On Campus: Student News

Morehouse Exchange Student Promotes Diversity

Amanda Figueroa ‘10

Southwestern is hosting its first exchange student this spring as part of an “Engaged Diversity” project the University is participating in along with Dillard University in New Orleans, Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Morehouse College in Atlanta and Rhodes College in Memphis.

Jeremy Battle is a senior from Morehouse College who is majoring in political science and hopes to pursue a career in public policy.

Battle says his experiences growing up in Brighton, Alabama, led him to believe in the importance and power of diversity. Brighton, near Birmingham, is home to 3,640 residents, 89 percent of whom are African-American. He did not experience much diversity in high school until the summer after his junior year, when he attended a four-week college preparatory program at Stanford University.

“I loved it,” Battle says of his experience at Stanford. “Getting out and seeing what the rest of the world looked like was everything I dreamed about as a kid.”

Battle performed so well at the Stanford program that faculty members there urged him to continue his education at the university. He was accepted at Stanford and spent his first two years there before transferring to Morehouse, which is the only all-male historically Black institution of higher learning in America.

Battle decided to spend his last semester at Southwestern in part because of the different experience it would offer him, but also because it would enable him to be closer to his wife, who is a student at The University of Texas School of Law.

Battle says he has enjoyed meeting the faculty and students at Southwestern. “I have been quite wowed by the hospitality and incredible welcoming spirit that people have here,” he says.

Battle has already given back to the Southwestern community. He performed a powerful vocal solo at the Martin Luther King Community Dinner in January and is forming a contemporary gospel choir for students, faculty and staff members.

And, he is building connections between Southwestern and Morehouse by doing an independent study project that involves political science, sociology and economics faculty members from the two schools.

“I want to share with the Southwestern community who I am in every way,” Battle says. “By doing so, I believe I will accomplish the mission of the Engaged Diversity project. I am very glad to have had this opportunity to top off my undergraduate career.”

Battle is the first student to take advantage of the student exchange component of the Engaged Diversity project, which is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation. In addition to his academic studies, Battle is working as a program specialist at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission this semester. His position involves helping the commission implement a new long-term care program for Medicaid recipients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Battle plans to begin working full-time for the commission this summer before pursuing graduate studies in public policy. He hopes to attend graduate school at either Princeton or Harvard. Last summer, he participated in a program designed to prepare students for graduate work at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Southwestern Student Receives National Internship Award

Caitlin Cooper, a junior majoring in communication studies, was selected to receive the 2008 Academic Internship Student Achievement Award from the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA). She received the award at the 2008 CEIA Annual Conference held March 9–11 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Cooper received the award for work she did as an intern with Austin-based National Instruments in the summer of 2007. She worked in the Direct Marketing department, where she took it upon herself to expand and maintain the direct marketing intranet site that improved communication between the company’s corporate headquarters and its global offices. During her internship, Cooper was assisted by Emily Taylor ’07, who now works for National Instruments.

CEIA assists colleges and universities that offer cooperative education and internship programs, and more than 700 members of the organization were eligible to nominate their internship students for the award. This was the second time in three years that a Southwestern student has received the Academic Internship Student Achievement Award. Melinda Smothermon Helsley ’06 received the award in 2006 for her work as an intern with the U.S. State Department.

Southwestern Student Volunteers in Greece

Many Southwestern students volunteer in the Georgetown area, but one Southwestern student found herself helping people in Greece last fall.

Senior Aine McVey went to Greece for the College Year in Athens, which is a study abroad program focused on the history and civilization of Greece. Just before she arrived in Athens, more than 3,000 separate wildfires had ravaged the country, killing 68 people and leaving 4,000 homeless. The fires spared Athens, but regions just six miles outside of the city were burnt.

“The air was really smoky the whole time I was there,” McVey says.

McVey was one of four students from the College Year in Athens program who volunteered to participate in volunteer relief efforts organized by a Greek organization called Ecumenica. The students delivered relief packages to some villages on the Peloponnesus peninsula that were hardest-hit by the fires.

“Most of the villagers seemed surprised that American students studying abroad would want to help them,” McVey says. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to help.”

Seniors Martin Stanberry (left) and Andrew Mayo (right) used a King Creativity Fund grant to host a conference on campus this spring titled “Building Bridges: Discussing the Realities of an Israeli-Palestinian Peace.” Speakers at the conference included Ibtisam Barakat, a Palestinian who grew up in Ramallah, West Bank; and Mark Braverman, a Jewish American who has devoted himself to working for peace between the State of Israel and the Palestinian people. Bob Snyder, a political science professor at Southwestern (not pictured), also spoke at the conference.