Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago Announces 2011-2012 Ricci Scholars
Six Loyola Students Awarded Prestigious Study Abroad Scholarship

CHICAGO, February 8, 2011 – Loyola University Chicago has selected its 2011-2012 Ricci Scholars, students who will travel to Italy and China during their junior year to study, travel, and conduct cross-cultural research. The Ricci Scholars program offers a scholarship to highly qualified students who spend their junior year at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center and the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies. Students apply for this unique and prestigious scholarship as sophomores; prepare their research proposals, conduct field research, and travel as juniors; and then complete their projects as seniors at Loyola.

Six Loyola sophomores have been chosen as the next group of Ricci Scholars. The cohort includes: Debbie Marian de Lara, Michael Forti, Kyle Geissler, Stephanie Jarosz, Vincent Nguyen, and Emily Storms. Each of these scholars has performed at the highest levels of their class academically, and each enjoys the support of a faculty mentor. During their stays in Rome and Beijing, they will participate in regular classes, in addition to carrying out their Ricci Scholars projects.

Launched in the fall of 2007, the Ricci Scholarship program is supported by the generous gift of a donor to Loyola University Chicago. The scholarship covers round-trip travel, language tutorials, program seminars, research expenses, and study travel. Unlike other international experiences, the Ricci Program allows students to engage two cultures within the span of nine months-Western European culture in Rome and East Asian culture in Beijing–and challenges them to integrate these experiences with a third culture, that of the United States. This triple cultural immersion, achieved through a coordinated effort linking Chicago, Rome, and Beijing, is currently unparalleled by any other study-abroad program. The Ricci Scholar program brings together the cultures of East and West in an educational context that reflects the complexities and opportunities of the 21st century.

2011-2012 Ricci Scholars:

A major in molecular biology, Debbie Marian de Lara plans a career in medicine. Since her arrival in Chicago from the Philippines in 2007, Debbie has achieved an impressive record of accomplishments, both in her academic work and in her community service. Her proposed examination of the bio-cultural factors that influence the incidence of child obesity in Italy and China clearly reflects her career goals as well as her family experiences. In her research abroad, Debbie hopes to illuminate the role of lifestyle and food choices, popular attitudes towards obesity, and other cultural values in shaping the dimensions of the problem and public responses to it.

Michael Forti, a member of the Honors Program, and a Crystal Lake, Illinois native, is pursuing a double major in English and art history at Loyola. He has been awarded the Ricci scholarship to study how the Jesuits employed the visual arts in advancing their spiritual and educational missions in Europe and China. To this end, Michael will look at their use of art to convey religious teaching, as well as the ways Jesuit artists adapted their artistic style to accommodate different audiences in Rome and Beijing.

Kyle Geissler is a theater major and sociology minor from Hermantown, Minnesota. For his cross-cultural project, Kyle is proposing to examine the formation and perpetuation of gay communities in Rome and Beijing. He intends to use his research findings as the basis for a play script that will serve as the capstone of his scholarship.

Stephanie Jarosz, a political science major, hails from Downers Grove, Illinois. Her timely project proposes a comparative analysis of governmental and private responses to natural disasters in Italy and China. More specifically, Stephanie will look at recent earthquakes in Sichuan Province and the region of Abruzzi in order to assess institutional reactions and relief efforts in the two countries.

Vincent Nguyen is an international studies and political science double-major from Dallas, Texas, who has compiled a near perfect academic record in his first year at Loyola. In tandem with his minors in sociology and gender studies, Vincent’s academic interests have informed his project, which will examine the effects of generation and age on the formation of female gender identity in the two very different urban settings of Rome and Beijing.

Emily Storms, another member of Loyola’s Honors Program, and anArden Hills, Minnesota native, is pursuing a double major in political science and advertising and public relations, which she is combining with minors in international studies and history. For her project, Emily is proposing to examine how the textbooks used in Italian and Chinese primary education have constructed and represented the 20th century history of their respective countries. By looking at their treatment, and/or neglect, of key historical figures and pivotal moments and events in the recent past, she aims to provide a contemporary snapshot of how educational authorities frame students’ understanding of their nation’s past and thus their national identity.

About the John Felice Rome Center
Established in 1962, the Loyola University Chicago John Felice Rome Center was founded on and maintains the philosophy that, in our increasingly global civilization, there is immeasurable value in studying abroad in an environment that places the academic classroom experience and direct experiences of the local culture in a dialectic relationship through travel and on-site courses. Students at the Rome Center are able to pursue more than 40 academic courses, with a focus on Rome and Italy in their Mediterranean and/or European contexts.

About the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies
The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC) was founded in 1998 by the China Province of the Jesuits. Students live on campus at the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and take intensive language courses, classes, and seminars on topics of Chinese culture taught by senior professors from China’s top universities. In addition to lectures by leading Chinese authorities on business, politics, and culture, the TBC sponsors excursions to the far corners of China, during which student travel is carefully integrated with the academic program. The center is headed by a Jesuit, Ron Anton, S.J., who founded BiMBA, a Beijing-based MBA program, as well as this program. Father Anton has become a respected advocate of China study in both China and the West. Loyola University Chicago serves as the home campus in the United States for the TBC, which can accommodate more than 100 students.

About Loyola University Chicago
Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago, founded in 1870, is the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic university. Enrollment is nearly 16,000 students, which includes almost 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s 10 schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, communication, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, continuing and professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 71 undergraduate majors, 71 undergraduate minors, 85 master’s degrees, and 31 doctoral degrees. Loyola is consistently ranked among the “top national universities” by U.S. News & World Report, and the University is among a select group of universities recognized for commun

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