Deliberate and self-assured, Lydia Shaw and Glory Jacquat, Franklin & Marshall College’s newest Rouse Scholars, share powerful ideas about leadership and life as they sit in a quiet room at Martin Library of the Sciences.
Both intend to declare double majors--Shaw in English literature and American studies; Jacquat in environmental studies and music performance. Neither can pinpoint the first time they met, but the honor has bonded them. It’s clear they share a mutual respect.
“I play the cello,” said Jacquat.
“Such a beautiful instrument,” Shaw said.
“Aw, shucks. I envy your gift for writing and literature.”
“Different types of art.”
The students share a drive for a campus social-justice agenda that provides for everyone.
“We’re already thinking of what we’re going to do with the little leadership grant that every Rouse class gets,” Shaw said.
The sophomores join 37 students and alumni who have benefited from the Rouse Scholarship, a generous gift from Andrew Rouse ’49 and awarded each year since 2004 to two students. It covers the cost of their schooling, from their sophomore through their senior years.
Jacquat and Shaw were selected from a competitive nominating process that considered the students’ academic standing, positive social impact and leadership potential, said Beth Throne, associate vice president of student and post-graduate development, who oversees the leadership scholarship and program.
“We are looking forward to the positive social impact and leadership initiatives Glory and Lydia will undertake this year, and in the future as Rouse Scholars,” Throne said.
Shaw and Jacquat are considering ways they can start to give back to the College now. They were engaged in, and inspired by, club meetings about racial issues and unheard student voices that prompted the recent protests on campus.
Jacquat said, “We were talking about this last night; the soapbox we’ve been granted by having the Rouse Scholarship is something that we both recognize and that we want to take advantage of—to better what’s already around us and to provide others a voice.”
Lydia, whose writing interests are poetry, short fiction, memoir and criticism and who aspires to be editor-in-chief of The New Yorker magazine, said, “That’s why I want to go into editing—because that’s one way you can lift people’s voices up.”
Jacquat’s interest is marine ecology, having spent this summer on a research boat with F&M Associate Professor of Geosciences Paul Harnik and his paleobiology laboratory in the Gulf of Mexico.
“I love doing research, as nerdy as it sounds,” they said.
Graduate school is in their plans. Shaw is considering a master’s of fine arts degree and doctorate in literature, but Jacquat is undecided about their options.
“Something that allows me to still have a social justice impact through the work that I’m doing and that’s why it’s really undetermined. It’s dependent upon what the need is of whatever community that I’m part of,” they said.
For the moment, Jacquat and Shaw are focused on building a more inclusive campus community with and for students with chronic illnesses and disabilities.
“I think one amazing thing that lies in our future is bringing that group of people together— having that community that isn’t really established and concrete on campus,” Shaw said. “It’s something we’re really excited about.”