A West Virginia University student will spend a year in Scotland, working on a graduate degree and sharing his knowledge of human rights after winning a Rotary International Foundation scholarship.

Joshua Austin, a senior political science and journalism major from Grafton, has been awarded the 2008-09 Rotary International District 7530 Ambassadorial Scholarship.

Valued at up to $23,000, the scholarship provides funding for tuition and fees, room and board, transportation and educational supplies for one year of study abroad. Austin plans to use the opportunity to work on his masters degree in international politics at the University of Glascow beginning in September.

This means more to me that any other scholarship or honor that Ive received,he said.I now have the opportunity to attend one of the best universities in the world, which has a world-renowned program focusing on Russia and Eastern Europe politics, a specialized part of my graduate work.

The Rotary scholarship is intended to increase international goodwill and understanding among countries. During his time abroad, Austin will work as an ambassador for Rotary, participating in service projects and speaking to Rotary clubs, schools and other civic organizations. When he returns to the U.S., he will share his experiences with local Rotary clubs.

Were very proud of Josh for receiving the prestigious Rotary scholarship,said Maryanne Reed, dean of the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism.Josh is an excellent student with a very bright future, and Im sure he will make the most of this opportunity, which will give him a global perspective.

As part of his ambassadorial efforts, Austin plans to teach a class to educate Rotarians in Scotland about human rights issues and international affairs. He helped establish a similar class in WVU s Department of Political Science.

It will be a basic introduction to human rights matters,Austin said.The course focuses on the most pressing issues in the world today including genocide, child soldiers and famine. What I hope people will take from the class is that each individual has certain rights as a human that are inalienable and must be protected.

Robert DiClerico, Eberly Professor of Political Science at WVU , said Austin has taken advantage of learning opportunities available to him both in and outside the classroombe it travel abroad opportunities to several countries and writing for respected newspapers and magazines within our stateto helping to teach a class on human rights and reading every serious book and magazine he can get hold of. His intellectual development over the course of these past four years has been all that one would hope for in a student.

Austin hopes to become a foreign correspondent for a newspaper or magazinepreferably in Moscow. He has already gained valuable experience in journalism and advocacy efforts. He is a founding member of Students Unite for Human Rights, a WVU student organization focused on preserving and advocating for international human rights.

He is also a contributing reporter for The Dominion Post, Wonderful West Virginia magazine and TheScoop08.com, a nonpartisan, student-run political Web site covering the 2008 presidential campaign.

Austins honors include the Ronald E. McNair Scholarship (2005-08); Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship (2006-07, 2007-08); Robert E. DiClerico Scholarship in Democratic Institutions and Public Leadership (2007-08); Harry C. Hamm Family Scholarship and Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund Scholarship (2005-08).