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|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

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|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s summer 2018 de Jager prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the Oxford Summer Programme 2018 de Jager prizewinners.

The de Jager prize is awarded in recognition of written work, submitted by each awardee during the Oxford Summer Programme, which is judged to be outstanding. Presented by SCIO at the close of each term, the award is facilitated by Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, whose generous gift to each awardee reflects their enduring commitment to academic excellence.

The prizewinners for OSP 2018, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

The students reflect on their time with SCIO:
To study at Oxford is to be saturated by an enriching environment that exudes the magic of learning. The atmosphere at the University of Oxford offers limitless encouragement to those seeking the pursuit of knowledge just for knowledge’s sake. In fact, by studying at Oxford there is no need for justifying the habit of reading and writing for 7 to 9 hours a day; instead these activities are entrenched in the previous works of enduring authors, such as Oscar Wilde, Albert Einstein, and C.S Lewis. Therefore, by exploring the various colleges of Merton, where J.R.R Tolkien taught, or Lady Margaret Hall, where Malala Yousafzi currently studies, one feels a sense of inspiration and achievement. These and countless others are the giants whose past inventions propel future ideas and whose shoulders one stands on while studying at the University of Oxford.

Anneliese Hardman

What was my favorite part of the Oxford Summer Programme? Quite honestly, all of it. The adventure of living another culture as a student rather than as a tourist, the breathtaking weight of history exuding from every stone of Oxford’s awe-inspiring buildings, the reverent awe of worshiping in ancient cathedrals, the thrill of having access [...]

By |August 23rd, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s spring 2018 de Jager prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the spring 2018 de Jager prizewinners.

The de Jager prize is awarded in recognition of outstanding scholarly work, submitted by each awardee during the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford. Awarded at the close of each term, the de Jager prize is facilitated by Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, whose generous gift to each prize winner is reflective of their long-standing commitment to academic excellence.

The prizewinners for Hilary Term 2018, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

Two students reflect on their time on the programme:
I arrived in Oxford with a hunger to give my ideas, which covered various disciplines (and which did not, as far as I was aware, fit into rigid academic categories), a tangible form. My experience at SCIO and the guidance of my tutors allowed me to expand, sharpen, and focus these ideas and to find new academic contexts and discussions in which to express that about which I cared so much. I now have confidence to apply for doctoral programmes and to carry out studies based on what I wrote with SCIO.  It was incredible to be part of a group where individual visions were nurtured and supported by the fellowship. At Oxford, these ideas grew in both formal and informal settings. Being in a city full of such vibrancy and places of culture and community, discussions spontaneously occurred, accompanied by short walks to local restaurants and pubs. I’ll never forget the excitement and adventurous delight of being at the heart of Oxford surrounded by passionate characters eager to engage with the deeper questions of life and truth.

Nathalia Bell

The Oxford tutorial system has a bipartite attraction: first, it allows the student to research a specific topic that is [...]

By |August 2nd, 2018|News, Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Student Life Blog: food groups

SCIO alumna Melissa Barciela, who studied theology and philosophy with us during Michaelmas Term 2016, reflects on her Oxford experience. 

As any SSO student, I was anxious upon arrival, with the weight of academic pressure looming overhead. Yet, my time at Oxford proved to be nothing I expected and everything I did not know I needed. This truth rang true in various areas of SSO life.

Academically, Oxford pushed me to expose my academic weaknesses and overcome my fear of failure, so that I may be a better scholar and a better follower of Christ. My tutors and the SCIO faculty invited me to explore intriguing topics and assigned diverse readings that challenged my thinking. Their primary concern was not that students would prove themselves, but rather that they would improve and grow as critical thinkers and Christian members of the academy.

Another significant and unexpected piece of my time at Oxford was the community. I expected to live a lonely life secluded from community and lost in the wealth of the Bodleian resources. I have never been so pleased to be disappointed. SSO cultivated a welcoming environment of like-minded students, both passionate about scholarship and deeply committed to the Christian faith. This environment fostered inter-disciplinary dialogue, both formally during seminars and informally at the dinner table. In fact, the dinner table played a key role in my academic and personal growth during my semester abroad through what students call “food groups.”

A food group is a student-organized system of rotating dinner preparation. Each group is comprised of about eight SSO students, with one person cooking for the entire group each night. Practically, this group offsets the food cost and stress for SSO students. Yet it also provides [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Congratulations to SCIO’s fall 2017 de Jager prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2017 de Jager prizewinners.

Awarded at the close of each term, the de Jager prizes recognize outstanding scholarly work submitted by each awardee during the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford.  The de Jager prize is facilitated by Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager, whose generous gift to each prizewinner is symptomatic of their abiding commitment to academic excellence.

The prizewinners for Michaelmas Term 2017, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

Two students reflect on their time on the programme:
One of the best things about the Oxford tutorial system is the complete freedom to pursue things that interest you. While I love English literature, I like combining it with other disciplines such as psychology, history, and gender and sexuality studies. This was something I was able to do within the parameters of my tutorials, and to a greater extent through the seminar paper I wrote at the end of term. My tutors did a great job of allowing me to pursue interesting lines of research while also suggesting further resources and ways to better both my actual essays and my base of knowledge in the area I was studying. As well as gaining knowledge in my subject, I’ve become a better researcher and a better writer.

Katie Steininger

I believe it is no exaggeration to say that, in becoming part of Oxford for a term, Oxford somehow became a small part of me. The libraries and city streets were spaces that cultivated an atmosphere brimming and shining with life and learning, an instant of existence within which my dear friends and I found ourselves challenged, inspired, and enlarged. My ability and confidence as a scholar, in all the fullness of that idea, [...]

By |April 27th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO STEM student reflects on his time at Oxford

SCIO is excited to be including STEM subjects formally in its programme from 2018 on. In previous years it has in some instances been possible to arrange STEM tutorials on a case-by-case basis.  In an interview for SCIO, one alumnus, Luke Arend, reflects on his time at Oxford, where he took STEM tutorials in philosophy of psychology and neuroscience/philosophy of science, and quantum mechanics. Luke now works as a neuroscience researcher at MIT’s Center for Brains, Minds and Machines, and in his interview, he explains how his time at SCIO prepared him for a research career and the significant impact it had on him as a young academic and scientist:
 My STEM coursework changed the way I do physics: I’ve since viewed quantitative problem-solving not as mere number-crunching, but as argument-building – granted, using mathematics rather than written language. As a double major in physics and philosophy, my time at Oxford helped me realize that both disciplines rely on similar methods of critical thinking and argumentation.
Read more about SCIO’s opportunities in STEM and the full interview with Luke here.

By |March 19th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|