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Rory Jones—a history and German major—was active academically, especially in his Paideia cohort, as well as outside the classroom. His intentional integration of academics with extracurricular activities left him with a desire to tell incoming students to “take time to find yourself—it’s worth it.”
While Rory’s main focus at Southwestern was academics, he was also able to try different things, “many of which I would never have gotten to do at a bigger school,” he says. “I played an NCAA sport (tennis); anywhere else, I would not have been able to say that … Southwestern is just a completely different experience.” He advises new students to get involved early on, saying, “You’ll have more regrets about the things you didn’t do than the things you did.”
He was also involved in campus organizations like Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and Student Foundation, where he led a team of five in promoting and fundraising for the Pirate Bike Program. Meanwhile, he cultivated his passion for history as an intern with both the Williamson Museum Collections and the Dallas Holocaust Museum.
But the highlight of Rory’s Southwestern Experience, he says, was his trip to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico with the Destination: Service (alternative Spring Break) Program. He says, “Going in, I knew maybe five of the group of 20 … I feel like we all became a family through the work we did, cooking all our own meals, camping out under the stars in 30-degree weather—it was awesome!”
Rory is currently living in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany, and is an English teaching assistant at the Ganztagsschule Friedrichstadt. As a Fulbright Scholar, he is also continuing research he began when working on his German honors thesis.
Following his Fulbright commitment, Rory is considering becoming a high school teacher, but is “keeping his options open.” Whatever he chooses to do, he feels highly prepared by Southwestern. “I know how to read critically and write analytically, which, if you break it down, is the essence of many jobs today,” he says.
He also hopes to compete on an Ultimate Frisbee team when he returns to the U.S. “I bleed Ultimate!”
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Prestigious Fulbright Teaching Assistantship awards provide recipients with an initiation into the idea of cultural ambassadorship.They emphasize understanding cultures in depth and inspire the same kind of curiosity about and respect for others that we are working toward at Southwestern.