FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Communication
Loyola University Chicago Announces 2013–2014 Ricci Scholars
Seven Loyola Students Awarded Prestigious Study-Abroad Scholarship
CHICAGO, January 29, 2013 – Loyola University Chicago has selected its 2013–2014 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.
Seven Loyola sophomores have been chosen as the next group of Ricci Scholars. The cohort includes: Christopher Benson, Jennifer Burghard, Zachary Davis, Virginia Jreisat, William Steffek, Corinne Whitaker, and Taha Zaffar.
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 Scholars program brings together the cultures of East and West in an educational context that reflects the complexities and opportunities of the 21st century.
2013–2014 Ricci Scholars:
Christopher Benson, a member of the Honors Program from Cincinnati, Ohio, is pursuing an ambitious range of studies at Loyola including majors in history, sociology, and anthropology, along with minors in Arabic language and culture and Islamic world studies. He has been awarded a scholarship to study the norms of tax compliance and non-compliance in contemporary Italy and China. In his research, Christopher hopes to expand our understanding of a larger culture of compliance and the rule of law in the two countries.
Jennifer Burghard, an elementary education major and Catholic studies minor from Oak Forest, Illinois, has compiled a near perfect academic record in her first year at Loyola. In line with her academic interests, she intends to examine the ways in which technology is being employed in the educational systems of Rome and Beijing. Her comparative analysis of such usage in the two cities aims to contribute to a larger discussion of the ways technology can be most effectively incorporated into the educational environment to foster the skills students need in an increasingly connected world.
Zachary Davis, a double major in philosophy and theology with minors in Catholic studies, history, and pastoral studies, hails from Delaware, Ohio. For his cross-cultural project, Zachary is proposing a comparative examination of the role of Catholicism, both in its theology and in its actual funeral practices, in shaping the attitudes and actions of Italian and Chinese Catholics in the face of death.
Virginia Jreisat, a member of the Honors Program from Arlington Heights, Illinois, is majoring in human services and psychology with a minor in international studies. She will pursue a comparative examination of the meanings and understandings that Italian and Chinese women attach to everyday experiences of sexism in their respective societies. In this fashion, she hopes to illuminate the ways culture shapes women’s perceptions of sexism in different areas of the world.
William Steffek, a major in international business with a minor in Asian studies from Plano, Texas, is the first student to come into the program with a prior knowledge of the Chinese language. Through a limited number of in-depth case studies of young Italian and Chinese males and their home lives, William seeks to identify the similarities and differences in teenage male experiences and thereby contribute to our understanding of the effects and limits of globalization in diverse cultural settings.
Corinne Whitaker, a student in the Honors Program from Willoughby, Ohio, is majoring in economics and English with a minor in international studies. Blending her personal commitments and academic interests, Corinne’s project explores how vegetarian and vegan food choice ideology reflects eating habits and larger cultural ideals in Italy and China. Specifically, she proposes to study advocacy groups, vegetarian restaurants, and individual attitudes of diners to shed light on the motives for these food choices and the values they represent.
Taha Zaffar, a double major in psychology and social work from Schaumburg, Illinois, is interested in the attitudes of Italian and Chinese citizens toward class mobility and socioeconomic status. Taha has been awarded a scholarship to chronicle the narratives of university students as they search for employment under current global economic conditions. In the process, he will seek to illuminate their attitudes toward upward and downward mobility as well as the support systems they rely on in their pursuit of careers.
About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,000 students. Almost 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 countries call Loyola home. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy, as well as course locations in Beijing, China; Saigon-Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Vernon Hills, Illinois (Cuneo Mansion and Gardens); and a Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, Illinois. The University features 10 schools and colleges, including the Quinlan School of Business, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Stritch School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, School of Education, School of Law, School of Social Work, and Graduate School. Consistently ranked a top national university by U.S.News & World Report, Loyola is also among a select group of universities recognized for community service and engagement by prestigious national organizations like the Carnegie Foundation and the Corporation for National and Community Service. To learn more about Loyola, visit LUC.edu, “like” us at Facebook.com/LoyolaChicago, or follow us on Twitter via @LoyolaChicago.