King's Junior Participates in Prestigious Honors Program
Rebecca Au Selected for ISI Mentoring Fellowship
By Madison Peace '12
This past spring, King’s junior Rebecca Au had the distinction of being selected as a fellow for the 2013-2014 Intercollegiate Studies Institute Honors Program, a highly selective one-year mentoring fellowship which 50 undergraduate students from across the country are invited to participate in each year.
Au, a native of New Jersey, transferred to King’s after completing one year at Rutgers University and doing a semester of classes through King's Online. She is studying Media, Culture, and the Arts and is a member of the House of Corrie ten Boom.
Au applied for the ISI Honors Program in January after being encouraged by fellow Kingsian Rachelle DeJong ’13, a 2012-2013 ISI Honors Fellow. In April, Au found out she was selected. Over the summer, she was required to read four conservative classics: The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk, Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver, Witness by Whittaker Chambers, and The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek. "It was hard doing all the reading," Au said, because she spent the summer teaching English in Hong Kong.
In August, the Honors Program kicked off with a weeklong conference at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, VA. The theme for the conference was "Rights and Duties," and the fellows discussed the four books they read over the summer.
In addition to the conference, ISI holds weekend colloquia regionally throughout the year. In October, Au will travel to Baltimore for a colloquium on liberty and community using selections from works that include Robert Nisbet’s The Quest for Community and Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone.
Each fellow is also paired with an academic mentor whom they can email for career advice or with philosophical questions. Au is paired with Dr. Molly Flynn, a professor of philosophy at Assumption College. Au said that so far she has emailed with Dr. Flynn about the books they are reading together and has also asked a question about how human beings come to know things.
The ISI Honors Program is cost-free for fellows, as each student is sponsored by a donor or a group of donors. Au’s fellowship is made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Lee Hanley, who sit on The King’s College Board of Trustees. Au said that she is grateful for the Hanley’s generosity.
Although Au is the only King’s student to participate in the program this year, other King’s students, such as DeJong and John Hundscheid ’11, have been fellows in the past. Other fellows from this year’s program hail from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Catholic, Ave Maria, Gordon, and Baylor, among other institutions.
Although she is only partly through the program, Au already thinks that the experience has been valuable. "One of the benefits of the program is that it puts you in touch with the ISI community," she said. ISI is an educational organization founded in 1953 by journalist Frank Chodorov that aims to inspire college students to "discover, embrace, and advance the principles that make America free and prosperous." With 10,000 student members on over 1,500 college campuses, ISI is a powerful network.
Au also said that her involvement with ISI has made her see that "at its heart, conservatism is about humility" and not thinking that man has the answers to every problem. "I have come away from the summer with a much deeper respect for tradition," she said.
Au also said that the program has been "very personally enriching," that it has made contributing to the academic conversation much more accessible for her, and that it has made her consider graduate school more seriously.
The application process for the 2014-2015 program is not yet open, but interested students should visit isi.org for more details.
Madison Peace is the Assistant to the Editor at National Review. She graduated from The King's College in 2012.
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