Jepson scholarship recipient earns distinction at Oxford

August 4, 2020
Sabrina Escobar Miranda, '19, will graduate with distinction from Oxford master's program

Earning a master’s degree from the venerable University of Oxford is cause for celebration. All the more so when graduating free of debt and with distinction—a recognition granted those with the highest grades. Such is the case of inaugural Jepson Scholar Sabrina Escobar Miranda, ’19, who completed a Master of Science in Latin American studies in July.

Just prior to her graduation from the Jepson School of Leadership Studies in May 2019, the Jepson Scholars Program awarded Escobar Miranda a full scholarship—covering tuition, room, board, and fees—to pursue a master’s degree at Oxford.

“Attending Oxford has been such an incredible opportunity for me, one that I would not have considered pursuing without the support of the Jepson Scholars Program,” she said. 

The El Salvadoran native drew on her University of Richmond majors in leadership studies and journalism in researching and writing her master’s dissertation, “Feminicide Coverage in El Salvador: An Analysis of Journalistic Practices Used by the Salvadoran Press to Report on Feminicide.” 

From 2016-17, El Salvador had the world’s highest rate of feminicide, the killing of women and girls because they are female, Escobar Miranda said. 

“For my dissertation, I conducted a media content analysis of three Salvadoran newspapers from 2019-20 to determine whether Salvadoran journalists were engaging in good journalistic practices in reporting on violence against women. I determined they were. There’s a lot of conscious effort to train journalists on how to report on these issues.”

Her University of Richmond education prepared her for the rigors of Oxford, Escobar Miranda said.

“My leadership studies major helped me understand the pervasiveness of inequality and racial and gender discrimination,” she said. “It gave me a strong foundation in critical thinking, enabling me to generate strong, compelling arguments.

“My journalism major fomented a deeper understanding of the impact the news can have on society, including on public opinion and legislation. It also helped me analyze news articles for my dissertation, discerning good journalistic practices from bad.”

Escobar Miranda continued her study of leadership by participating in the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative, a program comprising a small group of postgraduate students interested in learning about twenty-first-century global leadership for the common good. Appreciative of the leadership insights Escobar Miranda shared, the program director said she would like to attract more Jepson School graduates, Escobar Miranda said.  

“At Oxford, I got to learn from, and in some cases speak to, important people, including former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos, Prince Charles, and a former member of Parliament," she said. "Everyone who holds an important leadership role in the world comes to Oxford at some point.

“What I valued most about my Oxford experience was learning from first-class scholars and peers who are really smart. I met a lot of incredible people.”

Escobar Miranda also reveled in Oxford traditions, such as wearing the university’s formal academic robes during the matriculation ceremony and exams. “I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, so I was living the dream!” she said.

Although Oxford’s official graduation has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Escobar Miranda is forging ahead. This fall, she will start a nine-month master’s program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

“Journalism has always been my passion,” she said. “Ideally, I would like to utilize my two master’s degrees to work as a foreign correspondent or journalist covering Latino communities and issues.”