Join FSYF6




Support FS Youth

Your donation will allow FSYF to provide programs, awards, events, and support to empower FS youth worldwide.


CFC number 39436 - Donate to FSYF
Foreign Service
Youth Foundation

FSYF Academic Merit Award

Growing up in the Foreign Service may be exciting but it isn't always easy. FS children face many challenges and disruptions to their lives. Overcoming those challenges and achieving academic success is admirable. FSYF celebrates the academic achievements of its youth members and supports their future academic goals.

Since 2010, FSYF has been recognizing Foreign Service High school Seniors and Gap-Year dependents for their outstanding achievements through the FSYF Academic Merit Award.

2018 FSYF Academic Merit Award 

A one time first place prize of $4,000 and a second place prize of $2,000 will be awarded in 2018. High school seniors and gap year dependents whose families are members of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) are eligible to apply. (Verify FSYF member eligibility and join FSYF here.) 

Judging: Judging panels are composed of members of the FSYF Board of Directors and volunteers from the Foreign Service Community.

Deadline: Applications will be due on February 5, 2018.

Notification: Applicants will be notified by email of the results by mid April 2018. Awards will be bestowed in July 2018 at the FSYF Youth Awards Ceremony at the US Department of State. 

2017 Awards 

FSYF is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Academic Merit Award, sponsored by STG.  FSYF received applications from 30 extraordinary Foreign Service high school seniors who epitomize high standards, strong will, and determination to achieve in the midst of the trials of a globally mobile youth.  Three applicants stood out based on their academic achievements, extra curricular activities, and personal essay submissions.  The winners will be honored at the annual Youth Awards Ceremony at the Department of State's 
George C. Marshall Auditorium in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2017.  

Isaac Burkhalter

Isaac Burkhalter is the First Place recipient of FSYF's Academic Merit Award, with a cash prize of $4,000.  Isaac Burkhalter graduated from Saint Maur International School in Tokyo, Japan.  He will attend the University of Virginia in the fall where he plans to study Physics or Engineering.  Isaac is a Washington Wizards fan, so he may have an opportunity to attend a game this season when he’s not attending games at UVA.  Isaac balances out his academics with sports and music.

Vidalia Freeman

Vidalia Freeman tied for Second Place  as FSYF's Academic Merit Award recipient and will receive $2,000.  Vidalia Freeman graduated from the American School of Doha this year and will attend Utah State University this fall.  She plans to study Economics and Actuarial Science.  Vidalia grew up in England and Wyoming and has been posted to Brasilia and Doha.  Vidalia enjoys reading, piano, and keeping her Portuguese sharp in her spare time.

Marianna Karagiannis

Marianna Karagiannis tied for Second Place as FSYF's Academic Merit Award recipient.  She will also be awarded $2,000.  Marianna graduated from Jeb Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia.    She will attend the University of Chicago and likely pursue a degree in Physics with a concentration in Astrophysics or Geophysical sciences.  This NASA hopeful enjoys ballet, volunteering with the Key Club, and participating in Science Olympiad and Quiz Bowl.  Marianna’s biggest challenge may be smuggling her pet guinea pig, Cocoa, into her dorm room this fall!

Everyone associated with FSYF, STG, the Family Liaison Office and the Department of State congratulates these 2017 Academic Merit Award Recipients, as well as the other impressive Foreign Service youth who submitted applications. 

The Award

The first-place recipient will receive a one-time only prize of $4,000. The second-place recipient will receive a one-time only prize of $2,000. 


High School seniors and gap-year dependents of Foreign Service employees are invited to apply.  Please note that FSYF membership is required by the time of application.  

The children of FSYF Board Members and Advisory Council are not eligible to apply for this award.

Application deadline: February 5, 2018

FSYF is required by law to report awards over $600. There is no requirement that this award be used for college-related expenses.  See for more information.

 Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF)

PO Box 50663   Arlington, VA   22205


 © 2014 Foreign Service Youth Foundation

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software