SCIO Announces Hilary 2024 Prize Winners

SCIO is delighted to announce Hilary Term 2024’s prize winners. The prizes are awarded to students who demonstrate overall academic excellence in their tutorials, research essays, and British Culture course throughout the term. This term, the highest award — the Alumni Prize — was allocated to two exceptional students.

Hilary’s awardees include:

Alumni Prize

  • Abby Jones (Houston Christian University)
  • Steven Preston (Wheaton College)

Academic Prizes

  • Cailin Elliott (Wheaton College)
  • Juliette Kuhn (Trinity Western University)
  • Jude Ruetschle (Whitworth University)
  • Karah Snyder (Anderson University)

The SCIO semester in Oxford not only provides rigorous academic challenges, but it also fosters personal and intellectual growth through its vibrant community and rich cultural experiences. As we celebrate the achievements of our Hilary Term 2024 prize winners, a few of the prize winners shared a bit about their work and the reasons why they found their time in Oxford to be transformative…

  • Abby Jones (Houston Christian University, co-winner of the Alumni Prize) shares how her passion for literature shaped her research:

During my semester abroad in Oxford, I was inspired to write my research project on two of the novels of Dorothy L. Sayers, an author who has greatly influenced me both as a person and as a writer. Although Sayers and her work have interested me for many years, I would not have had the confidence to turn my passion into an academic endeavor. This was the pattern for most of my studies in Oxford: I was able to bring my interests to my tutors who encouraged me as well as challenged me to pursue them with courage and intellectual rigor. I will always be grateful to the wonderful faculty and staff at SCIO for making this transformational experience possible.

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  • Steven Preston (Wheaton College, co-winner of the Alumni Prize) reflects on the profound impact of his studies in philosophy and theology:

At Oxford, I read tutorials on Kant and Analytic Philosophy, studied “Science and Religion from 1600 to the present” for my British Culture course, and wrote my research project on Christological development in the early church. Having to read, digest, and comment on more material than ever before has taught me a lot. Firstly, the breadth of study in a semester with SCIO exposed me to research areas I never would have discovered otherwise. Secondly, interacting with various viewpoints—whether from history’s esteemed philosophers or my incisive housemates at the Vines—reinforced my belief that people hold views for personally compelling reasons. This means they deserve to be met with charity and humility, which can coexist with strong personal convictions. In an era where straw-manning and impugning motives are common, this balance between humility and conviction is the ideal way to “speak the truth in love.” Lastly, while academics are central to the Oxford semester, the interpersonal aspects of SCIO are also significant. Eating, praying, traveling, and discussing meaningful topics with 30 new friends proved to be equally profound.

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  • Cailin Elliott (Wheaton College) discusses the meaningful connections between her coursework and personal growth:

This semester in Oxford was filled with beautiful libraries, streets, and people. I spent my time learning Latin and Greek, and studying Victorian literature and C.S. Lewis. The freedom I had to choose my own direction for these courses allowed me to distill broad topics into theses that became meaningful to me both as a student and as a person. As I studied George Eliot’s use of Renaissance art in her novel Middlemarch, I not only learned how to conduct thorough research, but also got to know an author I admire and understand how she saw the world within her context. In her words, this intense of study of art “extends our sympathies,” a process that allows Christians to grow into Christ’s command to love their neighbors. It is this type of learning, fostered during my time in Oxford, which contributes most to the life of the mind.

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  • Juliette Kuhn (Trinity Western University) describes the deepening of her appreciation for literature and its historical context:

My time at Oxford embodied my love of literature in a way I had not quite experienced before. I studied C.S. Lewis in Literary Context and Creative Writing, as well as J.R.R. Tolkien for both my research project and Topics in British Culture. Uniting the writers and the place that shaped their writing, gave them a personal dimension for me, making them seem more like real people and less like unreachable ideals. What I loved most about Oxford is how saturated it is with centuries of learning, and the consciousness–in the architecture, churches and commitment to learning–of the connection between beauty and truth. I was shaped no less by the books, essays, tutorials and research, than by the friendships I formed at the Vines, the beautiful architecture, the deep quiet of Duke Humphrey’s, evensongs and Holy Week, and all the other bits of life in Oxford. Oxford taught me to respect academics more deeply as an honest and imperative search for truth–a lifestyle that can be continued even now that I am graduated.

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  • Jude Ruetschle (Whitworth University) writes about the transformative nature of his studies for his faith:

What a treasure to pace the historic streets of Oxford! Amid its time-worn buildings and alleys, I often felt intimately aware of my own insignificance. At first, this was a difficult perspective to stomach. Yet slowly, I learned to see this transcendence as a source of love rather than fear. In my primary tutorial on Mysticism, I learned that in experiencing the divine, we are made keenly aware of our kinship with others and with creation. In my secondary tutorial on Kierkegaard and my British Culture course on CS Lewis, I learned that the agency of the individual is refined rather than subverted by our finitude. Finally, my research project on Kierkegaard’s relevance to the environment affirmed that only in recognising the ‘otherness’ of creation can we learn to treat it, with care, as our neighbour. In sum, my experiences of Oxford and my life therein taught me the importance of surrender. In allowing the transcendent to shape us, we are drawn into a reality far larger than ourselves–a reality that begins and ends with love. I cannot express enough gratitude for the SCIO staff and all those who make this experience possible.


  • Karah Snyder (Anderson University) shares her journey through medieval literature and its lasting impact on her future plans:

During my time in England, I got to focus my studies on medieval literature. For my research project, I researched Geoffry Chaucer’s influence on a particular section of Edmund Spencer’s Faerie Queene, and in my primary tutorial I got to survey a broad variety of middle English literature and linguistics. Oxford was an incredible location to study these topics as I not only got to utilise the University’s unique access to medieval manuscripts and research materials, but I also got to experience crazy cool things like reading a 15th century text next door to a building constructed in the 15th century or walking along an English footpath whilst brainstorming an essay about Chaucer, that great English travel poet. I was stretched to work outside of my usual major (I fulfilled the requirements for an English minor whilst at SCIO), yet the skills I learned in research and the opportunity to explore more of linguistics will provide a helpful springboard for me as I currently plan to work in Speech Language Pathology research. Yet some of my fondest memories and most enduring takeaways from my time at SCIO will be God’s goodness to me in providing a wonderful community and a place which fast came to feel like home. The Vines and my church community were a wonderful source of encouragement and continually spurred me on to the Lord, whether that was through a ridiculously silly conversation over dinner, folk dancing on a sunset-washed lawn, or worshipping around a living room guitar and a candlelit compline service. The beauty and slowness of life and the constancy of a Jesus who holds me were incredible gifts I shall not soon forget.

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SCIO wishes the prize winners a very happy and successful future! Your achievements are a testament to your hard work and dedication. We hope you continue to carry forward the values and knowledge gained during your time in Oxford. Come back to visit soon!

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