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2008 Graduates head to interesting and prestigious destinations

Harvard University, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and the Fulbright Scholar Program are among the prestigious organizations associated with the graduate education plans of members of the class of 2008.


Sarah HarcourtSARAH HARCOURT, an elementary education and religion major from La Grange, Ky., was accepted to Harvard University graduate programs in both education and theology.

The summer after her junior year, Harcourt completed a two-month internship with the Harvard Pluralism Project and conducted research for World Religions, a resource for academicians and others interested in religious diversity. This experience ignited her interest in studying at Harvard on the graduate level.

She applied to the graduate school of education for a master’s degree in special studies, and to the divinity school for a masters of theological studies. She was accepted into both, and although she thought about seeking a dual degree, she decided to enter the divinity school.

Harcourt plans to teach elementary school. “I’m going to be studying what teachers should be doing with religion in the classroom as a category of cultural relevance in students’ lives,” she said. “I want a chance to go out there and do that. That’s a part of me and what I should be doing.”

After gaining classroom experience, Harcourt would like to pursue a Ph.D. in education with the goal of becoming a college professor. “That’s where I could go to make a difference,” she said.

Austin PriceAUSTIN PRICE completed a double major in French and anthropology, along with a minor in business administration, and will enter the master’s degree program in the Graduate School for Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh this fall.

Price, from Marietta, Ohio, will focus on international development at Pittsburgh, with a minor in human security and a regional concentration in Francophone Africa. He’s spending this summer completing an internship through the Sister Cities Commission, working at a non-governmental agency in France dealing with immigrant issues.

His long-range goal is to work in international development in one of the sub-Saharan African nations, an interest that was sparked by working with Congolese refugees in Lexington through the Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

“I look on international development as a means of achieving a global stewardship,” Price said. “Through my French studies, I’ve acquired a special interest in Francophone populations in Africa. The good thing about my degree from Pittsburgh is that it will allow me to work for NGOs, for the government, or in private consulting.”

Mallory PowellMALLORY POWELL, a Spanish and international affairs major from Lawrenceburg, Ky., was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to study in Vietnam for the 2008/09 academic year. Powell is one of 10 English teaching assistants selected for the inaugural Fulbright program in Vietnam.

She will be in Vietnam for 11 months, where she’ll teach English to college students and students in a teacher training program, and study Vietnamese.

Powell’s interest in Vietnam was sparked in a class taught by political science professor Jeff Freyman, and study abroad experiences helped her gain the confidence to apply for the Fulbright.

“My two trips abroad were integral in inspiring me to travel more,” she said. “I went to Spain for May term my first year and for a term last year. That empowered me to take a step to go even farther away.”

A volunteer with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Powell’s plans for the future include working with immigrants or refugees, focusing on the human side of international affairs, rather than the political.

Lauren StrohmeierLAUREN STROHMEIER, a political science major and history minor from Owenton, Ky., will pursue a master’s degree in global politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science beginning this fall.

When she came to Transylvania, her thoughts centered on domestic political concerns, but a study abroad experience with the Hansard Scholars Program in London and her Transy classes changed her perspective.

“I interned with a member of the British Parliament and really enjoyed it,” Strohmeier said. “That experience, and several of my classes with (political science professor) Dr. Freyman, changed my focus to international politics and issues.”

Strohmeier is looking forward to her London School of Economics experience as a way of narrowing her interests to a specific career goal.

“There’s a whole big spectrum of things I’m interested in right now, including economic issues in third-world countries and the strategizing and marketing of political candidates,” she said. “I also feel very compassionate about world poverty and what the rest of the world can do to help people in difficult situations.”

Chris MooneyCHRIS MOONEY, a mathematics major from Lexington, was accepted into the Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of Iowa as a Presidential Graduate Fellow.

The University of Iowa was the winner of the 2008 American Mathematical Society Award for an Exemplary Program or Achievement, and the Presidential Graduate Fellowship brings 30 of the most promising doctoral students to the university each year.

As a first-year student, Mooney planned to major in sociology and mathematics.

“My father was a professor of sociology, so my plan was to do demography work or quantitative sociology,” he said, “but I added a physics minor, and then history, so I ended up with three minors and a major in math.”

The summer after his sophomore year, Mooney conducted research at Williams College and realized that research was the work he wanted to pursue. After his junior year, he completed research in algebra at Central Michigan University.

“I got to be in the same room as some of the greats. It was very rewarding,” he said.

With a focus in algebra and group theory, Mooney plans to become a college professor.

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