Brueggeman Fellowship offers fresh experiences

By Grace Carlo, staff writer
Photo courtesy of
The Brueggeman Center offers research opportunities for students, including those that take them to places
like Argentina and Syria. Former fellows recount the great experiences they had with travel and research.

Before COVID-19, students selected to be a part of the Brueggeman Fellows program traveled internationally in pursuit of their research projects. 

The pandemic made travel impossible for the fellows this year. With a new year director, the program looks to the future.  

Faculty Director James Buchanan retired this year. Bill Madges has taken over his position and has implemented many changes to the program. New this year, Madges has instituted a professorial mentorship for students involved in the program. 

Fellows will now receive guidance from Madges himself and a professor of their choice with knowledge and expertise in the subject area.

“Faculty mentors will support students by meeting periodically with the fellows as they conduct and refine their research strategies,” Madges said. 

“These faculty mentors will also be invited to attend and participate in the presentations that fellows will make about their respective projects to the next cohort of Brueggeman Fellows,” he added. 

He continued to say that participating faculty members will be compensated for their time and advice with a stipend of $300. 

The Brueggeman Fellows program defines itself as having three goals: research, immersion and self-confidence. The program gives qualifying students up to $3,000 in travel fees as they travel abroad and research a topic of their choice. 

In the past, fellows have traveled to international locations ranging from Argentina to Syria. Its poster notes that it has sent students to 60 different countries across the globe. 

Some students who have taken part in the fellowships have described their experiences as life-changing and rewarding.

“The fellowship challenged me in new, distinctive ways that were unparalleled to any other experience I had at Xavier,” Xavier alum Shelby Lauter, a 2017-2018 fellow, stated. 

Another 2017-2018 fellow, Leo Peyronnin, described his experience as one that provided him with the freedom to be creative.

“For the first time in my life, I was given a structured space to cohere my own ideas and synthesize them into a final product,” he said.  

Though the pandemic severely limited international travel in the 2019-2020 iteration of the fellowship, Madges is confident that next year’s fellows will be able to travel. 

“With the introduction of the coronavirus vaccines and aggressive mitigation efforts, we expect that the fellows will be able to travel internationally during the upcoming academic year. And we strongly encourage students to propose projects that will be transformative for them and for others,” he stated.

The application deadline for the current selection process has been extended to March 29. Applications can be submitted by calling Cynthia Cummins at (513)745-3922 or by emailing