One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Sarah Mummert, Student Public Relations Writer

In February 2022, Thad Burson of Cedarville, Ohio, didn’t fully believe studying abroad was going to be an option. Now, a year later, as the recipient of the State Department’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, he is studying foreign policy at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England. 

Majoring in political science with a focus on Middle Eastern foreign affairs and law at Cedarville University, Burson hasn’t spent any of his junior year on Cedarville’s campus. He participated in Cedarville’s D.C. Semester program in the fall, where he served as a full-time policy intern for the House Committee on Homeland Security. 

It was while he was in Washington, D.C., that Burson had to decide whether to study in Oxford the following spring — without knowing if he would receive the prestigious scholarship.  

He decided to go to Oxford and soon thereafter, he received the scholarship. 

“When I was given the scholarship, it felt like a small gift of the Lord’s kindness to my heart, confirming that he was providing for this opportunity,” Burson said.  Thad Burson in Oxford.

The Gilman Program supports undergraduate students in their experiences abroad by providing financial aid for those who opt out of study abroad programs due to financial constraints. And it’s the type of award that can make a student stand out from the crowd. 

“Not only is this a prestigious award, but it also carries a significant moniker of achievement on a resume that also includes a semester-long study abroad experience,” said Dr. Glen Duerr, chair of the history and government department and professor of international studies. “And there’s another advantage to studying abroad: a passport with stamps.” 

Burson is taking two classes, called “tutorials,” during his eight-week term at Oxford, where he meets once weekly with a professor and conducts his own research for a series of essays on assigned topics. His two tutorials are titled International Relations of the Middle East, and E.U. Immigration, Asylum and Human Rights Law. 

After his term ends in early March, Burson will spend several weeks exploring Europe with other Cedarville students studying at Oxford, including Thomas Avery (junior, majoring in history, from Turlock, California), Caleb Forehand (junior, political science; Chinchester, New Hampshire), Kiki Stanton (junior, international studies; Ypsilanti, Michigan) and Savannah Morello (sophomore, liberal arts; Houston, Texas). 

The classes Burson has taken at Cedarville University, including international relations and Arabic, helped set the stage for his deep dive into Middle Eastern affairs at Oxford, which is renowned for its expertise in international relations, international law and foreign affairs. 

“Thad is an outstanding student who is highly motivated,” Duerr said, having had him in class and coached him on the Model U.N. team last spring. “With regularity, he submits exceptionally high-quality work.” 

Burson hopes to pursue a dual J.D. and master’s degree in international relations in graduate school to start a career in the foreign policy or legal fields. 

“In either field, I want to serve the Lord by lending my skills to protecting vulnerable populations or countering malicious actors,” he said. 

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is a Baptist university with undergraduate programs in arts, sciences, and professional programs, and graduate programs. With an enrollment of 5,456 students in 175 areas of study, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio and is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its Bachelor of Arts in political science, and high graduation and retention rates. For more information about the University, visit

Share This Article

Interested in Cedarville?

Request Information

Are You Looking for an Expert?

Cedarville University is known throughout the country for its faculty experts who speak into national and international topics. You can find the expert you are seeking by searching our "Media Experts Guide" for detailed profiles and contact information.

Media Experts Guide »