SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2016 de Jager prizewinners. The de Jager prizes are awarded each term on the basis of academic merit to a selection of students attending the Scholars’ Semester in Oxford. These awards are made possible by the generous support of Geoffrey and Caroline de Jager whose commitment to excellence in education and scholarship is longstanding.
The prizewinners are named below along with their sending institution and the course for which they won their award.
|British culture||Undergraduate research seminar|
|Shiloh Hines||Indiana Wesleyan University||Elisha Colby||Southeastern University|
|Matthew Maler||Westmont College||Jennifer Eklund||Wheaton College|
|Marianna Nichols||Judson College||Luke Farquhar||Seattle Pacific University|
|Alea Peister||Biola University||Emily Martin||Biola University|
|Maren Plog||Azusa Pacific University||Darren Yau||Wheaton College|
Here are a few of the prizewinners’ reflections on their time in Oxford:
Oxford was the dream I never knew I had. The warm, sunny meadows along rivers and majestic, medieval colleges took my breath away time and again. Being sent into the library system that winds throughout Oxford to sit and do what I love—read—invited me into a way of learning that felt like home. Just about everything about Oxford became home. A glance upwards at the looming, intricate spires made my heart leap at the realization that, at least for a treasured time, this place was my home. I never knew that tutorials would be some of the places and times where I would be most challenged to grow, nor did I expect that deep friendships formed over late nights of study would turn fellow-students into family. My heart was embraced by Oxford, and I left not just with wonderful memories but also with a broadened perspective and a willingness to engage more deeply with the world around me.
Some people think that studying at Oxford is paradise. Between the walls and grand staircases hide old books in ancient libraries, serene and idyllic gardens, small places to pause and muse and pretend like you’re thinking hard when you’ve actually just floated away into paradise. Yet for me the best part of Oxford was not the city itself but the rich experience of being in a community of likeminded people in pursuit of wisdom. Playing, eating, studying, laughing, debating together with new friends is a good that, unlike beautiful architecture and old books, cannot be taken away after the semester is over. In fact, it can grow to bear some of the sweetest memories and in that sense, I do find that Oxford is a bit like paradise—a place where you are surprised by gifts wholly unsought, but once recognized, much appreciated.
My semester in Oxford far exceeded my wildest and most wonderful expectations. I expected to be challenged academically, but I did not know how much I would be driven to a new level enjoyment of learning! My tutors taught me to let go of my obsession over grades and “getting everything right” and simply to ask good questions, to use my creative skills, and to explore the material at hand. The close friendships I developed within my community of fellow students were irreplaceable, and I believe some of these will last the rest of my life. My time in Oxford was unparalleled academically, spiritually, and socially, and I am forever grateful to SCIO for making this possible!
Being a student at Oxford helped me grow in confidence. The experience helped me grow in all aspects of myself, not only the academic. Oxford is the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and I loved living there. I want to visit Oxford again, because it was such a significant place of growth and change within myself.
Photography by Jonathan Kirkpatrick, www.zeuxisphotography.com.