Three seniors from Mount St. Mary University were selected for the Röpke-Wojtyła fellowship hosted by the Catholic University of America. Rebekah Balick, Harry Scherer and Lexi Zambito were selected out of a competitive pool of students from across the country. The fellowship is an opportunity for seniors from different colleges and universities from all around the U.S.
Balick, Scherer and Zambito applied last spring semester and were contacted and interviewed. Once they received the news that they had all received the fellowship, they began the program. The program starts with meetings where the students are given a mixture of philosophical and theological readings and discuss them. At the end of the fellowship, they submitted a paper and received a stipend for completing the program. They were also able to go to Rome, Italy, for eight days at the end of the semester.
“They take 15 seniors from across the country and give us a packet full of readings with philosophers like Cicero and Aquinas, and we discuss them with each other. We have our first meeting coming up in October, where we’re driving to D.C. for it,” Zambito said. She had been asking what the purpose of the fellowship was when first applying. She spoke to the person who started the program at CUA and explained that it is a discussion for people with similar interests. It was also something to talk about in the community with an overtone in Catholicism. Although you do not need to be Catholic to participate, the readings contain aspects related to Catholicism.
Balick also curiously asked about the fellowship and said, “They explained it to me, as almost a networking thing, to know other people who are like-minded and have the same goals. It’s also through their business school, so it talks about everything and different aspects in the world.”
“One of the perks of this experience was building a network with both peers and faculty. Many of the faculty advisors are fellows at The CUA in human oncology and it seems that that’s where they’re drawing a lot of their experience from,” Scherer added.
The three seniors did not know about the fellowship until last year until their friend recommended it to them because they thought it seemed to fit their ideals and majors. They have to do their fair share of work for the fellowship because they need to do a great deal of participation while they attend the meetings. Nevertheless, they strongly recommend people applying for Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship.
Balick explained that the fellowship is competitive and, “being from the Mount and having the education they gave us here really helped us earn this opportunity.” Zambito also expressed her excitement about all three of them receiving the fellowship because she was worried they would not accept three people from the same school. Since they did get to go through the program together it’s been even more exciting because they have all been friends since the beginning of their first year.
All three fellowship recipients are grateful for the opportunity and want to thank the Fellowship office and everyone who recommended and helped them through the application process. Anyone interested in any more information can learn more about the Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship online at Catholic University of America.