French and Francophone: Students scholars tackling the world. How the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship is transforming the lives of French and Francophone Students.

Marcel Reboussin and Mark McCormack

Research is at the center of the French & Francophone Studies program. Students are able to conduct research projects in many different ways, as the annual Fête de la Recherche demonstrates: short projects done while studying in Montpellier; longer projects conducted while studying and doing an internship through the I.F.E program in Paris, Strasbourg, or BruxellesMonroe projects; and honors theses. Some of our most exciting projects have been made possible by the McCormack-Reboussin scholarship. Last May, I sat with Bridget Carr, one of our most recent McCormack-Reboussin scholars to discuss her research and the incredible opportunity this scholarship has been for her. So what is this scholarship, and what do our students do with it?

In 1995, Mark McCormack, a distinguished alumnus and generous benefactor of the College, created a merit-based scholarship to support financially an outstanding French major during his or her third and fourth years at the College.  The scholarship was originally named in honor of Marcel Reboussin, a longtime member of the faculty in French at the College, and Mr. McCormack’s favorite professor from his days as a French major.  The scholarship now also bears the name of Mr. McCormack in honor of his many professional accomplishments, his unflagging devotion to his alma mater, and his inspired support for student research in the field of French & Francophone Studies. With the generous support of Mr. McCormack’s daughter, Mrs. Leslie McCormack-Gathy, the terms of the scholarship were changed in 2008 in order to benefit more students.

The scholarship is now awarded on an annual basis to a rising senior French and Francophone Studies major, and is worth a total of $12,000:  up to $4,000 to support research to be conducted in a French-speaking country or region during the summer between the junior and senior years, with the remainder ($8,000 or more) to be applied toward tuition and fees for the senior year.  The McCormack-Reboussin scholars’ research treat an intellectually relevant topic related to the French language, French/Francophone literature, or the culture of a French-speaking country or region.

In the past few years, McCormack-Reboussin scholars have been conducting research in France, as well as in Belgium and Senegal. Not only is the geographical scope of these students’ investigations broad; the field of their inquiries is also very diverse. The scholars work very closely with their honors thesis advisors to develop their research projects.

In 2012-13, Daniel Hodges is working with professor Leruth on a project on French involvement in the political life of Congo/ Zaire/ RDC from the 1880s to the present. This summer, Daniel was able to travel to Bruxelles and Paris to conduct his research. He will present a first iteration of his ongoing work on Saturday 10th at the Fete de la Recherche.

In 2011-12, Bridget Carr spent a month doing archival work and conducting interviews in Dakar. She eventually completed an her honors thesis on  “Franco-Senegalese Relations through the Lens of Development Aid (1895-2012)“ (Highest Honors/Professor Médevielle, advisor ).

In 2010-11, Philippe Halbert researched the image of the monster in French Enlightenment culture, and this project took him to Paris and Versailles. His honors thesis ultimately bore the title: ‘Heretofore Considered Legendary’: The Harpy of 1784 and the Making of Monsters in Eighteenth-Century France.“ (High Honors/ Professor Pacini, advisor)

Eve Grice (2009) also worked in Paris, and wrote a thesis entitled “What She Said: Gender, Race, and Discourses on Difference at the Cité nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration” (Highest Honors/Professor Fauvel, advisor).

If you are interested in learning more about past recipients of this scholarship, their projects, or if you wish to know more about the application process, please visit our website.

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