Living, Learning, and Leading: the Ultimate Undergrad Experience at Penn
January 26, 2012
Corey Metzman, C'12, W'12, consulting with Cam Grey,
assistant professor of Classical Studies and Kings Court
English College House fellow in residence.
For any Penn student, preparing to become one of Benjamin Franklin’s intellectual heirs can seem daunting. But thanks to the Making History
Campaign, Penn’s world-class academic programs have become more integrated with research opportunities and student life, ensuring that Penn undergraduates can more than meet the challenge.
This is particularly true for Corey Metzman, C’12, W’12, a senior in international studies and business now beginning his final semester at Penn.
From the start, Corey expected to embark on a beyond-the-classroom journey as a Penn student. The Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business
took him to the Middle East to better understand politics, economics, and culture in a global context. Alternate Spring Break
brought him to rural Nicaragua to quantify the effects of technology-based learning. And summer travel allowed him to study social impact initiatives in Kenya and Tanzania.
But what Corey didn’t expect — though it is part of Penn’s master plan for student life — was how living in Kings Court English College House would help synthesize his academic experiences and begin to shape his post-Penn future.
More than just a dorm, Kings Court is part of Penn’s growing College House network
, where undergrads live with supportive families of mentoring faculty, grad students, and staff, and where opportunities to develop skills in scholarship, leadership, and community service are woven into the fabric of daily life.
Pursuing one of these opportunities — the College House Research Fellowship competition
— was a pivotal step for Corey, one that would enable him to put into action what he had been absorbing as a self-described “Jewish kid from the Bible Belt studying Arabic in Jordan as part of the Huntsman program.” Through close, ongoing consultations with his College House fellow in residence and other fellows across the College Houses, Corey immersed himself in the challenge, and learned to construct a solid research proposal.
The result: Dorm Room Diplomacy
, a series of real-time online dialogs promoting cross-cultural understanding between college students in the US and the Middle East. The award-winning project — a team effort with his friend and classmate, Jacob Blumenfeld-Gantz, C’12, W’12 — was recognized at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative University Conference
and now has several chapters here and abroad.
“Applying for the College House Research Fellowship helped me think through both the logistics and the mission of the project,” says Corey, looking back. The success of his experience not only helped solidify his personal and scholarly commitment to public service and international development, but encouraged him to reach even higher — to apply for a Truman Scholarship
, a prestigious prize awarded to college juniors pursuing careers in government, education or public service.
To do that, he turned to the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships
(CURF), Penn’s busy home base for undergrads in pursuit of research projects and competitive fellowships. There, with invaluable one-on-one guidance from advisor Cheryl Shipman and his own burgeoning resume of travel, research, and leadership experience, Corey was able to pull together a winning application and succeed once again, receiving a Truman Scholarship in the spring of his junior year and opening up a range of post-grad options to look forward to.
“Without CURF, I would have been flying blind,” he notes. “The Truman has a very specific set of requirements and Cheryl really helped me navigate the process.”
Today, as he transitions from dual-degreed undergrad to one of tomorrow’s thought leaders, Corey is confident and prepared by a well-rounded academic life that sets Penn students apart. As a fitting bon voyage, he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship
last November for graduate study in the UK, where he plans to attend the London School of Economics to pursue an MSc in Development Studies, followed by Oxford University for an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention.
|Corey’s story is but one great example of Penn’s integrated approach to student life — and where it can lead. With Campaign efforts that strengthen the interconnections between the curriculum, the College
Houses, and CURF, Penn is investing in a successful proof of concept,
and advancing a strategy that will pay dividends not only for Corey, but
for many more of Franklin’s intellectual heirs to come.|
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