Life after SCIO

Life after SCIO: alumna reads for MPhil at Oxford

We are delighted by the news that Marianna Nichols (Michaelmas Term, 2016) has accepted an offer to read for an MPhil in Roman History at St Cross College, Oxford.

A native of Iuka, Mississippi, Marianna completed her undergraduate degree in History and Religious Studies at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. Following her graduation from Judson, Marianna enrolled as a graduate student at Cornell University, where she read for an MA in Archaeology. Concerning her research interests, she writes:
Currently, I am interested in Graeco-Roman influences within Judaea during the first century CE and their effects upon localized identity formation. I am also intrigued by the alternative roles taken by textual and material expression within identity construction. While at Oxford I hope to acquire a greater understanding of how Roman politics, and perspectives, historically impacted self-perception within outlying regions of the Empire. My ultimate goal is to specialize in Classical Archaeology and teach at the collegiate level back in the states.
Remembering her time at SCIO, Marianna writes:
I participated in SCIO during my final year as an undergraduate, and I cannot express how positive the experience was for both my personal and academic development. Though I always planned on attending graduate school, I am certain that without my experience with SCIO I would not now be enrolled at Oxford. However, SCIO also provided me with a truly supportive academic environment that has fundamentally influenced the way I understand “community.”  The programme gave me an opportunity to form close bonds with a diverse range of academically-inclined individuals. Some of these individuals remain among my closest friends and have been a true source of inspiration within my current academic efforts. I am thankful that this programme exists [...]

By |October 12th, 2018|Life after SCIO, News|0 Comments|

Life after SCIO: alumna to read for MLitt at St Andrews

SCIO is pleased by the news that alumna Jen Schmidt (Michaelmas Term, 2016) has been accepted to study for an MLitt at the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts (ITIA) at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Jen, who was a Creative Writing major at Biola University in La Mirada, California, remembers that she had ‘no thoughts of grad school’ when she arrived in Oxford at the beginning of the fall semester of her senior year. Her desire simply to ‘escape to the mountains to write’ took a dramatic turn, however, upon encountering the lively academic atmosphere of Oxford; she writes:
During a tea at Wycliffe, I met and spoke with Dr. Michael Burdett, who, after a conversation on heroic literature, C.S. Lewis, and medieval theology, recommended that I look into ITIA — the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, a postgraduate program at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Encouraged by my tutor, Dr. Jonathan Thorpe, and my insightful Oxford friends, I ended up applying and am now an MLitt student with the program for the 2018-2019 academic year.
Regarding her research interests, Jen writes:
Even though my passion lies specifically in writing fiction and poetry, there is much to be learned from the stories that continue to influence our culture over the centuries, and much to be learned from how theology has both shaped and been shaped by stories of heroism. Our perception of heroes is simultaneously fluctuating and static, and literature is a beautiful medium for conveying, celebrating, and critiquing that perception.
Though Jen is now two years removed from her time at SCIO, her experience of Oxford remains significant:
During SCIO, I was able to explore my interest [...]

By |October 12th, 2018|Life after SCIO, News|0 Comments|

Life after SCIO: alumnus wins Fulbright scholarship

SCIO is delighted by the news that alumnus Stanley Schwarz (Oxford Summer Programme, 2017), a native of Noblesville, Indiana, has been awarded a Fulbright postgraduate scholarship to conduct research at the Australian National University.

Concerning his research, Stanley writes:
I am currently a Fulbright postgraduate scholar in Canberra, researching the Australian Labor Party, 1910-1925, and the political, intellectual, and legal currents which shaped it and the Socialist movement in Australia during the same period.
Stanley’s passion for his subject began during his time as an undergraduate at Cedarville University, where he read for a double major in History and Economics: ‘During that time I did research in the development of American Socialism which led me towards broader interest in the intellectual, political, and social currents which shape Labor and Socialist political movements more generally.’

SCIO’s Academic Director, Dr Elizabeth Baigent, writes regarding Stanley’s achievement and his time in Oxford:
It was a great pleasure to have Stanley with us on the Oxford Summer Programme. He approached his Oxford work in the light of his ambitions for graduate school, making focused and intelligent use of Oxford’s research libraries and engaging in tutorial and other discussion on a graduate level and with broad geographical sweep. I remember discussions on British socialism, particularly the thesis that British socialism not Marxist, and he is now exploring the Australian situation. This epitomises his thoughtfulness and internationalism. SCIO tutors take great pleasure when their students secure opportunities which can be life changing.
Stanley writes that his time at SCIO represented an ‘excellent experience in [his] intellectual development’; he continues:
While at SCIO, I enjoyed a wonderful experience of intellectual challenge and research opportunity due to the resources of the Bodleian library. In [...]

By |September 20th, 2018|Life after SCIO, News|0 Comments|

Life after SCIO: alumna wins conference award

SCIO is delighted that alumna Abigail Scott (Hilary Term, 2017), a graduate of Gordon College, has recently received a prize for a paper given at a conference.

Abigail was awarded second place in the critical essays category devoted to the study of works not British or American. Her prize-winning essay, presented at the Sigma Tau Delta International Honours Society Convention, considered ‘Narrative Distance in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart’. Abigail wrote the essay for a Postcolonial Literature tutorial while at SCIO, in Hilary term 2017; she writes: ‘when the call for papers related to the theme “Seeking Freedom” came out, I thought that an essay written for a tutorial in which the concepts of oppression, colonization, and imperialism were explored would be fitting.’
When I read the novel for the first time in preparation for my tutorial, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable with the narrative voice used throughout. It at first appeared to be a traditional omniscient, third-person narrator, but as I began to dig more deeply into the text I found that many of the characteristics of such a traditional omniscient narrator were missing in the text. Rather than delving into characters motivations and inner states, the narrator employs parables and oral storytelling techniques that create the effect of viewing the story through a foggy window; nothing is quite as a clear as it seems, and it feels almost as if the narrator is not fully equipped to provide the reader with the full story. As I wrote my essay, I came to the conclusion that this distance is inherently related to the narrator’s inability to fully align with the colonized or the colonizing characters in the novel. The narrative is full of [...]

By |September 14th, 2018|Life after SCIO, News|0 Comments|

Life after SCIO: alumna to read for MPhil at Cambridge

We are delighted by the news that SCIO alumna Hannah Grady (Michaelmas Term 2016) has been accepted to study for an MPhil in Theology at Clare College, Cambridge.

Hannah received offers from a number of universities, including Duke, Yale, Oxford, and Cambridge: ‘I chose Cambridge’, she writes, ‘because it is the best fit for my research interests.’

Concerning her proposed research, Hannah writes:
My research will consider the nature of Christian sanctification. I will be drawing metaphors for sanctification from the work of the Greek Fathers, beginning with Saint Gregory of Nyssa’s On the Soul and Life of Moses. This research will continue the work in Patristics that I began during my term in Oxford. My ultimate hope for my career, after I complete a doctorate, is to become a professor of theology.
Hannah’s passion for Patristics, which flourished while at SCIO, is reflective of her broad passion for the study of theology.  She notes:
The thing I love most about studying theology is that it offers a window into life’s biggest mysteries and deepest truths. It is thrilling to me to befriend ancient theologians and to learn from their perspective on life’s biggest questions. The academic pursuit of theology is a worshipful experience for me, full of wonder and delight.
Hannah read for an undergraduate degree in Biblical and Theological Studies at Biola University and was accepted to SCIO in the autumn of her final year. Hannah writes that her time here at SCIO was deeply formative, shaping her entrance into graduate studies:
My network of friends and mentors from SCIO have been integral in my journey toward graduate studies. It was in conversations with SCIO faculty that I made the decision to continue on [...]

Life after SCIO: alumna selected for prestigious internship

 

SCIO is delighted by the news that Michaelmas 2017/Hilary 2018 alumna, Carolyn Richards, has been selected for a prestigious summer internship as a research assistant at the Gopnik Cognitive Development Laboratory at UC Berkeley.

Expanding on her role in the laboratory, Carolyn writes: ‘During the internship, I will be working under a postdoctoral researcher on several experiments that are at different stages but that all focus on children’s cognitive development. The general focus of the lab is on how children develop cause and effect reasoning and how they learn from and about other people.’ Concerning her personal motivations and the learning opportunities that the internship will provide, she continues: ‘I am looking forward to getting experience with different stages of the research process, such as experimental design and data collection. I am excited to learn more about how children understand the world.’

As she reflects upon her time here in Oxford, Carolyn describes the past year as ‘an important step in learning how to learn, developing self-discipline, and discovering what is involved in academic life.’ All participants in the SCIO Scholars’ Semester in Oxford (SSO) programme are introduced to the Oxford tutorial system, which forms the central pillar of the University’s learning experience. It is a testament to the value of the tutorial system, and to the close working relationship developed between tutor and student, as the suggestion to apply for the internship was itself supplied by Dr Emily Burdett, Carolyn’s psychology tutor at SCIO. Dr Burdett notes that:
Carolyn was an excellent student. She was my student for the course Language and Cognition, and she has also been an RA for me, working on coding videos of children for a project looking at how children [...]

Life after SCIO: alumna wins academic prizes

SCIO is delighted that alumna Rachel Sakrisson (Michaelmas Term 2017), an undergraduate at Palm Beach Atlantic University, has recently received two essay prizes.

Rachel has been awarded first place in the category of British literature at the Sigma Tau Delta International Honors Society Conference. Her prize-winning essay, written in response to a general question concerning the language used by the two principal male characters in Shakespeare’s Othello, was titled: ‘Iago, Othello, and the languages of passivity and activity’. Rachel writes that her work was ‘directly inspired by conversations about linguistics during [her] tutorials’ at Oxford. She continues:
The answer to this question seems fairly obvious: they speak the English language. However, Dr Thorpe pushed me to look beyond word-level meaning and analyze the underlying purpose of language. In doing so, I discovered that Iago and Othello have differing definitions of language (for Iago, this function is intrigue, whereas for Othello, this function is for truth).
Rachel writes of her time at SCIO that it ‘gave [her] greater understanding of the truth that there are multiple ways of thinking about literature.’ She offers the further reflection that:
Prior to SCIO, I knew that literary analysis is founded on differing opinions, but being surrounded by students from varying backgrounds gave me first hand experience of this truth. In addition to thought-provoking conversations during tutorials, the community at The Vines encouraged valuable conversations to continue outside of tutorials — at the dinner table, at tea-time, or during midnight study sessions. These conversations were always lively and interesting because they were founded on differing opinions, backgrounds, and the same interest in knowledge.
Also an awardee of the de Jager prize, offered by SCIO in recognition of outstanding scholarly work [...]

Life after SCIO: alumna awarded MSt with distinction from Oxford

Elspeth Currie, an alumna of the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford programme in Michaelmas 2014 and Hilary 2015, is graduating with an MSt in Women’s Studies from Oriel College, University of Oxford with distinction.

Concerning Elspeth’s recent success and her work during the Scholars’ Semester, Dr Jonathan Kirkpatrick, Director of Classics at SCIO, offered the following comment:
Elspeth sparkled as a student during her time studying in Oxford through SCIO.  She took advantage of Oxford’s resources to indulge her academic interest in the classics, and pursued undergraduate research in this area.  It was a pleasure to see her develop as a budding scholar, and extremely gratifying (though not surprising) to find her excelling as a Masters student as well.
Elspeth finds herself fascinated by how women’s history encourages compassionate consideration of persons, both historical and contemporary.  Her thesis was a historical study of matrilineal intellectual legacies in 16th–17th century England; she specifically explored how women with advanced educations pursued the life of the mind themselves and raised their daughters to embody a similar learnedness.

Given that the MSt and the act of stepping outside the comfortable confines of history into something more theory driven were challenging, Elspeth notes that ’receiving a distinction is affirming’.  While proud to have a mark that reflects the investment of her advisers, friends, and fellow students, she also feels that her mark ‘honors the various women [she] has studied throughout the year’.

Reflecting on her time studying at SCIO, Elspeth says:
Studying through SCIO gave me confidence that I lacked beforehand.  I left SCIO feeling like a scholar, if still an inexperienced one, ready to pursue an academic career.  Academically, the rigors (and supports!) of SCIO’s program ensured I had the skills needed to [...]

By |November 1st, 2017|Life after SCIO, News|0 Comments|