Published: April 17, 2009
As a history major, University of Tampa junior Shane Twaddell wanted to
go to Oxford because, he said, there is no better place to study British
“Maybe Cambridge,” he added. “But you can’t say that over here.”
As one of three UT students who spent the spring semester in The
University of Tampa’s Honors at Oxford program – along with junior
Christine Guzman and senior Sonja Radmilovic – Twaddell’s daily life was
seemingly one trip back in time after another.
He studied in the Eagle and Child Pub, the meeting place of authors C.S.
Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkein and their literary discussion group known as
the Inklings. He sat at the throne where King Charles I held his
parliament during the English Civil War. And he toured a palace
connected to the family of former British Prime Minister Winston
“Every building tells a tale,” Twaddell said. “And even the seemingly
insignificant corner of a street or alley holds within it a story unlike
The Honors at Oxford program is a competitive fellowship awarded to
three students of UT’s Honors program per semester. The students spend
eight weeks at the university, taking independent study courses geared
to their major.
Twaddell completed two courses, one on modern British history and the
other on British imperial history in India. His days were spent combing
through the reading list of six to 10 books he was assigned to read
every week. Additionally, he produced an essay each week, roughly
2,000-3,000 words, which served as the basis for a tutorial meeting with
Oxford professors (dons) who facilitate Oxford’s world-renowned
He lived for the semester in an apartment less than a mile from the
college and the main Bodleian Library, where he conducted most of his
studying. Around the corner, Guzman and Radmilovic shared a larger
“The academic side of life was completely independent,” Twaddell said.
“Socially though, the three of us from UT did a lot together, when we
could. It was entirely dependent on how much work we had to get done
though, as academics must come first.”
Guzman, a government and world affairs major, took three courses – Latin
American Economics, Latin American Politics and History of
International Law. The rigorous course of study was especially
beneficial, she said, as she is beginning the process of preparing for
law school. Her specific area of interest is in Latin America and
“There is a high level of accountability when classes are structured in
this manner,” Guzman said. “I found tutorial method to be very effective
in forcing you to learn the subject. You become very productive.”
Students are selected by the Honors Program board, which includes
several professors from various disciplines. Students are required to
interview before the board, in addition to submitting an essay and
academic letter of recommendation.
Honors program students Andrea Gonzalez, Jeanette Nicewinter, and Lauren
Marsicano were recently selected to participate in the program for
September through December, 2009.