University of South Alabama history major and senior Holly Gafford has received the highly competitive Caldwell Scholarship, which allows students in the College of Arts and Sciences to participate in a study abroad program.
Gafford used her scholarship to attend classes in London. The Mobilian selected England because she was intrigued with the history of World War II.
“I learned about World War II from a perspective that I could not have gained taking a course on the same material in the states, considering the actual impact of that war on London,” Gafford said.
With plans to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in history this spring, the 21-year-old says she will attend graduate school to major in history or law school.
Although London overwhelmed her at first, Gafford felt more comfortable as time passed.
“It was a fairly stark contrast to my experience here in Mobile, and not an unwelcome one,” she said.
Gafford began to appreciate the “higher level of cultural diversity and tolerance in conjunction with the high population density of the city.”
Since 1994, the James and Ivel Caldwell Scholarship has assisted many students at USA to achieve international training for future careers. The late Dr. Caldwell, who served as vice president during USA’s early years, was also an acclaimed educator in Alabama and in foreign countries, including Indonesia, Iraq and Jordan. The Caldwell Endowment gives scholarships annually to students.
Dr. Stephen Morris, political science professor, said the study abroad program benefits students at USA, allowing them to become more aware of the world.
“International experience enriches a student’s understanding of the world, their society and themselves. The U.S. is just beginning to wake up to the need to broaden students’ international understanding,” Morris said. “Over the years a number of our students have been able to participate in study abroad programs thanks to the contributions by friends and family of James and Ivel Caldwell. Hopefully, more can be done in the future to send more of our students on these journeys abroad.”