OXFORD, Mississippi — Eleven students from the Croft Institute for International Studies have received awards from one of the largest and most prestigious scholarship programs at the University of Mississippi.
Croft Scholars, the institute’s most competitive freshmen, receive $8,000 a year for four years. Top sophomores receive the Rose Bui Memorial Scholarship for Academic Excellence, which is also worth $8,000 per year. Recipients must maintain a 3.4 GPA and remain in the International Studies major while in college.
Scholarship support has been a core part of the institute’s model since its founding 25 years ago, said Oliver Dinius, executive director of Croft. Since then, more than $1.6 million in Croft scholarships have been awarded to the institute’s nearly 200 graduate students.
The donors stipulated that half of the scholarships would go to residents of Mississippi in an effort to bring together the state’s top students with outstanding students from other parts of the United States.
“We want our Croft Scholars to be great ambassadors for the internationalization of the UM campus and embody the idea of a future global citizen,” Dinius said. “We hope they will follow in the footsteps of our Croft alumni – now nearly 700 of them – and embark on exciting and meaningful careers.
“We want them to use the skills they’ve learned here and build on them to become leaders who help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the country and the world today.”
The 2022-23 Croft Scholars are:
- John Amburgy, of Ocean Springs
- Calloway Bills, from Nesbit
- Claudia Guske, from Sanford, Florida
- Nathan Guy, from Laurel
- Sophia Prost, of St. Charles, Missouri
- Colin Richardson, from Jackson, Tennessee
- Lily Schauwecker from Starkville
- Abigail Shaw, from Labadieville, Louisiana
William Devenish, from Keswick, UK, is a Croft International Scholar. The recipients of the Rose Bui scholarship are Sarah Long, of Tupelo, and Betsy Vise, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
For the International Studies major, Croft students select an East Asian, European, Latin American, or Middle Eastern regional concentration, and a related foreign language before beginning their first semester in the program. Students declare a thematic concentration in global economics and affairs, global health, international governance and politics, or social and cultural identity in their second year.
Each year, the Croft Scholarship Committee interviews up to 25 admitted students for the awards. They consider as criteria the students’ demonstrated awareness of world events, their commitment to learning a foreign language, and their academic promise in the major.
Amburgy said the international studies major offers “seemingly endless and limitless possibilities.” As a first-generation student, he said the scholarship would not only allow him to go to college, but also to excel.
“The Croft scholarship is what made me say yes to the University of Mississippi,” Amburgy said. “The help provided by the scholarship means that I can focus on my studies and participate in organizations that I find fulfilling, rather than worrying about my financial commitments.”
Devenish, whose hometown is about an hour from Scotland, fell in love with college after his first visit. He plans to build a life for himself in the United States after graduation.
“I have lots of friends who live in the Jackson area – one of them frequented Croft and highly recommended it,” Devenish said. “The program appealed to me because it combined different study elements such as politics, economics and language study.
“I hope this scholarship will just help me to continue and focus on my studies without continually worrying about affordability; I generally fund myself right now. I am very grateful to Croft and the university for granting me this scholarship.
Prost focuses on global healthcare. The focus appealed to her as she plans to attend medical school.
“I plan to become a trauma surgeon or an emergency physician,” Prost said. “I would love to participate in medical missions and work with non-profit organizations that focus on caring for refugees in Europe.
“Studying abroad will give me the chance to discover other cultures, which will be useful for my future career. I am so grateful that this scholarship helps me fund these experiences.
Dinius said Croft Scholars are among the institute’s greatest ambassadors.
“In our 20 years of experience, the Croft Scholars have been some of the most engaged students in the program,” he said. “They keep in touch with the institute and with each other after graduation, and as alumni they are generous with their time and guidance to our current students.”