Alumnus Receives Robertson Fellowship to Study Pacific International Affairs at UC San Diego


MACON – Mercer University alumnus Adriel Taslim has received a Robertson Fellowship to pursue a master's degree at the University of California, San Diego.

Taslim, from Redding, California, studied in Mercer's renowned Robert McDuffie Center for Strings in the Townsend School of Music. He earned his bachelor's degree summa cum laude in May 2014 with majors in violin performance and French. Additionally, he minored in Asian studies, earned University Honors and departmental honors in French, and was a finalist for both Marshall and Fulbright scholarships.

He has spent the past year teaching in Thailand with Service First, a program based in Mercer's Institute of Life Purpose that offers graduates the opportunity to engage in meaningful service that allows them to travel and significantly help others before attending graduate school or entering their chosen profession.

“Adriel's accomplishments are astonishing. He was the first Marshall finalist in the University's history, and he was a Fulbright finalist twice. The Robertson Fellowship, however, is a perfect fit for his goals,” said Dr. David A. Davis, director of fellowships and scholarships and associate professor of English. “His success illustrates that an ambitious Mercer student can accomplish anything.”

Taslim will be pursuing a Master of Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) degree in UC San Diego's School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. This two-year, full-time professional degree program prepares students to specialize in business, politics, economics, development or public policy in the Pacific region. In addition to the selected career track, the curriculum also includes a country/regional specialization. Taslim's specializations will be public policy and Southeast Asia, as he aspires to work for the U.S. Foreign Service in Asia.

“I'm very grateful to have received this opportunity from the Robertson Foundation for Government,” he said. “I hope to reinforce my substantial personal experiences in Asia with the top-notch academic knowledge offered at UC San Diego in order equip myself for future government service. Above all, I want to help fulfill the foundation's vision for a government led by the most talented and knowledgeable of the coming generations.”

While at Mercer, Taslim was heavily involved in international programs and campus organizations, including French club Le Cercle Français, the German Club and Mercer International Affairs Organization. He was also a founding member of Mercer Asian Society and Interest Association (ASIA). He received awards for academic and general excellence in music, as well as the University's L.P. Irvin Award for Outstanding Achievement in Foreign Language for his studies in French, Mandarin, German and Italian.

The Robertson Foundation for Government (RFFG) is a nonprofit family foundation dedicated to helping government meet its talent needs by identifying, educating and motivating top U.S. graduate students to pursue federal government careers in foreign policy, national security and international affairs.

The Robertson Fellows program, begun in 2010, awards full scholarships and internship stipends to graduate students at select partner universities. In return, these students agree to work for the federal government for a minimum of three of their first seven years after graduation.