Sterling College Student Accepted into Selective Oxford Summer Programme

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Egypt or England? Several months ago the choice seemed clear to Sterling College junior Lauren Cox. A friend attending a different college suggested they both apply for the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities’ Middle East Studies Program. Cox was excited about the prospect of studying in Egypt with her friend, but then, as she says, “God shut every door.” Though she didn’t know why, Cox felt certain God was going to open another. He did; this summer Cox will spend six weeks studying Christian ministries and theology at another CCCU Best Semester location: Oxford University.

If her friend had not been applying for the Middle East Studies Program, Cox might have picked England from the first. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve had a dream of visiting England,” she said. Much of that childhood dream came from Cox’s love for C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles. “I wanted to see the places that inspired the landscape of Narnia.”

Cox already has her required reading list for her summer courses, and several works by Lewis are on it. Jane Austen’s works are as well. “We’ll be examining how Austen’s beliefs are manifested in her works, specifically the ministry roles she gave to her female characters,” said Cox. Though she will spend weekdays in classes, Cox’s weekends will be full of field experiences, such as a trip to Jane Austen’s house in Bath. Cox also hopes to explore the countryside on her own. “Dr. Smith, one of my theology professors who lived in England for a while, is already telling me about his favorite walking trails,” said Cox. “I’m hoping to find some favorites of my own.”

Another Theology and Ministry professor, Dr. Lederle, who is also the director of Sterling’s honor program, helped Cox with the application process for the Best Semester program. “The selection for the CCCU’s Oxford program is highly competitive,” said Lederle. “I am very proud of Lauren, and I hope her selection will encourage other students to apply for Best Semester opportunities.” Dr. Lederle has high hopes for Lauren this summer. “She is a thoughtful and gifted young lady, and I believe she will benefit greatly from the academic resources in Oxford. Her Christian convictions are strong, and I expect she will be an asset to the program.”

“I don’t know anyone in this program,” said Cox, “so in a way I feel that I have to be courageous enough to obey the Lord in going. I know He will open up doors for me there, and I will meet new friends. My goal is to be 100% there, to experience it completely.”