Holloman officer selected as Olmsted Scholar

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Heather Stanton
  • 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A Holloman officer will soon be leaving the Friendliest Place on Earth to become part of the elite Olmsted Scholar Program. 

Maj. Michael Cancellare, 49th Operations Support Squadron, has been selected as one of eight Air Force officers in the 2008 class of the Olmsted Scholar Program. 

"The Olmsted Scholar Program is a leadership program," said Major Cancellare. "It provides future leaders the cultural background to better understand our enemies and train and fight with our coalition partners." 

According to the Web site, www.olmstedfoundation.org, the Olmsted Scholar Program offers educational grants for two years of graduate study in a foreign language and other educational experiences in a foreign country. The Olmsted Scholars enroll as full-time students and study in a foreign language while interacting with the residents of the countries in which they are living. 

The Air Force scholars get training in the foreign language before leaving for the country at the Defense Language Institute either in Monterey, Ca., or Washington D.C., said Major Cancellare. 

Major Cancellare will go to one of these schools in the coming months to learn Turkish and then move to Turkey after the training. 

"When I get to Turkey, I will integrate into Turkish society as a student seeking a master's degree," he said. The major will be studying for a degree in economics.
While in Turkey, Major Cancellare will live on the Turkish economy and will receive grants for education and travel in order to get familiar with the country, he said. Also, he will be connected to United States embassies/consulates for necessary force protection and administrative purposes only. 

"In the military, when you are abroad, it is tough to be totally immersed in a different culture," said. Mrs. Nichole Cancellare, the major's wife and secretary for the Alamogordo Committee of 50. "You still work on an American base and mostly socialize with other Americans. It's really tough to learn the language fluently and understand the local customs and culture. With this program, you are isolated and forced out of your comfort zone to learn about a whole other world." 

Not only does Major Cancellare get training in the Turkish language, through the Olmsted Scholar Program, his wife will receive a grant in order to do so also.
"I hope to attend a language institute with my husband if they have the opening," said Mrs. Cancellare. "If not, I'll probably go with a tutor because I need to interact and ask questions in order to learn." 

While in Turkey, Mrs. Cancellare would like to attend school or teach English. 

"I am very excited about this experience," said Major Cancellare. "It is an excellent opportunity for me to develop my leadership skills, learn about a regional ally - Turkey - and learn more about America by viewing it from a foreign perspective."