FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Loyola University Chicago Announces
2017-2018 Ricci Scholars
Five Loyola Students Awarded
Prestigious Study Abroad Scholarship
CHICAGO, February 2, 2017—Loyola University Chicago has selected its 2017–2018 Ricci Scholars, a program that offers a scholarship to highly qualified students who spend their junior year studying and conducting cross-cultural research at Loyola’s John Felice Rome Center and the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies. Students prepare their research proposals and apply for this unique scholarship as sophomores, conduct field research and travel as juniors, and complete their projects as seniors.
Five Loyola sophomores have been chosen as the next group of Ricci Scholars: Melissa Chiaro, Mark Neuhengen, John Schmisek, Jacob Sierra, and Jessica Xi. Each of these scholars has performed at the highest level of their class academically. Throughout the program, the students will be supported by faculty mentors from Loyola. During their stays in Rome and Beijing, they will participate in traditional coursework while also 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. 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 in two cultures within the span of nine months—Western European culture in Rome and Eastern 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 and brings together the cultures of East and West in an educational context that reflects the complexities and opportunities of the 21st century.
2017–2018 Ricci Scholars:
Melissa Chiaro, a member of the Honors Program from Griffith, Indiana, is majoring in international studies with minors in French and marketing. She has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an innovative project on the so-called “Korean Wave,” the recent exportation of K-pop music and Korean television dramas to Italy and China, and its reception by the publics of those nations. Through interviews with university students, fan club members, and academics, Chiaro hopes to uncover general knowledge of and attitudes toward these cultural movements in Rome and Beijing.
Mark Neuhengen hails from Niles, Illinois, and is pursuing a double major in history and religious studies, as well as minors in Catholic studies, Islamic studies, and Arabic language and culture. In line with his study of religions, he will focus on relics and the ways in which the Italian Roman Catholics and Chinese Buddhists interact with these objects to illuminate the similarities and differences between and within religious traditions.
John Schmisek, a member of the Honors Program from Winnetka, Illinois, is majoring in international studies and French. He will pursue a comparative study of the largely unexplored underground independent music scenes in Rome and Beijing. In particular, Schmisek intends to examine how the profound changes in the way music is created, distributed, and consumed during the past decade have affected musicians, listeners, and the community spaces of music scenes in the two cities.
Jacob Sierra hails from Hillside, Illinois, and is pursuing a major in marketing and a minor in religious studies. For his cross-cultural project, Jacob will carry out a comparative exploration of the union of art and religion that focuses on the role of public and personal statues in individual worship in Italy and China. His aim is to shed light on the more intimate and spiritual relationship between people and statues in the Roman Catholic and Chinese Buddhist traditions.
Jessica Xi from Lakeville, Minnesota, is another member of the Honors Program and is majoring in international studies and history with minors in leadership studies and Chinese. Her project will look at one dimension of globalization by examining a comparatively new group of self-initiated expatriates in Rome and Beijing. In particular, Xi will focus on English-speaking British, American, and Australian citizens and the impact of recent developments in their countries of origins. She hopes to discuss the effects of change—such as Brexit, the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and the decay of the Barrier Reef—on their respective communities abroad and engagement in homeland affairs.
About Loyola University Chicago
Founded in 1870, Loyola University Chicago is one of the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic universities, with nearly 16,500 students. More than 11,000 undergraduates 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 11 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, Graduate School, and Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Ranked a top 100 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 or @LoyolaNewsroom.
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