long lines for free tickets to shows, go to museums, and café-hop.

Judy Felt Memorial Volunteerism Scholarship

The Judy Felt Memorial Volunteerism Scholarship ($1,000) has been awarded to Kendall Thompson, daughter of Dean and Jane Thompson. This award, which was created to honor the late Art & BookFair Chair Judy Felt, honors a student with an exceptional record of community service.

Kendall Thompson is transferring to Ohio State in the fall from a small school in Virginia. She has moved on average every two years and has lived in Bangladesh, Paraguay, Sri Lanka, America, India, Malaysia, and Romania. She loves traveling and hopes to keep it a part of her life after leaving college. She has played sports her whole life, mostly soccer, but she also loves surfing and volleyball. Kendall is a Sociology major, with a minor in Religions and Philosophy.
Kendall was awarded the Judy Felt Memorial Scholarship due to her many hours of volunteering in a variety of activities, both in the U.S. and overseas. These activities include working as an early intervention specialist, advocating for victims of sexual assault in India, helping the homeless with Link of Hampton Roads, and serving as a kindergarten teacher’s volunteer assistant.

Best Essay Award


The AAFSW Best Essay Award ($500) was awarded to Sofia Tipton, daughter of Bernadita and Joseph Tipton. This award honors a student for writing an outstanding essay on how growing up in a Foreign Service family has affected plans for college, work and/or life. In her essay, Sofia wrote of the challenges and benefits of growing up with frequent moves, and describes her year-long “total immersion” experience as the only non-Korean student in a South Korean school.

Sofia Tipton is a graduate of Fairfax High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Sofia learned Danish during three years at the Copenhagen International School, improved her Spanish during five years at The International Preparatory School of Santiago, Chile, and learned Korean during her freshman and sophomore years at Fairfax High School. As a National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholar, she spent her entire junior year in South Korea at the Iksan High School for Girls where she was the only non-Korean student. Sofia was recently named a Presidential Scholar upon completing her sophomore year at Northern Virginia Community College and will be transferring to the College of William and Mary in the fall of 2015, where she plans to double major in Anthropology and Linguistics.

Sofia has been an active member of the City of Fairfax community, volunteering at the Sunrise Assisted Living Center and working a part-time job at Office Depot. She continues taking classes in Korean martial arts and piano. Her hobbies are reading, dancing, and character animation. Sofia returned to South Korea this summer for 10 weeks of intensive language and cultural studies as a 2015 Critical Language Scholarship student.