Life after SCIO

Life after SCIO: alumnus accepted for PhD in Theology at Yale

We are pleased that our alumnus Samuel Ernest has been accepted to a PhD programme at Yale.

Sam grew up in Manchester, New Hampshire and Grand Rapids, Michigan and studied English Literature at Seattle Pacific University. He graduated with a Masters of Art in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School and the Institute of Sacred Music, as well as a Certificate in Anglican Studies from Berkeley Divinity School.

His time with SCIO helped him developing his academic interests:
In my first term with SCIO, Michaelmas 2013, I discovered gay literature, which profoundly challenged my understanding of what sort of shapes life and love can take. When I returned for Michaelmas 2014, I took a Special Topics tutorial designed with tutor Jonathan Thorpe called “Faith and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Fiction,” which laid the groundwork for both my SCIO thesis and my honors thesis at SPU.
His work at SCIO was a foundation for his PhD topic:
My work will map and plumb the boundaries between religion and literature, religious studies and theology, and queer theory and systematic theology. I hope to spend considerable time with poetry and theology by marginal gay and queer figures from the mid-twentieth century through the present day to better understand how gay writers reimagine the Christian forms of erotic and divine desire they’ve inherited and, from there, to offer my own constructive thoughts on gay literature might inform doctrine.
In the future, he hopes to continue in academia and work as a professor.

 

 

Life after SCIO: alumnus accepted for MSt degree at Oxford

We are delighted that our alumnus Joshua Austin has been accepted for a master’s degree in the history of war at Oxford.

 

Joshua grew up in Richmond, Virginia and is studying for his first degree at Gordon College where he will graduate in May 2019. His time with SCIO inspired him to pursue a master’s degree:
I was privileged to attend SCIO’s Scholars’ Semester in Oxford from September 2017 to April 2018 and took tutorials in the First and Second World Wars in addition to writing a thesis which examined counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan. The military studies in particular played a significant role in my decision to pursue a MSt degree in the history of war at the University of Oxford.
The integration of faith and scholarship was also important to him:
It was good encouragement throughout my Oxford experience never to be afraid to explore new ideas, yet always to remain grounded in your faith. Simply put, faith and academics are not at odds with each other, and SCIO assisted in giving us a framework for pursuing our studies.
His academic interest concerns international counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and it is also his future ambition to work with this topic.

Life after SCIO: alumna studying for a PhD at Princeton

We are very pleased that our alumna Abigail M. Sargent is studying for a PhD in Medieval History at Princeton.

Having grown up in East Barre, Vermont, Abigail studied history at Gordon College. She graduated in 2009 and then completed a MA in Medieval Studies at Fordham University. She explains that her time in Oxford with SCIO inspired her current PhD studies:

My year at Oxford with SCIO in 2011-12 had helped cement the Middle Ages as my particular corner of history; I still remember the sudden immediacy of the Anglo-Saxon period when I sat in my tutor’s office as he explained how I could walk out his door and follow the course of the medieval town wall.’

Besides encouraging her academic discipline, the spiritual side of scholarship that SCIO offers also helped her:

SCIO also helped shape my vision of what faithful scholarship could look like, in all senses of the term, and in settings beyond the Christian liberal arts college. Right now I’m living one version of that life as I work on my PhD at Princeton. At the moment I’m in Europe doing archival research for my dissertation. I spend my days sifting through abbreviated French and Latin documents, trying to detect when and how people in fourteenth-century rural communities acted as groups to fulfil external demands and to resist external pressures on what they saw as their rights and privileges.

Her future ambition is to teach medieval history, with a particular focus on ‘ordinary’ people’s lives, which she considers important to both our professional and private lives.

Life after SCIO: alumna awarded fellowship

We are extremely pleased by the news that Rebecca Richards (year long, 2016) has been granted the John Jay Fellowship.

Raised in East Winthrop, Maine, Rebecca completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at Baylor University, Texas. Following her time at university, Rebecca applied for the John Fellowship based in Philadelphia, for which she has been accepted. Regarding the fellowship, she writes:
The stated goal of John Jay is to create principled, public leaders. For four months, eight fellows live together in a house outside Philadelphia and study the interface of philosophy, politics and faith from Constantine to the present.
The fellowship shares several features with the SCIO programme: ‘Similar to SCIO’, she writes, ‘we read 150 pages a day on average, write weekly papers and spend 3 hours in seminar four days a week.’

Remembering her time at SCIO, Rebecca writes:
As much as I care about Baylor, my time at Oxford was the highlight of my time at university. It sharpened my approach to general academics but especially to political philosophy. SCIO also cultivated an incredible community where fellow students from diverse academic disciplines and colleges studied, ate, and debated together. During and after the program, I felt cared for by everyone in leadership at SCIO. After my experience at Oxford, I knew I had to keep studying political philosophy and to find or build that kind of community. The John Jay Fellowship has elements of both.
Like many SCIO students, Rebecca’s plans for the future are suitably ambitious:
After the fellowship ends, I am hoping to move to DC this spring to work in public policy and social justice. Eventually, I would like to go to graduate school to study political philosophy and public [...]

By |December 17th, 2018|Life after SCIO|0 Comments|

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 [...]