The Brueggeman Center at Xavier University offers students a chance to apply for a Brueggeman Fellowship. The fellowship has no set curriculum or format other than the fact that each fellow creates his/her own project and takes on the responsibility for its completion. The projects range from research projects to photo-journalistic essays to creative writing projects. Fellows are challenged by participation in Center activities and by interaction with each other. All the projects involve travel to a foreign country, which Fellows make alone, without the comforts of the typical university study abroad programs.
Fellows have traveled to Africa, South America, Europe and Asia. Through these immersion experiences they are changed and the paths upon which their lives have been set are altered in significant ways. The hope is that the fellowships might provide students with an opportunity for intellectual, moral and spiritual self-discovery which will impact them for the rest of their lives.
Katy Baldwin, a junior at Xavier from Perrysburg, is majoring in English with minors in Natural Science and Spanish. “I am exploring the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, and the ten-year war that resulted,” says Katy. “My particular interest lies with the disparity between the governmental control and economic success found in central Kathmandu and the extreme poverty and oppression of the rural farmers in the West, and how the Maoists tried to reconcile that difference. My primary question asks if the Maoists were fighting for the uneducated peoples, or exploiting the most desperate communities, and I will examine the political, economic and social affects of this war.”
Mary C. Ansbro, a senior biology major from Columbus is in the honors program. She is involved in many service projects both at school, with the Xavier University Student Occupational Therapy Association, and through her church work in Appalachia. Mary is applying to various law schools and hopes to become a prosecutor. With her fellowship Mary studied Tropical Biodiversity and International Conservation in Costa Rica over Christmas break, staying at a jungle camp on the Osa Peninsula.
Kate Holley is a senior from St. Louis in the Philosophy, Politics, and the Public honors program, majoring in history and minoring in Gender and Diversity Studies, Political Science, and Peace Studies. “In the spring of 2007, I took three courses from the London School of Economics, and interned in the British Parliament,” Kate says. “For my final dissertation at the LSE, I researched the independence movements in several African countries that had been ruled by the crown. My fascination grew when I learned how the women of those countries played such significant roles in independence movements. Through the Fellowship, I am researching women’s roles in community development in Ghana. I am especially interested in educational programs for women and how they allow women to make positive strides within their communities. Often there is very little emphasis placed on the achievements women can and do make to better their societies. I hope that through my research, I can more fully understand and appreciate women’s contributions within Ghana.”
Jennifer Komos from Macedonia, OH will graduate from Xavier this month with Honors as a University Scholar with a degree in French and a minor in psychology. “With the Fellowship, I will travel to Africa to study education and the empowerment of women,” Jennifer says. “Women’s issues are absolutely essential to address in our globalized world, as throughout history. My plan is to go to Karen, just outside of Nairobi, Kenya, where I will stay at Hekima Place, a girls’ home and school. Orphaned by HIV/ AIDS, the girls range in grade level from elementary school to high school.”
Debbie Westman is a junior at Xavier in nursing. Originally from Columbus, she moved to Cincinnati to attend school. “My research for the Fellowship is centered on the idea that globalization has caused many positives and negatives in our world,” says Debbie. “Many countries have been greatly assisted technologically, politically, and industrially; however, many developing countries still lack the ability to protect their people from infectious diseases that are easily curable. Many of these countries lack the resources to do so. As a nursing major, I have been and will continue to be exposed to curing and preventing infectious diseases. By comparing the clinical scene here in the U.S. to a developing country, I hope to expose the issue of the inequalities people face daily.”
Brian Cantwell of Lakewood, OH is a senior double major in economics and the Philosophy, Politics, and the Public honors program. He is studying various political economy issues surrounding China’s rise as a global power, including equity, democracy, economic and political reform, laws and regulations, trade policies, international diplomacy, human rights, and environmental degradation. He has interned in Washington, D.C. with former Sen. Mike DeWine, Cong. Steve Chabot, and the government relations department of FirstEnergy Corp. He is planning to study at Fudan University in Shanghai, China during the summer of 2008. He hopes to continue his interest and further his studies in China by pursuing a career in international law.
Brett Simmons is a junior from Columbus, IN majoring in theology and economics, with minors in history and Gender and Diversity Studies. He says, “I intend to travel to Tanzania in order to study the use of microcredit in Africa. Microcredit has received much press in the past year as a means to lift countless people out of poverty, culminating in Dr. Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank receiving the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for their work in Bangladesh. Although such efforts have worked well in Bangladesh and in other parts of the world, I plan to assess what the effect has been in Africa and whether different cultures and societal institutions may inhibit the success outside Asia.”
Nazly Mamedova is a junior from Uzbekistan majoring in international affairs. This summer she will travel to Tehran to research a practice called Muta, temporary marriage found in the Shi'ia sect of Islam. After returning from the Fellowship, she will participate in a fall semester in London through a Xavier program with the Washington Center in DC. In London, she will take classes at the Middle East Institute. “Unlike many students here in the U.S., I knew what I wanted to do since I was in middle school,” says Nazly. “I always wanted to be a lawyer; however, my interest in Immigration Law developed since I came to the U.S. My English was acceptable to make translations, and I have been translating in Hamilton County Immigration Court.”