SCIO is pleased to announce the Oxford Summer Programme 2020 prizewinners.
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 2020, along with their sending institutions, are named below.
|Erica Kath||The King’s University, Edmonton|
|Sarah Shahan||Azusa Pacific University|
The students reflect on their time with SCIO:
Although this summer term was certainly different to a normal semester with the SCIO programme, the term was nevertheless challenging, enlightening, and stimulating (even online!), as the virtual classroom was a space which fostered formational learning: learning that transforms both the mind and spirit. Often in academic environments, there is an unspoken assumption that the professor is merely there to lecture and provide information and the students are only there to listen and absorb the information; however, the dynamic of learning that I experienced in the digital classroom through SCIO was far from this standard model.
From the start of term, students were treated like scholars: our ideas were taken seriously by the tutors, and we didn’t have to spend time at the beginning of the semester trying to ‘prove’ ourselves and our academic competence to our peers and faculty. Because of this, I felt free to not only listen to the course information and understand it, but also to engage critically and thoughtfully with the material — raising questions and taking risks which pushed me to be both a better student and a better scholar. This, then, turned the classroom into a space of dialogue where I was free to voice my own opinions, construct my own ideas, and share my own story. Through this, I was able to integrate the information of the course into my own understanding of the world, myself, and the truth. Ultimately, SCIO offered me a ‘formational’ and transformative approach to learning by not only teaching me how to bring myself into the academic conversation by shaping and articulating my ideas, but also by teaching me how to engage and discuss with others as we, as scholars, humbly pursue the truth which is both within us and beyond us.
Back in 2018, I was fortunate to be able to immerse myself in the beauty, history, and scholarship that the city of Oxford offers. It was then that I realized my experience there would continue to influence my thinking, perspectives, and passions for the rest of my life. The SCIO programme allowed me to delve deeper into subjects that both challenged me and uplifted my heart, such as Gothic literature. This is what prompted me to apply a second time. Now, in 2020, even though the SCIO programme had to be executed online, I still feel fulfilled in my work, enlightened by my tutors and colleagues, and inspired by the vibrancy of scholarship. The spirit of Oxford-style scholarship transcended online platforms, and it was unwaveringly clear that the tutors’ in-depth instruction and genuine care for student progression pushed me, yet again, in discovering my academic passions — particularly in Tolkien studies. I am convinced that I would not be the scholar and artist I am today if it were not for my time as a student on the SCIO programme.