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Post Graduation Plans for UC's England Include Top-Ranked Grad School

Andrea England sees her exemplary career as a UC student as proof that she ended up here for a reason, even if it wasn't what she thought it would be when she applied. Now she's headed to Georgetown University for an exceptional graduate school opportunity.

Date: 6/9/2008
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
You can conclude that Andrea England is a determined student. In fact, there’s no other conclusion you can draw, when you look back at how the path that led her to UC began before culminating this year in her being awarded the honor for top female undergraduate student in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

England’s initial interest in UC came about because she was applying to its highly regarded Musical Theater program in CCM. She was turned down.

Andrea England
Andrea England

But because she was a top student in the classroom along with a talented stage performer, she was invited to participate in UC’s Cincinnatus Scholarship competition.

When her parents learned that UC was offering a guaranteed $2,000 per year just for taking part in the competition, they made sure Andrea would make her first-ever trip up to Ohio from the family home in the rural southwestern Virginia town of Dublin.

When she arrived for the February 2003 competition, the family stopped at a McDonald’s adjacent to campus for coffee. Andrea, dressed in a suit, promptly fell on a patch of ice in the parking lot.

"I remember thinking, ‘This is not going to go well,’ " she recalls.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

"I’ve thought so many times since then how lucky I was to end up where I did," says England. "I had just had one dream crushed, but I ended up in the right place, and that wouldn’t have happened without (my interest in) CCM."

England ended up earning a full Presidential Scholarship through the Cincinnatus program, and double-majoring at UC in International Affairs and Asian Studies, with a minor in French.

"Because of how it turned out, I got to know the faculty in International Affairs. It’s a program that is under-recognized. UC’s reputation is improving exponentially, and it’s very much deserved," she says.

England thrived on campus and off. Between her sophomore and junior years, she went to Italy for two weeks and then France for two months.

"I was expecting I was going to have a great time studying abroad," she says. "I even had a premonition I would love it, but what I didn’t expect was that this whole language immersion experience that I went through in Paris would be so fantastic. I wanted to do that in other areas."

England ended up adding experiences in Nagoya, Japan, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates over the next two years, further broadening her international experiences.

She also interned with the Quebec Government Office in Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Department of Defense.

She will graduate from UC with a 3.92 grade point average, and has been accepted into the graduate program of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, the top-ranked program of its kind in the nation.

Originally, she had planned on taking a year off, but then she got an e-mail from UC Associate Professor of Political Science Richard Harknett. "He asked how the application process was going," she recalls. "I said I wasn’t really thinking about going straight to grad school, and he said, ‘I don’t care. You have to apply!"

A career in diplomacy is a possibility for England, but she’s willing to keep her options open. That’s one lesson she learned from her UC experience.

"I almost think that God or a higher power was really trying to get me to go to UC, and I couldn’t do it without other doors being closed," she says.

She calls her UC educational experience the best of both worlds.

"A large-school setting provides so many opportunities – you can do so much with your education. Anytime that I thought out an internship opportunity or a study abroad program, approaching the faculty was easy and they were thrilled to help a student who wants to succeed," England says. "At a small school, the faculty may not have the connections that you find at a big school to help make that happen."

She’ll carry her pride in her UC experience with her to Georgetown.

"I’m sure a lot of my colleague will be from elite schools," she says. "I look forward to sharing with them that, ‘Yes, I went to a state school, and let me tell you about the kind of experience I had…’ "

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