Academics: Study Abroad

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All Aboard for Study Abroad (continued) 

Dozens of Spelman women jet off annually to their study abroad programs.  Margery A. Ganz, Ph.D., director of the Study Abroad and International Exchange Program at Spelman, and professor of history, says the criteria for study abroad is clear-cut and the payoff for the students endless.

At least 32 countries have hosted Spelmanites across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America, and include universities in the West Indies, England, Czech Republic, Japan and Chile.

The trips can be life-altering. Ariel Eckblad, valedictorian of the Spelman class of 2010, applied for and won a Fulbright scholarship during her senior year.  The award, which covers travel, research, and study after graduation, is allowing her to research women in government in India. Last year, the recipient of a Harvard Law School acceptance letter won a Marshall Scholarship. Consequently, she will study at Royal Holloway, University of London after India and go to Harvard later. She was the third Marshall recipient for Spelman, and the College was the only HBCU to win a Marshall this cycle.

Create Your Own Luck

Another alumna also knows that the best luck is the kind you make yourself. Juliana C. K. Montgomery, C’2006, is one of two Spelmanites to be named a Henry Luce Scholar. Now, the alumna, who was part of a team at a Portland, Ore., ad agency that won an Emmy for a Super Bowl commercial, works in Singapore at the Asian Film Archive.

The other 2010-2011 Luce Scholar is Ouleye Ndoye, C’2007. The international studies graduate is in northeast Thailand working with the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities. This agency is committed to stopping the trafficking of women and children.

Making Something Happen

Like many classmates, Khadijah Robinson, C’2011, chose Spelman over other schools like FAMU, Duke and Alabama. She was Spelman’s first student to study at Portugal’s New University of Lisbon. “The best thing Spelman has done for me is forced me to seek out my own opportunities and grow up if I wanted to make something happen,” says Robinson.

A candidate for a Fulbright grant to return to Portugal to do research on Portugal’s former colonies, Robinson hopes to earn a master’s and juris doctorate in international public policy, and to one day work as an international public interest attorney or a diplomat.

Make a Profound Impact

Two study abroad experiences in Mexico and England “made a profound impact on” Nicole Venable. She is a principal at the Bockorny Group, a bipartisan lobbying firm.

The time overseas gave Venable “the travel bug.” She spent part of her graduate school time in Italy and still travels abroad annually. In gratitude, Venable meets with Spelman students who our interns on Capitol Hill and helps administer the “Spelmanites on the Hill” networking group. She also established  the Lady Von Scholarship at Spelman. It will be endowed to the $50,000 level. Current Spelman students have used the funds to study in China, South Africa and Senegal.