The Phares Family Grant for International Engagement

The Phares Family Grant for International Engagement is a $7,000 award administered by the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activity. Preference will be given to rising juniors and seniors who are unable to study abroad during the academic year, and who plan to travel abroad for a period of a minimum of two weeks for an independent research study that will enhance their overall undergraduate experience.

Apply online by February 15, 2022.

The Inspiration Behind the Phares Family Grant

Katharine Phares
Katharine Phares ’91

In the Spring of her Junior year, Katharine Herring Phares was awarded the Rose Travelling Fellowship, a brainchild of Professor Richard Rose JHU 1953. Professor Rose designed this fellowship for students who were unable to experience a study abroad program during the school year due to other academic or extra-curricular commitments. Katharine wanted to provide a similar opportunity for students today who were unable to study abroad due to other obligations or for financial reasons. Her experience was so transformational in her life in that it helped influence her choice of career, her love of travel and, as a result, she believes it was one of the more impactful accomplishments in her early life. With this in mind, she has gifted JHU with the Phares Family Grant for International Engagement to positively benefit others like her.

Katharine chose not to do her junior year abroad. She played Field Hockey and Lacrosse which required her to be on campus the majority of the year. As an Art History major, Katharine understood the importance of experiencing her field of study in the settings works of arts were created or resided. Instead of forgoing a season, Katharine chose instead to travel and work in the summers and intern for a local sculptor in Baltimore during the school year. Her sophomore summer she worked on an archeological dig in Paphos, Cyprus and, as a rising Senior, in the summer of 1990, she travelled in the Netherlands and France with the help of the Rose Travelling Fellowship.  

1990 was the hundredth anniversary of Vincent Van Gogh’s death. Throughout Europe the art world was celebrating his life by exhibiting collections of his art together in retrospectives and organizing festivals and lectures throughout the summer. Katharine applied for the Rose Travelling Fellowship in the hope of experiencing it first-hand. She built the case that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this many pieces of Van Gogh’s art in one place. It would allow her to follow in his footsteps and experience his transformation in artistic style as he travelled from the Netherlands to France where he was influenced by Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist artists and the local scenery. She designed a four-week trip taking her from Amsterdam to the areas he lived in France – Paris, Arles, and Saint Remy – visiting every exhibition and piece of Van Gogh’s art represented.  

Thereafter, Katharine became Captain and All-American on both of her teams and was awarded the Catherine P. Cramer Award for the top female athlete of the year at JHU graduation. The Fellowship had the benefit of influencing her next move after graduating also. She moved to New York City and worked at an art gallery which represented contemporary artists. Later she worked at Calvin Klein in advertising which led her to study marketing in business school at Columbia University. With an MBA she worked in financial services marketing at – American Express, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase. Currently, she resides in New York City with her husband, Craig, and their three young children – Didier, Charlie and Keene.