Hawk’s Eye View: Emma Cowen ’21


Emma Cowen during study abroad trip

A keen desire to explore the world drew Emma Cowen '21 to UNCW four years ago. Once on campus, Cowen took classes for her international studies and French double major. She also studied abroad in France for a semester to conduct research about a relatively unknown World War II French resistance group called the Justes and to work on an organic farm, thanks to support from the Alfred and Anita Schnog Travel Award.

In this Hawk’s Eye View, Cowen shares in her own words what has made her UNCW experience like no other. 

UNCW students are really passionate and inspired people who have the drive to make whatever it is we want to do a reality. We all bring something unique to the table that is worth supporting.

— Emma Cowen '21, international studies and French double major

What’s your favorite place on campus? 

I love Leutze Hall – especially the staircase leading up to it. A lot of my friends from French and International Studies would meet and study and have coffee there. It’s a beautiful place to sit and read.

What’s the best part of UNCW student life for you? 

I love that UNCW really promotes interdisciplinarity. There are so many people who value the same things I do, but they present them from all different perspectives – from marine biology and science to sustainability and the humanities. It’s neat to see how we can all connect despite studying such different things. 

Who are the UNCW faculty or staff who’ve made a big impact on you?

That’s a tough question – they’re all wonderful! Dr. Florentina Andreescu has been my advisor for international studies. She’s been supportive of anything I’ve wanted to do and really has helped me get to where I am. I also have a very special relationship with Dr. Pascale Barthe (of the French department). She’s always been supportive of the fact that I want to learn more, and she challenges me in a lot of different ways.

Your study abroad experience in France produced research that led to an impressive academic publication, but how did it impact you personally?

That was a really influential period in my life in general, but it’s also where my mind goes when I think about my four years at UNCW. I had so many unique experiences in building that program for myself. I had to ask what I wanted out of the experience, then find out ways to get there. Having to coordinate everything on my own really challenged me and prepared me to create a life for myself. There are a lot of parallels to what I’m trying to do now – how can I have the impact that I want to have while also continuing my academic career?

You’re graduating in a couple of weeks. What are your future plans?

It’s a bit challenging right now with where we’re at (in the pandemic), but I’d like to go back to France and teach English there. I think I’ll be able to learn as much as I’ll be teaching and encouraging people to embrace that process. Learning another language makes you appreciate the learning process and how we often take it for granted. If I can’t go abroad, I want to continue my French studies, which has been really beneficial for my work in international studies.

Philanthropy, through the Schnog Travel Grant, had a big impact on your UNCW experience. Why is it important that people continue providing these opportunities for students like you?

I am so grateful to the Schnog Travel Grant – if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did. UNCW students are really passionate and inspired people who have the drive to make whatever it is we want to do a reality. We all bring something unique to the table that is worth supporting. If you give us the ability to challenge ourselves, we’ll make the best use of whatever support we can get.

Increasing support for scholarships and applied learning opportunities is a top priority of Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW. Learn how you can get involved or make a gift today.

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