Longwood University junior Monica Vroomen will study at the University of Oxford this summer in a highly selective fellowship sponsored by the English-Speaking Union of the United States (ESU).
Vroomen was chosen for the ESU’s British Universities Summer School Scholarship program, which is primarily for high-school English teachers but also involves a small number of college undergraduates. The program accepted only six U.S. college students last year and this year is expected to enroll no more than six, said Alice Uhl, ESU’s international programs manager.
Vroomen, who is majoring in teaching English as a second language, will study from July 5-25 in the "History, Politics & Society" summer school at Exeter College, one of Oxford’s oldest and most prestigious colleges.
She will attend lectures with other students and educators in the mornings and in the afternoons will take two graduate seminars, "Political Economy in a Globalized World" and "The History and Politics of Humanitarian Aid," with a smaller group of about a dozen students. Students will include not only ESU participants but also students and teachers who have come from all over the world to participate in the summer school, part of Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education.
Oxford, founded in 1096, is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world’s second-oldest surviving university. Exeter College, where Vroomen will live, was founded in 1314.
Vroomen’s fellowship, which covers all expenses including airfare, was awarded by the ESU’s Richmond Branch. In the two-tier application process, a student has to first be approved by a branch, then be approved by Oxford or Edinburgh University, another university participating in the program. Vroomen was approved by the Richmond Branch after submitting paperwork and being interviewed in Richmond in mid-February.
"It’s a very competitive process, and Monica is a truly deserving, top-notch student," said Matt Cheek, scholarship chair for the Richmond Branch.
Vroomen, from Alexandria, was the only student to be awarded a fellowship by the Richmond Branch, which annually awards up to three fellowships for students and teachers. She is the only student from a Virginia college or university to be chosen for the program.
Vroomen is a member of the Cormier Honors College and president of the Political Science Club and has volunteered with the Office of International Affairs, in which she worked with students from numerous countries. She will study this fall at the University of Nantes in France and will student-teach in spring 2016.
About 50 students and teachers nationwide participated last year in the ESU program, which started in 1957. That number is expected to be about 55 this year. In addition to Oxford and Edinburgh universities, teachers, but not students, also may opt to study at Shakespeare’s Globe, London.