Cronon Fund to support scholarships for FIG study abroad trips

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Thanks to the generosity of donors, College of Letters & Science First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs) will offer need-based study abroad scholarships to low-income, first generation and underrepresented minority students in 2015.

[caption id="attachment_15585" align="alignleft" width="140"]Cronon Cronon[/caption]

The scholarships, which range from $500 to $1,000, are funded by the Bill Cronon Fund for Pathways to Excellence, which supports high-impact student experiences. The awards are made possible by the Pathways to Excellence Advisory Committee in honor of history Professor and Pathways founder William E. Cronon.

The scholarships will provide critical funding for students embarking on one of three immersion experiences led by FIGs instructors. These trips often will be students' first international experience and sometimes their first time on an airplane. Traveling with FIGs classmates and trusted instructors provides a unique opportunity for undergraduates who might not otherwise have considered a study abroad option while at UW-Madison.

The immersive study abroad experience builds on fundamentals learned in FIGs classes and deepens the Wisconsin Experience in the College of Letters & Science. The first two trips will be to Central and South America this winter, and the third will be to London over spring break.

The participating FIGs courses are:

This two-week immersion in January will focus on developing Spanish conversation skills in the context of the local society and culture. Students will learn to acquire Spanish naturally and explore culture through film literary readings, theater performances, and presentations by intellectuals, journalists, activists and NGO leaders with expertise in local issues. Special attention will be given to political corruption, emigration, environmentalism and urban pollution, racial and ethnic diversity, literary trends and gender relations.

During this two-week experience in January, students will travel to Ecuador to study at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, a world-class research station on the Amazon. There they will apply their ecological knowledge to conduct their own research projects. This intense field experience will give them a taste of what it is like to be a field biologist.

This ten-day trip to London will allow students to retrace the fundamentals of biology and the human thinkers who shaped the history of science and technology, including Darwin, White of Selborne, Robert Hooke and others. Students will explore living organisms and the physical world through London's renowned national museums and galleries, local experts, researchers and the arts. Classes will take place at the ACCENT London Study Center in Bloomsbury.