Alumna Martice Sutton Inspires Girls to Go Global
If anyone could travel around the world in 80 days without breaking a sweat, it would be Spelman alumna Martice Sutton. The 24-year-old globetrotter’s passion for all things international has taken her from Johannesburg to Istanbul to Hyderabad and back.
Experiences such as these will definitely benefit budding travelistas across the U.S. because Sutton's fierce desire to explore every inch of the planet also serves as the catalyst for her new venture -- Girls Going Global, a growing social enterprise designed to expose African-American girls to the cultures of the world.
Transcending Racial Barriers and Expanding Horizons
“Too often our girls are not exposed to more than their neighborhoods. We want to equip girls with passports and their first opportunities for travel outside of the U.S. We want our girls to go global and to strive to make travel apart of their lifestyles,” says the West Philadelphia native.
During her many trips abroad, Sutton was disturbed that few of the travelers she encountered looked like her; so she became an army of one to change that. Sutton’s decision to increase the number of girls who travel beyond the United States could not have come at a better time.
While the percentage of U.S citizens traveling abroad has increased in recent years according to the International Trade Administration’s Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, the Institute of International Education reports that only 4.7 percent of the individuals they surveyed in 2009-2010 were African-American. By exposing girls ages 10-16 to international travel early in life, Sutton hopes to empower a new generation of change agents eager to impact and better the lives of individuals throughout the world.
Creating a Generation of Game Changers
“The public education system has been counter-productive in preparing the youth of America to be international game changers and doubly negligent in its preparation of African-American youth, “ says Sutton who earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a concentration in international business from Spelman. “Girls Going Global is aggressively trying to better position African Americans to be more active in international affairs and to increase their involvement in the mid-high-level decision-making processes that create the foreign policies that shape our world.”
Sutton is certainly up for the task. Bitten by the wanderlust bug early in life, her international resume reads like a woman three times her age. She studied in Barcelona, Spain; Marrakesh, Morocco; Johannesburg, South Africa; Paris, France; Rome, Italy; London, England; Hyderabad, India; and Istanbul, Turkey.
She was also an active leader on campus. Sutton served as the Student Affairs Global Experience president, Spelman Student Government Association's presidential advisor, an Arche International fellow promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in both the greater Atlanta area and Johannesburg, South Africa and is a member of the Eta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Seizing the Moment
Like other global leaders at Spelman, Sutton's academic and social achievements while in college were numerous. She was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Golden Key International Honors Society, a Women of Excellence Leadership scholar, and a First Generation scholar.
She honed her global business acumen by working with BET Networks marketing department, MTV Networks global inclusion unit, and the McDonalds Corporation's multi-cultural marketing department. Sutton also worked in Hyderabad, India as a social enterprise consultant for Hyderabad's Affordable Private School’s a program associate for Ashoka Innovators for the Public in Washington, D.C. It was while working to create better experiences for young girls in India, that Sutton realized young African-American girls in America, needed someone to champion their causes too. Shortly after that experience, she took a leap of faith and launched her own social enterprise in 2012.
Sutton Speaks on Engineering Innovative Learning Opportunities for Girls
Martice Sutton - Intro from girltank on Vimeo.
To date, Girls Going Global has celebrated Passport Day; provided eight girls in Philadelphia with their first passports; and afforded girls involved in the organization’s summer global engagement program opportunities to explore various cultures through food, language and religion. Participants also learned how adolescent girls in other countries live, and they recently took their first international trip to Toronto.
This summer, Sutton plans to take 10 girls on a cultural exploration of Costa Rica where they will engage in daily Spanish classes, volunteer at a local school, travel to Puerto Viejo’s Caribbean beaches, horseback ride to the famous Aquiares waterfalls, take Spanish cooking lessons, and participate in salsa dance classes.
In addition to her work as founder of Girls Going Global, Sutton works with Diversity Abroad to advance diversity and equity in international education.You can learn more about her adventures at blackgirlinthebigworld.blogspot.com