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 succeed in my Masters.  From a faith perspective, SCIO encouraged me to meld my academic and spiritual life, to pursue excellence for the glory of God and consider how historical research could serve the kingdom.  Finally, without SCIO I would never have encountered my field of study.  My primary tutorial in Michaelmas term 2014 was ‘Women, Gender, and Print Culture in Early Modern England’.  Three years, two courses, and three extended research projects later, I find myself more interested in the field than ever and with no intention of stopping.

Having completed her MSt, Elspeth is looking forward to teaching English literature and rhetoric at a classical Christian high school in Rhode Island, beginning in autumn of this year.  In addition to preparing for this new role, she is also editing her dissertation for publication as an article.  It is Elspeth’s intention to take the next step to doctoral level in the coming years: ‘I’ve only just touched on the wealth of historical material lying about in archives,’ she writes, ‘[t]here is so much more to understand and I cannot wait to begin!’