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Global Engagement Scholars Program

Photo taken by Kevin Garrone during his international experience in Japan

October 30, 2017

            As a university student, being globally engaged can come in many forms. Some students study or co-op abroad. Others are involved in multicultural student organizations. Some study languages. Others participate in events that bring together people of different cultures. There are even students who spend more time abroad than on campus. But, how can students effectively communicate their experiences as a globally engaged citizen to their peers, employers, and others?

            The Global Engagement Scholars program was created to provide acknowledgement of students’ global engagement during their undergraduate university careers. Throughout the program, scholars are required to complete four globally oriented courses, at least one being in a foreign language, two to three international and/or cross-cultural experiences, and six globally-themed events. After each activity, scholars have the opportunity to meet with a faculty or staff mentor to reflect on their experiences before completing a reflective essay for each activity requirement. Upon completion of these activities, scholars present a portfolio that demonstrates how these activities influenced them as global citizens and impacted their future goals. Finally, students receive recognition of their involvement in the program on their transcripts. In the process, the program also provides students with valuable connections to the international community both on and off campus.

            Scholars choose their mentors from a wide range of faculty and staff across university disciplines. Mentors meet quarterly with each scholar to reflect on the students’ global engagement, whether that be from a recent study abroad, an experience at a local event, or anything in between. The reflections help students draw connections between lessons learned, develop new perspectives from their coursework, and apply the knowledge they gain to be more globally minded in the future. Ahaji Schreffler, associate director in Study Abroad and a mentor in the Global Engagement Scholars program urges students to think about their education as a global education, that leads them to become global citizens: “I want [students] to think of the bigger picture and learn to synthesize their experiences with what it is to lead a global life.”

            While mentors serve as a sounding board for mentees, mentees allow mentors an opportunity to build a relationship with students who have similar interests. Dr. Paul Gondek, Drexel professor in LeBow College of Business and mentor, expressed, “I never got the chance to go abroad during my studies, so in a way, I get to live through these students.” During his time as a mentor, Dr. Gondek has learned to communicate with people very different from himself and applied his knowledge to his job as a professor. Through communications with diverse students, mentors are able to aid scholars in deeper reflections on globally themed activities.

            These reflections culminate in a portfolio presentation, where graduating students share their experiences with mentors and younger students in the program. The portfolio presentation encompasses the students’ sense of how being globally engaged has impacted who they are in a personal, academic, and professional sense during their undergraduate academic careers. This is also an opportunity for mentors and scholars to network amongst each other.

            The program is available to undergraduate students of any major with a 3.0 GPA or higher, who are interested in enhancing their global competency. Students do not need to go abroad to fulfill the program requirements; however, many scholars do. Kevin Garrone (B.S. Software Engineering, Class of 2017, and Global Engagement Scholar) reflected, “The reason I decided to join was because I realized how easy it could be for my study abroad experience to be just a single blip in my life – I wanted to take the opportunity to keep those international opportunities open. The program seemed like a great way to reflect on my experience and allow me to see the path forward.”

            For more information about the Global Engagement Scholars program, contact the Office of International Programs at or attend a Global Engagement Scholars orientation.

Special thanks to Adam Zahn, Kevin Garrone, Dr. Paul Gondek, and Ahaji Schreffler.