Loyola University Chicago

Ricci Scholars

Ricci Scholars

About the Program

The Ricci Scholars Program offers an unparalleled study-abroad, immersion and global scholarship opportunity for highly motivated students. The program awards selected students with scholarships for travel, research and exploration during a junior year of study divided between two of the world’s most important cities: Rome, Italy, and Beijing, China.

As students of Loyola University Chicago, Ricci Scholars spend the Fall Semester at Loyola’s own John Felice Rome Center and the Spring Semester at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies. Through their two-semester immersion, Ricci Scholars may learn Chinese and Italian, participate in travel excursions, study both cultures and their histories, and engage in academic research to develop individual projects. A sophomore year introductory session prepares Scholars for the year of study abroad.

Upon their return, Scholars complete their individual research projects and present their work to the university community and to the next group of Ricci Scholars.

Inspired by the cross-cultural travel and research of the program’s namesake, Matteo Ricci, S.J., and other early Jesuits, this distinctive program seeks to:

  • Enhance a capacity for scholarship through the student’s year-long, in-depth research project conducted with scholars and faculty in Chicago and abroad.
  • Encourage students at U.S. Jesuit universities to understand multiple world cultures and values, and to become integrally involved in global issues.
  • Build for both the private and public sectors a cadre of future leaders who have lived abroad, and worked and studied alongside foreign experts.


2016-2017 Ricci Scholars Announced

Six Loyola sophomores have been chosen as the next group of Ricci Scholars.  The cohort includes:  Marie Hofer, Addison McTague, Brenna Michel, Suraj “Neil” Sheth, Karisma Wilson, and Stephanie Wong.  Each of these scholars has performed at the highest levels of their class academically and each enjoys the support of a faculty mentor.  During their stays in Rome and Beijing, they will participate in regular classes, in addition to carrying out their Ricci Scholars projects.

2016-2017 Ricci Scholars:

Marie Hofer hails from Denver, Colorado, and is majoring in English and Art History.  She has been awarded a scholarship to illuminate contemporary perceptions of cultural heritage through an examination of the restoration and conservation of public art in Rome and Beijing. Towards this end, Marie will focus on UNESCO world heritage sites that include religious entities, the former residences of wealthy patrons, and burial areas and tombs in the two cities.

Addison McTague, a double major in English and Religious studies with a minor in the Arabic, is from Elmore, Ohio.  Her research will look at the perception and expression of modesty among Muslim women in Rome and Beijing. Blending her intellectual interests and personal values, Addison’s extremely timely project will use qualitative methods of observation and personal interviews to determine the relative roles of forms of dress, such as the hijab, and other behaviors to express modesty within largely non-Muslim societies. 

Brenna Michel, a member of the Honors Program from Kansas City, Missouri, has a double major in International Studies and Political Science, with a minor in Asian Languages and Literature.  Inspired by the centrality of immigration as a topic of global conversation, Brenna’s project explores the attitudes, policies, and practices in Italy and China toward legal immigrants and their impact on the processes of assimilation.

Suraj “Neil” Sheth, a Loyola Ignatian Scholar, Loyola Carbon Fellow, and Loyola Provost Fellow from Bolingbrook, Illinois, is majoring in Biology, with minor fields in Neuroscience, Bioethics, and International Studies.  As a pre-med student and an aspiring physician, he wants to learn more about a serious medical problem that is also a global health issue.  In line with these objectives, Suraj has been awarded a Ricci Scholarship to examine the cultural norms and societal expectations that shape tobacco smoking patterns in Italy and China. 

Karisma Wilson is an International Studies major and Anthropology minor from Indianapolis, Indiana.  Her project promises a comparative exploration of the experience of ethnic minorities in Rome and Beijing. Inspired by her own experience as a multiracial woman in the United States, Karisma plans to use her year abroad to test how race is defined and discussed outside the American context.

Stephanie Wong, another member of the Honors Program from Naperville, Illinois, is majoring in Classical Studies and Spanish, with a minor in Latin. She has been awarded a Ricci Scholarship to provide a comparative study of the opera and operatic traditions in contemporary China and Italy.  By interviewing key members of the opera scene in Rome and Beijing, Stephanie explore how each opera house restyles and maintains Western operatic traditions to appeal to a modern audience while preserving classic stories, techniques, and music.