Houston Fellowship Winner Plans Study In Britain

Houston Fellowship Winner Plans Study In Britain

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

A Grenada native with an interest in 18th-century British literature, and who never imagined she would one day garner awards for her swordsmanship, is the winner of the 2002 Amanda V. Houston Fellowship.

Sonjah McBain '03 receives the 2002 Amanda Houston Fellowship Award from Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John J. Neuhauser. Photo by Lee Pellegrini
English major Sonjah McBain '03 was presented with the award by Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties John J. Neuhauser at a ceremony April 24 in the Thompson Room of Burns Library.

Named in honor of Boston College's first Black Studies Program director, the Houston Fellowship is awarded annually to prepare a BC undergraduate for leadership by enriching their educational development through travel-study experiences.

McBain will depart next month for the United Kingdom, where she will spend part of the summer in the University's Advanced Studies in England program examining the work and life of Jane Austen and other 18th-century British writers. McBain says she is especially interested in studying Afro-Anglo literary culture of the same time period.

"I think it's very important to study things from several points of view and there were a diversity of writers in Britain during the 18th century," said McBain.

The oldest of seven children, McBain was born in the West Indian island nation of Grenada, moving with her family to Brooklyn in 1987. This summer she hopes to make contacts within the UK's West Indian and Caribbean communities.

While in England, McBain also hopes to be able to keep up with what has become her secondary pursuit at Boston College: fencing. McBain came to Boston College three years with no fencing experience and took up the sport at a friend's urging.

"I didn't play any sports in high school so it was a big adjustment to learn to be a member of a team and to make practice and work-outs part of my daily schedule," said McBain, who won medals in fencing competitions this year.

"I never imagined it would be something I'd be interested in."

Following graduation next year McBain plans to return to Brooklyn to teach before pursuing graduate studies in English Literature.

"I hope to be able to teach for a year before heading to graduate school," she said. "It's very important to give back to the community."


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