Samuel Shearn is an MPhil Modern Theology student at Wycliffe Hall. Here, he explains the impact of the Ertegun Scholarhip on him and his young family.
When applying to Oxford, I knew that my only chance of continuing my studies was to get a scholarship. The previous year I had spent doing an MA at the University of Birmingham, living at my parents’ home (with wife and 2 kids!), rent-free. My parents could not give us money but they did what they could to help for that rather cramped year.
However, when I was given the offer of a place at Oxford, it was clear to me that anything other than full financial support would have been the end of the road. I would have had to turn down the offer. Therefore, when the letter arrived confirming my scholarship here, I was speechless!
Being part of the Ertegun Scholarship programme has been quite amazing. Not only have we been provided with the essential full fees support and maintenance grant, but we are also given study space and the opportunity to belong to a community of humanities scholars who are asking diverse questions and using various methodologies. Thus we are truly stretched and inspired to think beyond the walls of our disciplines.
In the future, I want to be involved at the heart of institutions which take theological education seriously: working at the forefront of research, facilitating the development of the next generation of Religious Studies teachers and ministers of religion, and making a contribution to a broad humanities/liberal arts education which enriches society with individuals who have learnt to be inquisitive, creative, think critically and make wise decisions for the future in light of the past.