Congratulations to SCIO’s fall 2019 prizewinners

Mt2019 Group Photo

SCIO is pleased to announce the fall 2019 de Jager 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 2019, along with their sending institutions, are named below.

Prize Name Institution
British culture Kayla Beebout Asbury University
British culture Julie Koh Biola University
British culture Amelia Lehosit The King’s College, New York
British culture Hope Twitchell Southeastern University
British culture Benjamin Young Baylor University
Undergraduate research seminar Brenda Anak Ganeng Messiah College
Undergraduate research seminar Daniel Anger Nyack College
Undergraduate research seminar Rachel Edney Gordon College
Undergraduate research seminar Maya Laytham Taylor University
SCIO alumni prize Jenna Watson Wheaton College


Three students reflect on their time on the programme:

  • I am very grateful to have spent a semester living and learning in a city so rooted in religious and academic history. Because one of my academic interests is the intersection of religious studies and literature, Oxford could not have been a more perfect learning environment. I was able to draw inspiration from the rich literary and religious heritage while producing new research in this field and being exposed to ideas and traditions that now better inform my reading of British literature. My tutorials allowed me to practice critical skills in my discipline, the seminar enabled me to explore the intersection of religion and literature in a focused study, and my cohort and the SCIO staff offered me chances to converse with like-minded scholars. It seems to me that dedicated Christian scholars are needed now like never before, and I believe the work SCIO is doing preparing emerging scholars for excellence in their fields is invaluable. I feel deeply grateful to SCIO for offering this chance to develop as a student, scholar, and Christian in a hub of intellect and inspiration.  

 Jenna Watson


  • My experience in Oxford was unlike any other academic experience. Although the time in this extraordinary place was limited, it nevertheless overflowed with many interesting endeavors. From singing in the Christ Church College Choir and eating in their dining hall every Monday (which served as the inspiration for the Great Hall of Hogwarts), to attending lectures taught by inspiring individuals in the academic world one never dreams of meeting, to writing essays and completing physics worksheets in magnificent libraries containing floods of ancient knowledge – there was never a dull moment during the Scholar’s Semester in Oxford. However, as busy as Oxford is, the culture in which I was immersed ironically gave me the precious option of pausing.  Most of the time that meant sitting down and chatting with friends, tutors, and staff over tea and cakes in the humble basement of the SCIO office. It was in Oxford, that I realized for the first time what education is about: not the pursuit of a 4.0 GPA or a perfect score, but rather an endless fascination for all things new and a willingness to be challenged in one’s own solid system of beliefs and presuppositions. I learned that genuine scholarship entails the curiosity of a child and the necessary engagement in rigorous, honest fellowship.

 Brenda Anak Ganeng


  • My time as a SCIO student offered a chance to dive deeply into the historical topics that have always fascinated me. Oxford’s unparalleled libraries and archives granted me expansive resources to explore new areas of inquiry and to tackle questions whose answers lay in sources and texts that had previously been inaccessible to me. My interests stand at the intersection of the fields of history and religious studies, and Oxford not only encouraged me to explore the cross-disciplinary connections between these two fields, but also challenged me to consider how my research connected with other academic disciplines in the wider community of the university. Spending many long days and late nights laboring alongside and conversing with brilliant fellow SCIO students, who themselves were hard at work researching and writing in disparate fields, prompted me to consider the location of my particular areas of interest within the extensive, multifaceted map of human inquiry. My time with SCIO clarified my understanding of academic scholarship. Participating in Oxford’s tutorial system convinced me that the strongest scholars are those who can enter an academic conversation and rigorously but charitably engage with primary sources and with the arguments of other scholars. During my weekly tutorials, I defended my arguments and revised them when my tutor exposed their weaknesses, but I was also given the freedom to challenge the perspectives of my tutors and the scholars I had read. As a result, I completed the SCIO program as a better writer, a more experienced researcher, and a far more cogent thinker, than when I entered.

Benjamin Young

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