Graduate School and International Education / Research and Innovation

Graduate School and International Education / Research and Innovation

“During his around-the-world travels, my son Kitt wrote the haiku, ‘I shun the straight roads. Well worn paths lead to no truth. I’d rather wander.’ Through this scholarship, Kitt helps others continue their own explorations.”

- Mark Carl Rom, B.A. ‘80

Chasing Dreams Abroad

Grace Vehige says her international experience gave her a once in a lifetime opportunity to live out her dreams, and Jonathan Douglas says his allowed him to experience history and culture like never before. Both were recipients of the Nathan “Kitt” Rom Memorial Study Abroad Scholarship, which was created during Campaign Arkansas by emeritus professor Roy Rom in memory of his grandson, who passed away in a skiing accident in 2016.

“After his accident, I thought about how I could honor his spirit and sense of adventure,” he said. “Study abroad would be something he’d be interested in.”

Vehige and Douglas embody that same sense of adventure and used their opportunities to experience life in Italy and England, respectively.

Vehige, a 2020 graduate of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, completed two degrees in agriculture and two study abroad programs in three years, as well as her undergraduate thesis. During her last semester of school, she used funding from the Kitt Rom Scholarship to take classes in Rome through the U of A Rome Center

“I wanted to be in a new environment, studying new things and meeting new people,” she said. “I wanted to experience a whole different culture. It was, without a doubt, transformational for me in more ways than I could have imagined.”

Douglas, also a 2020 graduate, earned degrees in international global studies and communication from the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. As an exchange student at the University of Sussex, his eyes were opened to life as an international student and the challenges that come with balancing old and new cultures. He also had the opportunity to visit the United Nations in Geneva, which he aspires to work for one day.

“Being abroad showed me that there are still amazing people in the world today,” he said. “We may have different cultures or experiences, but ultimately we are still the same.”

Both students realize their overseas adventures would not have been possible – or at least a lot more difficult to achieve – without the scholarship support they received.

“The scholarship is what really allowed me to be able to travel to other places and make the most out of my experience,” Douglas said. “There is only so much that can be taught inside a classroom, and from my experience, it takes someone to truly be there to understand the history and culture.”

Vehige added, “I am so grateful I did not have the stress of financial burdens, and for that matter, I am thankful my parents did not either. I was able to go to Rome with an open mind and a hunger for new experiences. I was able to chase my dreams, and I have no plans for stopping any time soon.”

Jonathan Douglas

Jonathan Douglas

Grace Vehige

Grace Vehige


Julie Olsen
Director of Development