Exceptional academic performance

Karl Wallenkampf receives Oxford SCIO award

Graduating senior Karl Wallenkampf has been awarded a de Jager prize from the Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford (SCIO) center. The prize is awarded in recognition of “exceptional academic performance.” Wallenkampf, who is completing a bachelor of arts degree in humanities and a bachelor of science degree in biology, was one of seven of his fellow SCIO students to receive an award in the research seminar category.

SCIO is the United Kingdom subsidiary of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, an international association of intentionally Christ-centered colleges and universities with 119 members in North America and 55 affiliate institutions in 20 countries. Wallenkampf is among the first Walla Walla University (WWU) students to study at Oxford through SCIO.

After studying at Oxford from the beginning of September to the end of December, Wallenkampf says he benefited tremendously from studying abroad. “My experience in Oxford centered around three concepts: precision, force, and beauty,” he said. “These concepts came to mind during my rowing for The Queen's College, but they embody the academics I completed there.”

While Wallenkampf is pursuing entrance into the medical field, he stressed the communication skills he sharpened at Oxford. “The easiest communication is highly generalized, imprecise, and preconceived,” Wallenkampf said. “The Oxford tutors demanded that we keep probing so as to find a full yet precise expression of ideas and sentiments. In that, beauty appears. Such is the effect of wonderful music, compelling prose, meaningful verse, and elegant computer code.”

Wallenkampf also spoke of the skills he gained at WWU, which helped him to the place he is now. “Professors of the honors and humanities programs, those I've been blessed by in the biology department: they all encouraged the precision and force that I used in Oxford,” he said.

Among the teachers that he mentioned influencing him was professor of English and chair of the English department Kellie Bond. “For my literature class in Oxford I wrote exactly as Professor Kellie Bond trained me to. As I finished reading my last essay to my tutor, she said, ‘That was excellent, Karl. I wouldn't have changed a word.’”

“The WWU Honors Program appreciates the scholastic and student leadership roles Karl Wallenkampf has carried out both at Walla Walla University and at the Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford program at Oxford University,” said Terrie Aadmodt, professor of English and history and director of the Honors General Studies program. “His commitment to a broad education, his student leadership activities, and his professional preparation for medical school are steering him toward a lifetime of commitment to service and intellectual engagement.”

“[The de Jager prize] is an in-house prize, so I’m not some amazing Nobel laureate or anything!” Wallenkampf said. “However, it was the result of a great deal of work, and it meant that the board of tutors at SCIO, in consultation with my research advisor, thought my research essay was one of the best out of the 50-some that were submitted,” he continued. “Out of such a pool of excellent individuals, I am truly humbled. I am thankful mostly for the affirmation I received through this reward.”

Posted May 25, 2016

Karl Wallenkampf, a graduating senior, is completing a bachelor of arts degree in humanities and a bachelor of science degree in biology.