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May 12, 2020

Honors Program awards two study abroad scholarships


Two Northwest Missouri State University students are recipients of $1,000 scholarships supporting their study abroad experiences during the 2019-20 academic year.

The Northwest Honors Program recently awarded the scholarships to Morgan Farrell, a senior political science major from Winston, Missouri, and Elizabeth Skelly, a sophomore nanoscale chemistry major from St. Charles, Missouri.

Morgan Farrell

Morgan Farrell

Both Farrell and Skelly had never traveled outside of the country previously, so their study abroad experiences provided each with opportunities to grow their knowledge not just in their fields of study but culturally, too.

Farrell studied politics at Ulster University in Northern Ireland as part of a year-long program. He wanted to study abroad as a way to challenge himself academically and personally while developing connections across the ocean.

Now, as he prepares to join the Marine Corps as a commissioned officer, Farrell says his study abroad experience motivated him to remain studious and committed to his goals while providing him with additional tools to achieve them. He says studying abroad also helped him gain confidence in his ability to adapt and succeed in different environments.

“Communicating with people that speak the same language but come from different cultures is much more difficult than it may seem at first glance, and I am not as adventurous as I thought I could be,” Farrell said. “While cultural norms between here and Ulster are not incredibly dissimilar, much of their popular culture, such as sports, music, and leisure activities are different than what I have experienced in the past. Making friends with my coworkers or my roommates – most of whom were international students themselves –  required me to open my worldview and care about more than just the happenings in the US, Missouri or my hometown.”

Elizabeth Skelly

Elizabeth Skelly

Skelly studied during the spring semester at Lorenzo de’Medici in Rome, Italy, where she was enrolled in general education classes that included an art history course, Art in Rome: Ancient to Baroque, and a literature course, Italy through the Eyes of Famous Travelers, as well as Italian Food through the Environment, Culture, and Sustainability; Italian Language Elementary I; and Italian Family and Society.  

Skelly said she wanted to study abroad to push herself beyond her comfort zone. In Italy, she quickly noticed cultural differences and had to learn new societal norms. She also had to overcome the language barrier of not speaking fluent Italian.

After completing her bachelor’s degree at Northwest, Skelly hopes to attend graduate school and work in a research lab.

“It helped me become more independent and really made me want to keep seeing the world and travel more,” Skelly said. “I think everyone should, if given the opportunity, study abroad because it helps you see how different the U.S. is from other places. It makes you grateful for what you have but also shows you what you wish you could see in the U.S. Plus, you meet new people and see the world with a more open mind.” 

Although their study abroad experiences were cut short amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both students are grateful for the opportunity to live abroad and are eager to explore other parts of the world.

“There are lots of great experiences to be had abroad, outside of just the cultural aspects and seeing new things,” Farrell said. “It really helps you learn about yourself and what your strengths and weaknesses are, and where you can improve. It helps you develop confidence in yourself and your ability to adapt to new situations while also making lifelong friends and memories you will cherish forever.”

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This was the second year of the scholarship program, which awards funding to honors students prior to or after their study abroad experience. The scholarships are awarded during the academic year and may be used for any part of the study abroad experience.

“Study abroad is a transformation opportunity for students because it allows them to experience a new place and culture – often doing it alone,” Dr. Elyssa Ford, the director of the Honors Program and an associate professor of history, said. “This really pushes students to expand themselves and their interests, and it helps them become a part of our increasingly global society. In the Honors Program, we are committed to helping our students grow, and we are happy to be able to help support them in their pursuit of international experiences like this.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704