SCIO student shares her experience of Climate Science tutorials

As part of its Scholars’ Semester in Oxford (SSO) programme, SCIO offers tutorials in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Below is a sampling of courses that students can take:

Biological sciences (e.g. animal behaviour, ecology, disease, and cells and genes)
Chemistry (e.g. electrochemistry, quantum mechanics and spectroscopy, and soft condensed matter)
Mathematics (e.g. multivariate calculus and mathematical models, number theory, and logic and set theory)
Statistics (e.g. metric spaces and complex analysis, statistical machine learning, and applied probability)
Physics (e.g. classical mechanics and special relativity, quantum physics, and plasma physics)
Theoretical computer science (e.g. intelligent systems, machine learning, and computational game theory)
Earth sciences (e.g. palaeobiology, volcanology, and planetary chemistry)

This term (autumn 2019), Emily Homman, a biology major from Trinity Christian College (IL), studied Climate Science as a primary tutorial with Professor Richard Washington, Professor of Climate Science at the University of Oxford. We asked Emily to reflect about her experience:
This semester I had the opportunity to work with Professor Richard Washington, an extraordinary professor who is the Director of the Radcliffe Meteorological Station [at the University of Oxford]. Coming into the tutorial, I was intimidated by Professor Washington because I thought he was much too important to be tutoring an undergraduate biology student [like me]. But I quickly found out that Professor Washington is just an academic who is passionate about his subject (albeit a very accomplished one). Our tutorials this semester have been a lecture-like discussion; he starts the tutorial by asking “how did you get on with the reading?” and I respond with what I understood best and with questions about anything I did not understand. He diligently answers my questions, and [...]

By |December 10th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s summer 2019 prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the Oxford Summer Programme 2019 prizewinners.

The SCIO alumni prize, awarded for the first time in Michaelmas Term 2018, is funded from contributions from SCIO alumni of programmes over the past 15 years. The prize is awarded to one student each term or programme for overall outstanding academic performance.

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 2019, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

The students reflect on their time with SCIO:
If any student suspects they might be interested in academia for a living, then studying abroad in Oxford is a good way to discern one’s vocation. The classes were a great place to examine ideas in creative ways, and the tutors struck an excellent balance between guiding my studies and giving me the freedom to explore topics I find personally meaningful. Each tutor provided the perfect amount of challenge to allow students to flourish, and the classes sparked good conversations and intriguing questions, both inside and outside the classroom. The recent canonization of John Henry Newman has also rekindled my thankfulness at the opportunity to explore the same spaces as so many important figures throughout academic history. Being in Oxford is a great reminder that academia is a communal endeavour spanning thousands of years, and we have the opportunity of entering into this ever-evolving endeavour, not as isolated individuals batting around ideas in ivory towers, but [...]

By |November 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO and the CCCU tour acclaimed Mr Darwin’s Tree play

The acclaimed British one-man play, Mr Darwin’s Tree, is currently on tour on campuses in North America. Produced by Scholarship and Christianity in Oxford (SCIO), the UK Centre of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), and underwritten by the Templeton Religion Trust and The Blankemeyer Foundation, the play explores the life and work of Charles Darwin within the contexts of science, faith, and family.

Mr Darwin’s Tree, written and directed by playwright Murray Watts and featuring actor Andrew Harrison, is being performed at eleven institutions this autumn. The first part of the tour concluded in early October and included: Eastern University, Calvin University, Lubbock Christian University, Trinity Christian College, Bethel University, Northwestern College, IA, and Seattle Pacific University.

The thought-provoking play was appreciated by staff and students alike:
“I really enjoyed watching this production of Mr. Darwin’s Tree. In my church and family (at least for the most part), it’s always been argued that Christians can’t believe in evolution, but the more I think about it, the more I question the reasoning behind that claim. This play made me think and will continue to make me think in the days and weeks ahead as I too try to discern truth about science and faith.”
 
‘I went into that play not knowing what I was going to see and to be honest, with a little bit of a bad attitude. I was tired and did not want to see it. Although, when the play started, my attitude changed. The play was very intriguing and interesting. I did not know how much Darwin struggled with his theory of evolution and natural selection. Overall, I was very impressed with the play and thank you for giving [...]

By |October 21st, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Congratulations to SCIO’s spring 2019 de Jager prizewinners

SCIO is pleased to announce the spring 2019 de Jager and SCIO alumni prize winners.

The de Jager prize for the British culture and undergraduate research seminar is awarded in recognition of outstanding scholarly work submitted by each awardee during the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford in the British culture and undergraduate research seminar courses. 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 longstanding commitment to academic excellence.

The SCIO alumni prize, awarded for the first time in Michaelmas Term 2018, is funded from contributions from SCIO alumni of programmes over the past 15 years. The prize is awarded to one student each term or programme for overall outstanding academic performance.

The prize winners for Hilary Term 2019, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

 

Two students reflect on their time on the programme:
The SCIO program gave me the unique opportunity of going deeper into the professional world of my discipline. Both the SCIO staff and the Oxford faculty they connected me with offered their energy and expertise to challenge, train, and equip me to face the often daunting task of scholarship. The program staff provided an environment for my technical skills and academic curiosities to be fostered and expanded beyond that which was possible for me before going.

Jensen Kirkendall 
 

Both the city and institution of Oxford provide a vibrancy and appreciation for thought. Ironically, despite the everyday hustle and bustle, Oxford provided me an opportunity to slow down and think. I not only had the time to inquire and respond to questions, I was tutored on what questions to ask and why. While I expected [...]

By |September 24th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Mr. Darwin’s Tree, the acclaimed one-man play, to tour US Christian colleges in 2019

 

Mr. Darwin’s Tree, the acclaimed British one-man play about the life and work of Charles Darwin, will tour 11 North American Christian college campuses in 2019. Produced by SCIO, and underwritten by Templeton Religion Trust, and The Blankemeyer Foundation the tour aims to strengthen the educational environment on CCCU campuses by enhancing the conversation on science and religion.

Written by noted playwright and director Murray Watts (The Miracle Maker, KJB: The Book that Changed the World, The Dream) and starring leading British film, TV, and theatre actor Andrew Harrison (Dorian Gray, Miss Marple, Beyond Narnia), Mr. Darwin’s Tree presents a very human and very real Charles Darwin, one who wrestled with the challenges that his theories posed for traditional beliefs. It also presents Darwin’s wife, Emma, as an intelligent and articulate representative of Christian faith. In doing so, the play rejects the ‘straw man’ effigies of Darwin presented by both his extreme protagonists and antagonists, providing the opportunity for lively engagement, thoughtful conversations, and fresh explorations.
‘Discussing creation and evolution in abstract terms often leads to polarized and emotional debates,’ said SCIO Executive Director and Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities Project Director, Dr Stan Rosenberg. ‘Seeing these issues in their historical context and connected to real people, by contrast, helps us to understand the complexity of the issues and to discuss them in more nuanced and less confrontational ways.’
Hailed for packing in ‘a great deal of history and fascinating insight [thanks to] the show’s 75-minute bravura performance by solo actor Andrew Harrison’ (Christian Today) and acclaimed as ‘an elegantly conceived, clever and highly informative performance, overflowing with gentle humour and charm (Three Weeks Magazine, Edinburgh), the tour will mark the play’s [...]

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. He is the recipient of a SCIO de Jager alumni scholarship.

 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.

Congratulations to SCIO’s fall 2018 prize winners

SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2018 de Jager and SCIO alumni prize winners.

The de Jager prize for the British culture and undergraduate research seminar is awarded in recognition of outstanding scholarly work submitted by each awardee during the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford in the British culture and undergraduate research seminar courses. 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 longstanding commitment to academic excellence.

The SCIO alumni prize, awarded for the first time in Michaelmas Term 2018, is funded from contributions from SCIO alumni of programmes over the past 15 years. The prize is awarded to one student each term or programme for overall outstanding academic performance.

The prize winners for Michaelmas Term 2018, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

Two students reflect on their time on the programme:
At Oxford, I was able to establish myself as an independent thinker within my discipline. Because all learning was accomplished through self-propelled research and writing, I was enabled to approach my education with unprecedented depth, as opposed to the broad survey-based approach undertaken by most American universities. The tutorials, though demanding and somewhat intimidating, end up feeling like a conversational dance between the tutor and tutee as they attempt to locate and grasp truth and value. If you are on the fence about applying for the SSO program, I encourage you to take the plunge. It will be the most academically challenging four months of your collegiate career, but you will seldom feel more accomplished than when you send in that final seminar essay.

David Kraus

What a delightful and strenuous adventure it was in [...]

By |March 27th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

SCIO hosts North American colloquium for Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities

Over the weekend of 15–17 February 2019, SCIO hosted The North American Colloquium in St Petersburg, Florida. This was an event of the Bridging the Two Cultures of Science and the Humanities project funded by the Templeton Religion Trust and the Blankemeyer Foundation.

The colloquium brought together 32 faculty members and over 40 of their senior academic officers, campus ministers, and student development officers from 20 institutions to discuss strategies for impacting science and religion dialogues on their campuses. Through plenary talks, panel sessions, workshops, and breakouts groups, participants explored how they could partner together to maximize the long-term, sustainable impact of science and religion discussions among students, faculty, and administrators on campus.

Highlights of the weekend included plenary talks given by Dr April Maskiewicz Cordero (Point Loma Nazarene University) and Dr Jonathan Hill (Calvin College), a video lecture by Professor Alister McGrath (University of Oxford), and a performance by Andrew Harrison of the one-man play, Mr. Darwin’s Tree (written and directed by Murray Watts). The group was also led in worship on Sunday morning by Dr Bill Van Groningen (Trinity Christian College) and Dr Todd Pickett (Biola University). For details about the talks and sessions, please see the colloquium schedule.

By |March 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments|