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.
|Evyn McGraw||Alumni prize||John Brown University|
|Jeremy (Christian) Mack||de Jager prize||Trevecca Nazarene University|
|Kendra Nydam||de Jager prize||Dordt University|
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 as a group of people seeking to understand the world and how to live meaningfully as a part of it.
It’s difficult to describe my experience in Oxford in words, much less in one paragraph. My best attempt might be best summed up with a story: as a child, I owned a complete collection of The Chronicles of Narnia that I read every night. I read it so much that the cover fell off. If you would have told me then that one day I would have stood where C.S. Lewis stood, studied where he studied, and ate where he ate, I wouldn’t have believed you. For me, that is why this trip was so impactful; I got to live the lives of literary giants, and the best part was that I belonged there. Of course, once I was there and over the shock of this fact, the experience was full of nothing but positives. The environment of learning was unmatched. The tutors were brilliant. The city was incredible. I made friends from around the world. If you are even considering the program at all, I cannot recommend it enough.
In all respects, my experience through SCIO’s summer programme was one of expansion and restoration. I wandered into the application process somewhat late and disillusioned but found that both the city of Oxford and the people of SCIO granted me something I have not felt in a long time: peace. I have always loved learning, but somewhere among the scores of credits, stacks of papers, and litany of scholarship requirements for my now four years at university, I lost myself. Coming to Oxford allowed me the vital experience I needed to reconnect with the passion and perspective that had brought me to higher education in the first place. For the first time in years, I enjoyed walking into a classroom. The city and colleges of Oxford occupy a unique position. OSP did more than simply challenge me scholastically. It taught me to look past the stifling effects of mere academic performance and instead look at my learning, and by extension the world around me, with the mindset of a true scholar. In short, the Oxford programme reminded me how to see.