Josh Lipscomb ’24 has spent this year rehearsing for next year.
Lipscomb, a philosophy and Spanish double major from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, has been studying in Spain since August. Next year he’ll travel to Mexico and Peru as Wofford’s 2023-24 Presidential International Scholar.
“This is an amazing opportunity, and I’m very thankful,” says Lipscomb. “I was blown away when President Samhat said he’d like to offer me the scholarship.”
Each year Wofford’s Presidential International Scholar is selected by the college’s president as “the student most likely to make a difference in the future.” The scholarship rewards students who have shown a passion for service learning and global intellectual curiosity with the funding to conduct independent research in non-traditional locations around the world.
In his research, Lipscomb will take a qualitative approach to better understanding the influence — both positive and negative — tourism can have on individuals and communities. Through extensive interviews, he hopes to learn what travel and tourism mean in the places he visits and to the people who live there. His goal is to determine ways to support these communities, minimizing harm, and ethically and responsibly preserving and celebrating their culture.
“Being abroad this year, I’ve been cognizant of my impact and how I might be seen by locals,” says Lipscomb. “I want to immerse myself in the places I’ll be going to and invest in the culture and people there. A big part of the project will be truly seeing if tourism is a part of someone’s livelihood or if it has a detrimental impact.”
Samhat says he’s looking forward to seeing Lipscomb’s project develop.
“Josh Lipscomb is thoughtful and inquisitive,” Samhat says. “He has a desire to understand and to lead others to think about how they impact the people and communities they engage with when traveling. We are proud to have him represent Wofford College and look forward to learning more about his research and experiences when he returns to campus.”
Lipscomb says he’s already thinking about the best way to showcase his research when he returns to Wofford. He’s recently discovered analog photography, so that could play a role. Or he could do a documentary-style video.
“It will evolve as it happens,” Lipscomb says, “but the visual component is going to be important.”
Amy Lancaster, dean of international programs, says Lipscomb’s project could result in creating a roadmap for future Wofford travelers.
“I think his research has lots of potential for future study abroad students and program leaders, particularly as we’re seeing shorter trips becoming more popular nationally, but also witnessing a growing interest in issues of social justice and equity among undergraduates,” Lancaster says.