The Winter-Cohen Family Fellows Program at the Brueggeman Center offers up to 10 students each year the chance to combine a year of independent study with an international immersion experience. The program is highly competitive and draws from graduate and undergraduate students from all three colleges and a wide range of disciplines.
The students are chosen based upon the strength of their proposal, a sense that they have the maturity to do independent research and travel and the potential for their project to be transformative for them and for others. GPA plays only a minor role as they need only have a 3.0 to apply. There have been many cases through the years where being a Brueggeman Fellow has been the catalyst to turn someone who was drifting along satisfied with a B average into a very different type of student who is engaged more completely not only in their Brueggeman work but in all their studies. We look for students we believe have the maximum potential to be transformed by the experience.
The Fellows program has two goals:
1) Research. Our goal is that the students will learn about a topic of their choosing from a global perspective.
2) Immersion. The immersion experience is exponentially impactful because each Fellow has to not only plan every aspect of their trip but eventually get off a plane somewhere in the world and deal with what they have created. The totality of the experience is transformative - in ways we can see immediately and in ways that will manifest in unexpected ways in the future.
3) Self-Confidence. During every step of the program we work to help students develop a new level of self-confidence by challenging them to conceive, plan and complete a program that begins with a yearlong independent study, followed by an immersion trip to engage in research and service. They must plan every aspect of this trip themselves; create the research network of people and institutions with whom they will work; plan all the travel, housing and logistics details; and at some point step off a plane alone somewhere in the world and deal with what they have created. This entails managing an intense and ever-changing set of challenges which includes the demands of the research but also language issues, food, illness, transportation, loneliness and culture adaptation.
To date we have sent students to over 55 different countries. Some of these are among the most challenging places on earth.
Each year's cohort is chosen from all three of Xavier's colleges. They spend an intensive year engaged in research in their individual projects but also as part of an interdisciplinary learning community with all the other Fellows. We all become each other's teachers.
The program is high risk and high reward. The Center's hope is that the Fellows program will offer intellectual, moral and spiritual self-discovery and growth that will change the lives of the Fellows in ways we can only begin to imagine.
Our retrospective is entitled "Take a Risk, Be Transformed." We believe this is fundamental to every dialogical encounter and collaborative engagement in which the Center is involved but standing alone above all of those with whom we work are the Fellows. They truly are the best example of those who take the risks and are transformed. To hear about the impact of these experiences in their own words see the "Brueggeman Moments" section.
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