Crane Graduate Fellowship helps Evan Schalon spend one more special year at OHIO
When Evan Schalon arrived in Athens, he was a long way from his hometown in Maryland on the other side of the Eastern Continental Divide. But when it was time to graduate, he jumped at the opportunity for one more year at Ohio University.
Schalon was awarded the David M. Crane Graduate Fellowship for International Affairs, which supports an Ohio University student who goes on to pursue a master's degree in the Center for International Studies. And in Schalon's case, it also supported one more year in the Marching 110.
"The most difficult thing about coming to Ohio was moving so far away from home. I knew this when I applied to Ohio University, so I was prepared for this. But the first couple of nights were difficult. As my time here wore on, however, I got more used to the college life and built up my friend group. I can safely say that from my first day here, it has just gotten better and better," said Schalon, who graduated last spring with double majors in history and political science from the College of Arts and Sciences and studies in war and peace from the Center for International Studies.
"I really wanted to stay another year in Athens, especially considering that I lost nearly a full year of the Marching 110 due to COVID. The one-year program was ideal, as it allowed me to do band another year, whilst pursuing a degree in something that will support my career goals of working in the international relations sphere," said Schalon, who is pursuing a master's degree in war and peace studies this year.
Schalon said that while many of his favorite OHIO memories involved band, "among my favorite OHIO experiences were virtually interning at the State Department and in Congress, while still being able to live in Athens. I used to joke that my house in Athens was an embassy and a congressional office," he said.
"My absolute favorite moment, however, was when I got to have dinner with David Crane after being awarded his fellowship. It was an awesome experience hearing about how he used his experiences at OHIO to make the world a safer and better place. I hope to follow in his footsteps when I graduate and make him and the entire OHIO community proud," said Schalon, who received the Patricia Weitsman Memorial Scholarship as undergraduate student.
Crane is one of the most recognized international criminal lawyers in the world, having served as the founding Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1972 and a master’s in African studies in 1973. He was presented an Honorary Doctorate of Letters Degree at OHIO's Graduate Commencement in 2017. He earned a Juris Doctor from Syracuse University in 1980.
Q&A with Evan Schalon
Q: What path did you follow to get where you are today?
A: I came here from Maryland knowing absolutely nobody and having no idea what I was really getting myself into. Through the band and some classes, I was able to start building friendships. These friends eventually became my roommates and especially during COVID became the people that I leaned on. The people I met along the way while completing my undergraduate degrees are the reason why I wanted so desperately to stay for another year.
Q: Did you have any internships or student leadership experiences at OHIO?
A: I completed three internships during my undergraduate time here. In spring of 2020, I completed an in-person internship in the House of Representatives that was cut short due to COVID. Fortunately, due to the office’s inability to train summer interns, I was hired back in a virtual capacity over that summer. My second internship was a virtual internship with a congressional campaign in Ohio’s first congressional district. My last internship was at the Department of State Bureau of Legislative Affairs and was also virtual.
Q: And what clubs/activities were you involved in?
A: I am a five-year member of the Marching 110 and have served as a section leader for three years. I have also served in numerous roles in Kappa Kappa Psi, the honorary band fraternity, including president, vice president and parliamentarian. I also represented Ohio University at the West Point Student Conference on U.S. Affairs (SCUSA) in 2021. And I volunteer coaching for the Athens Sandlot baseball teams.
Q: Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?
A: My favorite professors were those who developed good relationships with their students in a dynamic classroom setting. Dr. Brandon Kendhammer, Dr. James Mosher, Dr. Kevin Mattson, and Dr. Nukhet Sandal all maintained great learning environments in their classrooms, kept the course matter interesting, and developed working relationships with their students. Dr. Kendhammer and Dr. Sandal were also instrumental in helping me pursue internships and special opportunities, as well as advising me on classes and my career.
Q: What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?
A: I really had two such moments. One was in band, and one was in my studies. In band, at the end of my first week in the Marching 110, it is revealed who makes the field for the pregame show and who is on the sideline. I worked very very hard my first week, and when it was revealed that I was on the field, I was extremely excited.
My second ah ha moment was during my sophomore year when I interviewed for the D.C. internship and one of the interviewers said, “You are so ready for the hill.” This statement gave me a newfound sense of confidence that allowed me to succeed in D.C. D.C. was an amazing experience, and I credit this interview for having a huge impact on my success in that internship.
Q: What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?
A: Always be looking for more opportunities to expand your education. The opportunities that I got during undergrad came from always looking for open doors and talking to the right people. Be sure to seek out opportunities and experiences, even if it’s not exactly what you want to do in the long run. The more opportunities you take advantage of, the more doors will open in the direction of your career path. This is more than one thing, but it is very important to remember to enjoy Athens. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of classes, but Athens really is a special place if you can find the right things to do.