Two Catawba College students are the recipients of 2017 Cross-Cultural Experience Awards. College junior Austin Collins of Mooresville and senior Shannon Morton of Millington, Md., each received $1,000 awards after making applications that were reviewed by an awards committee.
The Cross-Cultural Experience Awards were established in 2016 with an endowment gift funded by Catawba alumna Anne Esterline Fogg '69 of Durham. Fogg wanted to assure that members of the Catawba community – students, faculty and staff – could have life-changing, and shareable, cross-cultural experiences like she had as an undergraduate, and later while living abroad for 25 years.
Collins, a history major with a French minor, will share his 2016 summer experience of travelling through various European countries during a “talk” open to the entire campus community. During it, he will provide photos, fun stories, and historic facts about how he and his best friend, a young Hungarian named Janos, were able to traverse Hungary, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Austria and enjoy many experiences despite travel delays, missed flights and weather dilemmas.
Morton, who is double-majoring in Accounting and Economics & Finance and will learn 150 hours as an undergraduate so she can sit for the CPA exam after graduation, is also planning to graduate with honors which will require her to complete a thesis. Her thesis about microfinance and economic development is based on six-week winter break experience this year volunteering with a microfinance organization in Cambodia. Morton has shared her weekly blogs about the experience with Farmer's Livelihood Development, via a blog posted on the college website and that experience will also be the topic of her thesis that she will present at both Catawba College and at the Southeast Honors Research Consortium (SHRC) conference in Asheville this spring.
Although the 2017 cross-cultural award recipients' projects are international in nature, Esterline Fogg has stressed that cross-cultural experiences do not necessarily have to be international experiences. Her goal when she decided to establish Catawba's Cross-Cultural Experience Award was to celebrate the impact that other cultures can make on a person, and to recognize that all cultures contain defining elements to celebrate and embrace.
Applications for Catawba's Cross-cultural Experience Awards are accepted during the fall semester of each academic year. Catawba faculty, staff, and students are eligible to apply.