The Magellan Project
2010 Heiskell Award Winner: Study Abroad
Nomination submitted by: Tori Haring-Smith, President
Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) was selected to receive a Heiskell Award to recognize its progressive approach to study abroad, providing funding for short term experiences in an effort to spark interest in semester-long study abroad experiences. Each year, more than 30 students receive support for three-week credit-bearing courses that are led by faculty during the January intersession. After building confidence during the short term trip, students are encouraged to pursue year- or semester-long programs and are able to take their financial aid with them.
The college also offers opportunities for more adventurous students to craft individualized research projects under the umbrella of the Magellan Project-a growing collection of alumni- and foundation-funded initiatives. Recent activities funded through the Magellan Project include a study of public health care delivery on the politically divided island of Cyprus, work with street children in Paraguay, and an exploration of hieroglyphics in Egypt. Grants usually range from $3,000-$5,000. Students are required to write a project proposal and personal statement, as well as a budget that includes a personal financial commitment in addition to requesting Magellan funds. "The Magellan Project encourages students to take initiative so that they can develop self confidence," says Tori Haring-Smith, President of Washington & Jefferson College.
Using short-term programs as catalysts for semester-long study and providing a design-your-own option for independent overseas experiences, Washington & Jefferson College is a leader in innovative study abroad programming.