Two Clemson Honors students awarded Duckenfield scholarships


The Clemson University Honors College has selected two Duckenfield Scholars to travel to and study at Oxford University this upcoming summer.

The five-week summer program allows Honors students the opportunity to learn from Oxford professors in one of three study areas: environmental studies, English and English literature studies, or medieval studies.

In memory of her late husband and with the help of her family, Clemson alumna Marty Duckenfield worked with the Clemson University Honors College to create the Christopher J. Duckenfield Scholarship Program, which has sent more than 30 Honors students to travel to, study at and experience Oxford University in England since 2005. Students are selected through a stringent application process based on their talent, motivation, commitment and ability to attend St. Peter’s College Summer School at Magdalen College.

Owen Eastman

Owen Eastman

Eastman, a second-year National Scholar majoring in history and economics, will be studying medieval studies, hoping to deepen his understanding of the humanities and social sciences.

“Duckenfield was an experience that I had bookmarked as something I’d want to do from the moment I stepped on campus,” said Eastman. He added that the interdisciplinary aspect of the program initially drew him to the program, along with the length of the trip, because it allows him to still engage in local community service projects throughout the rest of his summer.

“The interdisciplinary nature of the program is certainly a strength: rather than being constrained to a single field, the curriculum jumps from politics to literature to economics for any given week,” added Eastman.

As a history buff, Eastman is especially interested in the historical aspect that comes with studying at Oxford.

“I’m excited for the unique opportunity to study history at the very place where it happened: Oxford itself began operating in the late twelfth century, and that, combined with the field excursions to medieval sites, allows for a much more immersive curriculum than a simple classroom experience.”

Heather Motro

Motro, a fourth-year environmental and natural resources major, will be studying English during her five weeks at Oxford.

“The Duckenfield scholarship gives me the opportunity to nurture my passion for literature, which I don’t often indulge as a science student,” said Motro. “J.R.R. Tolkien is my biggest literary inspiration. As a Duckenfield Scholar, I will study Tolkien and his contemporaries in the very place in which they wrote their great works.”

Motro added that she is especially looking forward to the Socratic teaching style used at Oxford and is eager to immerse herself in England’s culture.

The Florida native is hopeful that this experience will propel her aspirations of becoming an environmental writer and researcher while writing fiction or creative nonfiction about her findings.

“I am hoping that I will come out of the program a stronger, more sophisticated writer,” said Motro. “I’ll be using my brain in a very different way from what I’m used to in my science classes, and I’m hoping in my group we will challenge each other’s perspectives and push ourselves to think deeply.”

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