St. Catherine's director meets with Oxford-bound students

Naomi Freud, director of Studies for Visiting Students at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, visited the Dominican campus September 3 to meet with the recipients of The Thomas and Joanne Peterson Endowed Scholarship for Dominican Scholars at Oxford.

Victor Chan ’17, Donovan Hernandez ’16, Alexander Pollok ’17, and Kylie Walsh ’16 will spend a semester studying at the University of Oxford as part of a new agreement between Dominican and St. Catherine’s College, one of the University of Oxford’s 44 autonomous colleges and permanent private halls.

The program was launched by a gift from Marin residents Thomas and Joanne Peterson in support of The Thomas and Joanne Peterson Endowed Scholarship for Dominican Scholars at Oxford.

Not long after she arrived at Dominican in 2011, Dominican President Mary B. Marcy embarked on a plan to expand the University’s international programming by involving students with meaningful study abroad opportunities. Having earned both her Doctorate of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy from Oxford, President Marcy is aware of the unique educational experience that studying at Oxford will provide Dominican’s students.

“The impact of Tom and Joanne Peterson’s extraordinary generosity will be enduring,” President Marcy said. “The gift not only reflects their long-standing commitment to the University, but also extends Dominican’s international reach through an important new collaboration with the oldest university in the English speaking world.

“While at Oxford, our students will strengthen their independent study skills and sharpen their ability to discuss issues critically, evaluate material, and defend ideas. It was at Oxford that I found my own identity and developed my intellectual curiosity. I know this experience will be equally transformative for Dominican’s students.”

Victor Chan ’17 is majoring in chemistry within the School of Health and Natural Sciences. The past two summers, Victor was part of a National Institutes of Health funded program called INTREPID (Introduction of a Novel Tiered Research Experience Promoting Inclusion and Diversity) at Penn State. He worked alongside undergraduates from universities across the United States, including Johns Hopkins and several Ivy League schools. Victor plans to study inorganic and biological chemistry at Oxford.

Kylie Walsh ’16 is majoring in English with a creative writing emphasis within the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Kylie is part of the Dominican Honors program and believes her experiences in the honors courses have prepared to both expand her worldview of literature and succeed at Oxford. Kylie plans to study creative writing and modern short stories at Oxford.

Donovan Hernandez ’16 is majoring in humanities and cultural studies with two minors in Spanish and business within the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the Barowsky School of Business. As the first in his family to attend college, Donovan participated in Dominican’s First-Generation Peer Mentorship Program and as a student leader in LeaderShape.  Donovan plans to study ancient Greek art and archaeology and anthropological and sociological studies at Oxford University.

Alexander Pollok ’17 is majoring in history with a minor in business within the School of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the Barowsky School of Business. Alex has researched and presented on Italian immigration to the Marin History Museum, and his work was broadcasted on local cable Channel 24. Alex plans to study the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the history of Ancient Greece and Rome at Oxford.

The Dominican Scholars will study using the tutorial method, a unique and highly personalized style of instruction that is the central feature of an Oxford education. The structure of study at Oxford differs from that of an American university, with more time spent on individual work and on tutorials. Students will prepare discussion papers for tutorials on a weekly basis. They also will hear formal reports by their tutors at the end of their terms, reports that are formally given in the presence of other faculty.

Thomas Peterson served as a member of Dominican’s Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2009. The Petersons have been consistent and generous donors to Dominican, donating more than $1 million in support of scholarships for students in the Department of Nursing, the construction of the science building, the refurbishment of Edgehill Mansion, and the construction of a nursing skills lab in Meadowlands, a historic building currently being transformed into a state-of-the art academic facility.

Under the terms of the Dominican/St. Catherine’s College agreement, applicants must have a cumulative GPA at Dominican of 3.7. Beginning this fall, the Dominican students will take the equivalent of 12 units of pre-selected courses in their major as a visiting student at St. Catherine's College. The students will attend lectures and classes led by members of Oxford’s faculty and will have full access to all college facilities and resources.


September 4, 2015