Crossing the pond for academic pursuits




For almost half a century, the Thouron family has strived to foster a closer relationship between Penn and British universities.

This year, three Penn students received the Thouron Award, which will fund their pursuit of a graduate degree at a United Kingdom university for up to two years.

Conversely, the program also funds several British students who want to spend a year or two pursuing graduate degrees at Penn.

One recipient, Veyom Bahl, graduated in 2007 with a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a minor in urban studies.

Bahl, who has already spent a year in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar, hopes to enroll at the University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning.

“It has the largest conglomeration of faculty and students in the world focused on issues of this very exciting cross-section of anthropology, sociology, urban studies, policy and development,” according to Bahl.

He looks forward to being in the UK during the preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games and maybe even finding a job on the organizing committee.

Sam Levine, an Engineering and Wharton senior, first gained interest in the Thouron scholarship after he won a Thouron Prize for Summer Study at Cambridge his junior year.

Levine is excited to return to the UK, though he hopes to switch cities and earn a master’s degree in management and regulation risk at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“This major is really unique because it’s not just about finance, it’s about how we manage financial risk in society,” Levine explained. “You could personally build a program like this in the U.S., but there’s nothing already available.”

Stefan Sabo, a senior with a mathematics major who sub-matriculated at Penn into the Masters in Math program, hopes to pursue a second graduate degree — a Masters of Advanced Studies in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge.

Sabo has never studied abroad and anticipates collaborating with an entirely new set of minds.

“[The masters program] attracts a lot of international people, so I’ll meet inspiring mathematicians, statisticians and physicists from countries all over the world,” Sabo said.

When asked how they differentiated the Thouron Award from other schoalrship programs, the students responded similarly.

“There is a wonderful sense of community offered by this program,” Bahl said.

This became most apparent when the finalists had a full day of meals and interviews with past award winners and Thouron family members in late January.

“It’s definitely a fun-loving atmosphere,” Levine added. “Everyone is really social and fun to hang out with, but they are also extremely accomplished.”

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