College of Charleston professors are known for their dedication to undergraduate research and mentorship; they play a crucial role in helping students pursue competitive opportunities, from national awards to graduate programs. But certain organizations in our broader Charleston community have been enormously supportive as well, and no group has done more for CofC Honors students than our local Rotarians. Over the past decade, over a dozen Honors students have pursued graduate studies abroad through the generous support provided by Rotary Foundation Global Grants. These ambassadorial scholarships provide a minimum–yes, a minimum–of $30,000 for students to pursue graduate education overseas in one of six areas of focus, from Peace & Conflict Resolution and Disease Prevention, to Water & Sanitation and Economic & Community Development. Though this level of financial support is extraordinarily generous, the kinds of professional and personal support that potential Rotary Scholars receive during the application process–and that Rotary Global Grant Scholars receive once overseas from local Rotary clubs in their host country–is something on which one could never place a price tag.
The Honors College currently has 4 Rotary Scholars abroad and 1 on his way; this year, we have 10 new students applying for Global Grants. These students will compete against peers at other district universities such as USC and the Citadel for roughly six awards. Given the dedication of our local Rotarians–led by incoming District Governor Lou Mello–and a National Awards office at the College that helps students polish and hone their application materials, we like our chances. We are so grateful that our students have the opportunity to participate in Rotary’s broader mission of service over self.
Please read on for a dispatch from Honors Alum and current Rotary Global Grants Scholar Justin Hendrix (’12), who is currently studying for a Masters of Arts in Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation at the University of Sussex, just outside of Brighton in England.
Anthropology Abroad: Dispatch from Justin Hendrix (’12)
The Anthropology of Development program is unique–one of the few in the world–and The University of Sussex houses one of the largest Anthropology departments focused on Social Anthropology in the United Kingdom. The anthropological perspective on development allows for a broad range of study, encompassing topics ranging from the ethics of anthropological engagement to Fair Trade coffee. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, I have been able to travel around Sussex to speak to various clubs, and I have been helping with the overnight shifts at a night shelter my church here has been holding for homeless men during the winter.
For my dissertation, I am researching the construction of European identity and its role in the exclusion and marginalization of Roma populations, focusing on Eastern Europe and the Balkans. My interest in Roma stems from work I have done with an orphan care foundation in Romania, where I have also worked with Roma communities. After I complete my studies, I plan to move to Romania to continue my work with Livada Orphan Care. The Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship has given me an opportunity to study in a field that will be directly relevant to work I have done and will do immediately after the completion of my studies.