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Lincoln local, Mia Sasaki is preparing her way to Oxford to study amongst the same backdrop as some of her favorite authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Chesterton and Kipling. The William Jessup University English major was recently accepted to the Best Semester Scholars Program at Oxford University.

‘Ever since I was a little girl, it has been my dream to go and see firsthand the places that inspired my favorite authors,’ Sasaki said.

 Her dream started to become reality when William Jessup University’s Bible and Theology Professor, Merilyn Copland encouraged Sasaki to apply to a program offered by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). ‘The council offers stellar programs for students to study abroad. When I learned about this opportunity, Mia immediately came to mind,’ Copland admitted. 

Sasaki, a sophomore who holds a 4.0 GPA and is involved in Student Leadership at Jessup, applied to the program last summer and dedicated numerous long nights to preparing her essay, eventually editing it to perfection. 

‘Instead of being given a topic to elaborate on, the program gives participants a topic and requires that your point is made succinctly, in 500 words or less. I ran my edits past my English Professor, Portia Hopkins, several times, until I felt that I had it just right,’ explained Sasaki.

 The Scholar’s Semester in Oxford is designed for students interested in completing intensive scholarship.  Working with academic tutors, students advance their academic writing and research skills and explore the disciplines and interests of their choice.  As Visiting Students of Oxford University and members of Wycliffe Hall, students have the privilege to study and learn in one of the university’s historic halls. 

Sasaki described the moment she found out she was accepted, ‘I checked my email because I knew that it had finally reached the day that I would find out if I was in or not. When I opened the message and learned that I’d made it, I just about fell out of my chair,’ explained Sasaki. As soon as I got to my English class, I walked by and whispered to Professor Hopkins, ‘I made it, I made it!’ 

One of the places that Sasaki plans to visit is the famous Eagle and Child pub. At this location, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien engaged in various discussions that contributed to the final form of both Lewis’ Narnia books and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. 

‘I don’t think of myself as highly intellectual; I think of myself as hard working,’ said Sasaki. ‘So many great things have happened to me since I started at WJU. Getting my education here has been so good for me; the university has done so much for me.’

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