By SARAH FINNEY
During his time at UMW, senior Justin Simeone took participation in extracurricular activities to a new level.
His hard work paid off recently, when he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship that will allow him to earn his master’s degree at the London School of Economics.
A two-year member of the Policy Debate Team and president of the History Honor Society, Simeone tutored at the Writing Center and served as president of Students Helping Honduras. In his free time he managed to earn a double major.
Students accepted into the Fulbright Fellowship program receive a full scholarship to study abroad in an academic field of their choosing. Although most grants specify a particular country in which to research, Simeone’s grant will allow him to study anywhere in the European Union.
Simeone said that attending the London School of Economics would have been financially impossible without the grant, which is designed to cover the $52,000 cost of a master’s degree.
“The Fulbright Grant will provide funding for my tuition and transportation to and from England, as well as a quarterly stipend for housing and research costs,” he said.
While in London, Simeone will pursue his study of study international, and particularly European Union, politics with a special focus on the diplomatic relations of the European Union and the establishment of a unified asylum adjudication policy,
“At one level, it allows me to continue my academic studies at one of the best social science universities in the world,” he said. “It also opens up many opportunities academically and professionally.”
Simeone credited the University and its professors for their support throughout his undergraduate career and during the application process to the Fulbright program. Most applicants do not receive the same amount of support, he said.
“This university has many incredibly bright students and tremendously dedicated faculty members,” Simeone said. “I think this award proves what is possible when those two elements are combined. It speaks volumes about the potential of our university student body as a whole.”
Jason Davidson, associate professor of political science and international affairs, said that Simeone demonstrated his ability to achieve early on, but that his accomplishments were not limited to his intellect.
“From his first draft proposal Justin had a grasp of the literature and an ability to work with it that one simple does not find among undergraduates,” Davidson said. “But he also has the discipline and drive to match. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that he’s also humble and level-headed.”
Davidson said that Simeone’s success served as an example to current and prospective students.
“His success demonstrates that Mary Washington’s very best can attain honors that one might think only go to Ivy League students,” Davidson said.
While in London, Simeone will draw on experience gained during his study abroad in Bath, England, under the Advanced Studies program. He had an internship at a Magistrate’s Court where he wrote on implementing European Union human rights law into domestic law.
He also conducted research on international law and human rights in Tel Aviv, Israel, using a UMW Undergraduate Research Grant.
Simeone will begin his studies in October and finish his thesis by summer 2009.