Cream of the Crop
Global scholars program attracts top high school students to KSU
(Jun 10, 2010) —
Global scholars program attracts top high school students to KSU
International and intercultural learning opportunities are hallmarks of a Kennesaw
State University education. In 2007, a five-year Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) was
launched to provide more visibility to the university’s mission of preparing students
to be leaders in an increasingly global society and creating a campus culture that
assures appreciation of diversity. Since then, each new semester has presented KSU
students greater opportunity to expand their global awareness and competencies: new
degrees in international business and policy management; a Global Engagement Certification
program; an invigorating 27th “Year of ” country study focusing on Korea; the opening
of a Confucius Institute that is already breaking new ground in teaching Chinese language
and culture; and formal partnerships with more than 40 universities in 23 countries.
Thousands of KSU students have traveled to nearly every part of the world, participating
in study abroad programs. Expanding international internships and a new Presidential
Emerging Global Scholars program are giving KSU’s best and brightest a unique window
on the world.
At the midway point, KSU Magazine continues its QEP update with a look at some
of the initiatives preparing students for their roles as global citizens..
Last fall, not even two months into her freshman year of college, Marlee Cox traveled
to Brazil with 20 of her classmates. The 10-day trip to the city of Salvador, part
of a new learning community for high-achieving first-year students, gave Cox the chance
to meet Brazilian college students, visit a community learning lab that provides educational
and business instruction and visit a program that teaches effective farming methods
in rural communities. Their travels, she says “changed the way we view the world.”
“We partnered with students from the University of Unijorge in Salvador, Brazil,”
said Cox, who plans to major in art. “They view access to education as a privilege
and a way to improve their community, no matter how impoverished. I came home with
a renewed commitment to my education and my own community.”
Cox and 41 freshmen are in the inaugural class of the President’s Emerging Global
Scholars program (PEGS), an initiative designed to attract local high school students
from the top 5 percent of their graduating class to KSU. Many of these high performing
students could have their choice of schools; they chose KSU because PEGS offers them
something unique, something no other school in Georgia offers – tailored learning
communities, extensive international travel, undergraduate research opportunities
PEGS students are grouped in cohorts and follow one of two tracks – one for science
and math majors and another for all other majors. Every student begins with a class
that teaches students to think strategically about important global issues. The goal
is to prepare the students to be globally competent citizens.
In addition, each cohort must participate in a learning community that includes
a global leadership freshman seminar.
“This is the first step in providing mentors and trying to connect internships
with long-term goals,” said Brian Wooten, director of the Center for Student Leadership.
“We want to really push them to stretch themselves. If they have a dream of working
for the United Nations, we want them to consider maybe working an internship at an
PEGS offers students the opportunity to study other cultures and consider concepts
from a global perspective while participating in joint-service projects, said Nancy
Prochaska, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship and a PEGS faculty
fellow. “The purpose,” she said, “is to give students a global perspective so they
develop with a heightened awareness of the differences in the world.”
The PEGS program arose from President Daniel S. Papp’s interest in providing opportunities
for students to thrive at KSU and to prepare them to make them strong candidates for
prestigious scholarships such as the Rhodes, Truman and Goldwater, Wooten explained.
After evaluating other universities whose students regularly win these scholarships,
Wooten said they discovered distinct similarities among the candidates. Nearly all
students recorded a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher; they took a leading role
in conducting research; they had extensive international travel experience; and they
developed leadership skills by working with mentors. The PEGS program was created
to provide these opportunities.
When deciding where to go to college, Cox, the freshman, was wowed by the PEGS
“I grew up around Kennesaw, so I really was determined to get away from home for
my college years,” she said. “I applied to several out-of-state schools, but after
I received a letter describing the PEGS program, I decided KSU was the place for me.”
Study Abroad Options Include
Internships, Exchange Programs
KSU offers many other opportunities for students to take advantage of internships
abroad. This semester, Emily Dolezal, education abroad adviser in the Institute for
Global Leadership, has placed four KSU students in international internships.
“One student is working for a non profit in Uganda, helping with community
development and promoting the local handicrafts they are selling,” she said. “Another
student works in community development in Guatemala. We have an international business
major working for Glock GmbH, a German firearms manufacturer, in its Uruguay office.
And our intern in Germany is a foreign language intern.”
For students who wish to immerse themselves in other cultures, the International
Student Exchange Program (ISEP) coordinates student exchanges for one semester or
an entire academic year in a number of different countries.
“Students take courses in their major at 42 eligible overseas universities,
participating in classes with the host institution’s students and faculty,” said KSU’s
ISEP director Michele Miller.
During academic year 2008-09, ISEP placed students in 22 countries, including
Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Trinidad and Tobago, Japan, China, India, Russia and
Sweden. This semester, 10 students are participating in exchange programs in France,
Thailand and Spain.
- Neil McGahee
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.