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Students Will Be Immersed in Film/Media, Acting Through UK Summer Institute Program
Three Syracuse University students have been named student cultural ambassadors through the US-UK Fulbright Commission’s UK Summer Institute program.
They are Joseph Deblasio, a rising junior majoring in advertising in the Newhouse School; Shelby Rodger, a rising junior majoring in transmedia and film in the College of Visual and Performing Arts; and Caleb Sheedy, a rising sophomore acting major in the College of Visual and Performing Arts.
The Fulbright UK Summer Institutes are fully funded, three- to four-week summer study programs for first- and second-year U.S. undergraduates. The program offers nine institutes, each focused on different disciplines and issues, at universities across the UK. The Summer Institutes are made possible through generous donations from private individuals and through partnership with some of the top universities in the UK.
Participants are selected based on leadership skills, academic achievement, character, adaptability and ambassadorial qualities, as well as demonstrated interest in the UK and its culture. Applicants complete a written application and semifinalists are invited to interview over Skype with Fulbright selectors in the UK. Selection is highly competitive.
Deblasio and Rodger were both selected for the Fulbright University of Birmingham Summer Institute, which focuses on film and media. They are among just a few selected from hundreds of applicants, and this is the first time that two Syracuse University students have been selected for the same institute.
“Being accepted to this Fulbright program was one of the most exciting moments of my life. It represents countless hours of studying, overcoming challenges and managing my time,” Deblasio says. “I hope to not only learn about film and media and the specifics of what it will take to be a professional in this field while at the University of Birmingham, but also gain insight into British culture. I have not traveled outside of the United States before, so this Fulbright experience will be revolutionary for me on many different levels.”
Rodger will also participate in the Birmingham Summer Institute. “I’m very excited to be the recipient of this award, as studying in England has always been something I’ve wanted to do,” she says. I look forward to learning more about media arts and working with other international film students. This opportunity to immerse myself in UK culture is truly once in a lifetime and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Sheedy was selected for the Fulbright AIFS Summer Institute with Globe Education, a cultural and academic program dedicated to acting and understanding Shakespeare’s texts on site at the Globe Theatre in London.
“I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to study something I love, in a city I adore,” says Sheedy. “I really hope to expand my horizons beyond what theatre has conventionally meant to me, to push beyond my boundaries and see theatre, and more specifically Shakespeare, in a new light.”
Sheedy, Rodger and Deblasio learned about the Fulbright Summer Institute opportunity through an announcement email from the Center for Fellowship and Scholarship Advising (CFSA) and at a CFSA information session in January that provided tips about how to best approach the application. “The Fulbright Summer Institutes are amazing opportunities for students to learn about the UK and explore a particular discipline there, fully funded,” says Jolynn Parker, director of CFSA.
“Caleb, Joseph and Shelby were competitive candidates because they had compelling reasons for wanting to study in the UK and well-developed future plans. I’m delighted they’ve received these prestigious awards,” she says.