Fairfield Launches New Global Scholars Program
As today’s job market becomes increasingly multilingual, multicultural and globalized, Fairfield University’s International Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies programs are launching a joint initiative to help students get ahead of the global curve.
On Oct. 19, the programs will co-host a 10 a.m. kick-off event in Bellarmine’s Diffley Board Room to announce the launch of a new Global Scholars Program that will expand Fairfield’s learning opportunities to different corners of the world.
In direct alignment with the University’s overarching mission to develop students into “global citizens,” the Global Scholars Program will initially offer undergrads the opportunity to participate in partially funded interdisciplinary summer internships with organizations located in the Global South. Each short-term, immersive opportunity ranges in length from four to ten weeks and offers students the chance to engage in hands-on, professional job experiences in less traveled countries like Brazil, South Africa, Guatemala and The Gambia.
“The goal of the program is to increase student engagement with less commonly known cultures and languages, while providing a more diverse pool of students with access to exciting learning opportunities in interesting places,” said Dr. Terry-Ann Jones, Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology and Director of the University’s International Studies program. “We are looking to fill the gaps that exist in study abroad programs by providing internships that are accessible to students of all areas of study, regardless of their financial means.”
The program, which was originally conceived by the late Dr. Gisela Gil-Egui in 2014, was recently awarded a two-year grant by the U.S. Department of Education to pilot four, partially funded internships in the Global South during the Summer of 2017. Each site offers participants a wide range of interdisciplinary work experiences, from wildlife conservation in the state of Rio de Janeiro to holistic education initiatives in South Africa. The short-term nature of the internships is ideal for students with heavy curricular commitments and extra curricular scheduling constraints during the regular school year, as well as students who are otherwise unable to study abroad for an entire semester.
“Two of the main things that affect students’ abilities to study abroad are time and money,” explained International Studies Associate Director Anita Deeg-Carlin, who will facilitate the program along with Dr. Jones and economics professors Dina Franceschi and William Vasquez-Mazariegos. “By addressing these obstacles, our program is able to offer these transformative opportunities to a more diverse group of students, opportunities that often end up directing their career paths. ”
Following the Oct. 19 kick-off event, the program’s internships will be made available via a web-based application to Fairfield students with a GPA of 2.8 or higher on a competitive basis. Applicants from groups traditionally underrepresented in study abroad, including first generation college students, students from minority backgrounds, athletes, low income students or students with heavy curricular loads are encouraged to apply for a Global Scholar Award, which will grant funding to one intern at each of the four pilot locations.
While only four Global Scholar Awards are available for the Summer of 2017, the program aims to double this number in 2018, in addition to expanding its geographic reach in future years to locations in Asia and the Middle East.
“Right now, the program is in its infancy,” Deeg-Carlin said, “but we dream that it will get bigger and ultimately offer opportunities across the globe. We are excited to offer these internships to our students and look forward to seeing how they incorporate their experiences back into the fabric of the Fairfield community.”
The Global Scholars Program is funded 100-percent by U.S. Department of Education, Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Programs.