Hamline student Naomi Breazeale

Hamline Student Receives Obama-Chesky Scholarship

A Hamline University student was selected as an inaugural recipient of the Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service this month.

Naomi Breazeale ’24 joins 99 other students from across the country as the first cohort of Voyagers – young leaders selected to bridge divides and help solve the world’s greatest challenges together.

The scholarship, created by President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, exposes students to new places and experiences to help generate understanding, empathy and cooperation which equips the next generation to create meaningful change.

“As a Voyager, I will have the opportunity to expand my horizons with meaningful travel experiences, to support my education at Hamline University and to gain access to an incredible network of mentors and leaders who will support me throughout my public service journey for the next two years and beyond,” Breazeale said.

The scholarship provides students with up to $50,000 in financial aid, a $10,000 stipend and free Airbnb housing to pursue a summer work-travel experience between their junior and senior year of college.

Breazeale, a global studies and Spanish double major, with minors in religion and anthropology, plans to use the scholarship’s travel benefits to expand on research opportunities she is currently pursuing at Hamline.

This summer, Breazeale participated in an undergraduate collaborative research program with Dr. Mark Berkson, studying the experience of religious minorities in Costa Rica. Breazeale is studying abroad in Costa Rica this fall semester, with plans to delve deeper into the research.

"Costa Rica is a really interesting case study on religious minorities, so that is a side-project on top of my studies this fall,” she said.

For her Voyager project next summer, Breazeale is interested in fleshing out her religious minorities studies by visiting a Latin American country that is more hostile toward minorities. She's also considering traveling to Israel to study the experience of non-orthodox Jews.

"Into the future at Hamline, I have my past project, my fall plans in Costa Rica and then completing whatever Voyage I plan to do and turning it into a departmental honors project,” Breazeale said. “It could be a great writing sample for graduate school or a great thing to talk about on a future resume. It's all really exciting."

After graduation, Airbnb will provide Breazeale with a $2,000 travel credit every year for 10 years, totaling $20,000. Additionally, Breazeale is invited to a summit in New York City this fall, where she will have the opportunity to connect with her fellow Voyagers, Chesky and President Obama.