Hart High School graduate Cassidy Block, now a junior at Santa Clara University, was selected to attend Oxford University as part of an endowed honors scholarship program.
Block is set to be one of 30 visiting scholars from around the world to study at Mansfield College, part of Britain’s prestigious Oxford University, through Santa Clara University’s scholarship program, which is open to junior honors students with a 3.7 GPA or high, with the school annually sponsoring just one student for a year of study at Mansfield College.
“It’s crazy because only one person gets it every year, so that was such an honor,” Block said, adding that she believes it’s because of some of her English teachers at Hart, who were instrumental in helping her develop her writing skills, that she credits to helping her get this opportunity. “I’m really grateful to them for that.”
Block, who is double majoring in English and political science, minoring in philosophy and has an emphasis on pre-law, is looking forward to studying all of those subjects, along with other contemporary subjects, like English authors, at Oxford.
“I’m super into 18th-century British literature and political philosophy and a bunch of different things that are super special to study at Oxford because they specialize in the humanities,” Block added.
Though Block said she always knew she wanted to study abroad in college, she never expected it’d be at Oxford.
“It exceeded any expectation that I had for studying abroad,” she said of being accepted into the program.
Block’s mother, Diane, said she’s amazed by her daughter’s accomplishment.
“When she got (accepted) … I screamed so loud, I felt like we won the lottery because I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “It was just such a tremendous gift.”
Not only does Block love reading, but she’s also great at writing, so her mom thinks it’s the perfect opportunity for her to delve further into those subjects.
“With this whole COVID thing … it was just great news coming out of that,” she added.
Though Block graduated high school in 2019, before the pandemic hit, her college experience hasn’t been what she’d imagined it’d be, so going to Oxford will be the perfect way to make up for it, both Blocks agreed.
“Going away to another country for a year is definitely out of my comfort zone, but I’m just really excited to immerse myself in another culture and hopefully travel a lot while still learning a lot about things that I’m already passionate about,” Block said. “(I’m ready to) just take full advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they have given me to study there … and continue to push myself to go out of my comfort zone, experience new things and have a new adventure.”