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Student Spotlight: Samantha Noel and Chloe Stowell

CLASS sophomores awarded Honors College scholarship to travel to Europe this summer

As freshmen, Samantha Noel and Chloe Stowell lived on the same floor of their UH residence hall. They were casual acquaintances who offered each other a passing smile or a friendly wave as they each navigated their way through their first year of college.

As sophomores, however, Noel and Stowell are building a friendship as they plan the trip of a lifetime together.

The two CLASS and Honors College students are co-recipients of the 2015 Faber-Economon European Travel (F.E.E.T.) scholarship which will allow them to travel together throughout Europe this summer.

The Honors College is a supportive small-college environment within the university that allows students to fulfill many core and major requirements for their majors in other colleges through alternative Honors versions of courses. In addition, research, travel, and other educational opportunities are offered exclusively to Honors College students, including the F.E.E.T. scholarship.

Made possible through the generosity of two Honors alumni, Hanneke Faber and Aris Economon, the F.E.E.T. Scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students who have never traveled ‘across the pond’ to visit Europe in an unguided, unscheduled manner. As winners, Noel and Stowell receive airfare to/from Europe, a 3-week Eurail pass, and a €1,000 stipend (approximately $1,250).

“This year’s F.E.E.T. applicant pool was the largest and strongest in the ten years we have offered this opportunity, and the decision process was difficult. Ultimately, however, Chloe and Samantha really stood out as the best fit,” says Keri Myrick, executive assistant to the dean in the Honors College and scholarship coordinator.

Noel, a native of Sarasota, Fla., is majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a member of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association and a weekly volunteer Center for Hearing and Speech. She is also a National Merit Scholar, Honors College Ambassador and actor in the Honors College Club Theatre.

Stowell, an anthropology major, grew up in Alvin, a town about 35 miles from the UH campus. She is a member of the Bonner Leaders Program, the honors service leadership program, and is the head delegate of Model Arab League. Sshe served as assistant secretary general at the Bilateral Model Arab League Regional Conference held at UH in February. As head delegate for the team, Stowell will travel to Washington D.C. in mid-April to represent UH at the National University Model Arab League.

“While there, she will meet with the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. and representatives from the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen,” says Myrick.

However, this summer extracurricular activities and coursework will temporarily take a backseat to their European travels.

One of the benefits of the F.E.E.T. scholarship is that it will allow Noel and Stowell to visit Europe without having to enroll in study abroad classes or take time off from school. They will leave on May 18 and return to the U.S. on June 7.

“Traveling with one other person to a brand new continent is anxiety-inducing on so many levels. Will I get pick-pocketed? How will I remain aware? What if we don’t arrive to the train on time? So many questions…but I’m sure it will turn out fine,” says Stowell.

The traveling companions have decided that preparation is key to getting the most out of their trip.

“Chloe and I meet once a week to plan our itinerary,” says Noel. “We are in the process of deciding what we will do each day of our three week trip. We are researching restaurants, hostels, and the various sites/monuments/museums/landmarks we will see over the course of our journey.”

So far they have plans to visit the Louvre, the Anne Frank House, the Laurentian Medici Library, and the Rijksmuseum Library.

The duo is equally looking forward to eating their way through Europe - they have already agreed to sample as much gelato as possible.

“This trip will enhance my education by providing me with a wider range of experiences, which I can use to formulate a unique perspective not only in class discussions, papers, and presentations, but also my life as a whole,” says Noel.

Stowell, whose long-term goals have an international aspect, sees this trip as a stepping stone to her future.

“I hope to eventually attend graduate school for educational policy with an emphasis on international education development. After that, I want to improve education programs internationally and build quality systems where there are none currently,” she says.

-        by Monica Byars