Pumpkin Carving Fever

The Pumpkin Carving event on Friday, October 26 was a total success! Despite anticipating only a few people, more than 15 people stopped by throughout the two hours we had programmed for the event.

We started out by carving pumpkins outside of WORLD, but had to adapt to the situation due to rain. So, we moved the table to the roofed area outside of the main entrance. Students got to interact with one another while performing this American tradition while enjoying a slice of pizza, a caramelized apple, candy and apple spiced cider.

I believe the only issue was that the weather was not so much on our side, but we managed to adapt to the situation and make the best out of it!

WORLD’s Social Committee

Zoe Weaver wins Stetson Student Employee of the Month

Zoe Weaver, ‘19, one of WORLD’s outstanding student employees, is winner of the October 2018 Student of the Month Competition at Stetson University.

Our Student Employment office hosts the monthly competition. The office seeks meritorious nominations from employers for student employees who exemplify Stetson’s Professional and Career Readiness Competency themes. This month’s theme is Professionalism and Productivity.

Stetson’s Professional and Career Readiness Competencies are the basis of each month’s theme and represent skills most sought by employers: critical thinking and problem solving, professionalism and productivity, teamwork and collaboration, communication, digital literacy, leadership, global and intercultural engagement, and career navigation. Our student workers practice and master these competencies in their campus work roles. Stetson employers are encouraged to help student employees recognize and build competencies to enable better articulation of transferable skills when students interview for internships, jobs, and post-baccalaureate educational opportunities.

Wendy Viggiano, who serves as Stetson’s international learning program coordinator and Weaver’s supervisor, offered praise as part of the nomination application.

“From the first day of work, Zoe has gone above and beyond, exceeding expectations. She has been instrumental in helping acclimate all of our international students during orientation. She led several orientation sessions, assisting in any small or large task asked of her, and always offered to do even more than asked.

Recently, Zoe organized with her WORLD Ambassador Team a panel on Immigration. She coordinated faculty, staff, and students from around campus to speak about their experience immigrating to the United States. Zoe was the main coordinator for the entire event and was the moderator for the panel. As a student employee, Zoe has anticipated the needs of our center, solving problems before we even ask for help. “

Zoe Weaver, a global development major, envisions her work experience at WORLD as critical to her future endeavors.

“Working at WORLD has not only connected me with students from all over the world and taught me how I can best support them, but has also introduced me to an environment in which all workers truly care about the job they do. The WORLD center and its staff have been an important part of my experience at Stetson, and although I am graduating soon, I am sure they will continue to serve the international community in ways unmatched by any other office on campus.”

Article written by Ally Topliff,’ 19 (political science) and Roxanne Lewis, international student and scholars coordinator at Stetson University

Hao Jin Named ASUN Defensive Player of the Week

Stetson University’s international students continue to prove themselves the cream of the crop.  Included among their accomplishments Stetson University senior middle blocker Hao Jin, from China, has been named the ASUN Conference Defensive Player of the Week, the league announced on Monday.

Jin and Varga 2018  Jin helped lead Stetson to a 3-0 upset win over ASUN leader Kennesaw State on Saturday, posting eight kills and six blocks while hitting .438 for the match. Her solo block in the third set broke a 23-23 tie and was followed by Julie Varga’s game-winning kill.

Hao Jin 2018 Head ShotsOverall, Jin registered 10 blocks for the week and surpassed the 200-block mark for her Stetson career. She has 90 blocks on the season, sixth-most in the ASUN, including 20 solo blocks.

Jin said “Playing volleyball at Stetson has contributed to my international learning experience in a way not many schools could. It’s a great experience since Stetson is such a diverse and inclusive school! Even on the volleyball team we have six international students and each of them affects my experience here differently. The courses at Stetson are very challenging academically. However, with the support of my teammates I manage to stay on top of everything.”

An Economics major, Jin earned her second weekly  conference honor this season. She was named ASUN Player of the Week back on Sept. 10.


Article originally published in part on Stetson Today, October 30, 2018.

 International Student Receives Global Citizenship Scholarship, Stetson Access Grant

Congratulations to Henry Semaganda, international student from Kampala, Uganda, who received one of Stetson’s prestigious Global Citizenship Scholarships. Semaganda has long demonstrated interest in Stetson University, applying twice before receiving the scholarship.

“As a recipient of the prestigious Global Citizen Full Tuition Scholarship, I have an immense opportunity to live my dream at Stetson University, Florida. A dream that has come to pass despite the fact that the competition was indeed stiff, with only one slot available for a student from sub-Saharan Africa.“

Henry Semaganda, ‘20 (biology), proudly displays his Global Citizenship Scholarship certificate of award. Semaganda is the second recipient of the Global Citizenship Scholarship, a new scholarship program at Stetson University aimed at attracting outstanding international students.

The full tuition scholarship is awarded to incoming international students with top academic potential who exhibit Stetson’s value of global citizenship. Three students are chosen annually, each from different regions of the world. The scholarship enables recipients opportunity to deepen their practice of global citizenship as Semeganda describes in his application essay.

“For a substantial part of my life, I have always held a firm belief in the promise of humanity. This belief has persisted despite the wrongs and misfortunes that have befallen our societies. I have never given up hope in believing that there is potential to do good in all of us and that deep within us lies the solution to the problems that torment the world today ranging from war, terrorism, disease among others. I believe everyone has a place on the team in this journey to make the world a better place for posterity”.

Semaganda has also received the Stetson Access Grant Scholarship (now discontinued) to cover the remaining costs of attending university. He believes that the small class sizes and student-to-teacher ratio at Stetson  will afford him the “rare opportunity of an up-close learning experience and mentorship between the professors and me…”

Today, I rejoice in an improbable success. That as a student who began his academic journey at Masajja Bridge nursery and primary school, a school that is on the verge of demolition currently, I will be obtaining my undergraduate education at Stetson University, one of the top institutions in U.S. Both my parents dropped out of school during the 1979 Iddi-Amin civil war but held a firm belief that education would be the ultimate gift they would ever give me. It is their unwavering hope that even pushed me to limits they had never envisioned.

The biology major has participated in the EducationUSA program at the U.S. Embassy in Kampala and has volunteered to work with them to spread the benefits of an American education.

I want to share in the diversity, to bask in the depth, richness and flexibility of an American education. My story is one of hard work, tenacity and unflagging faith that I can be among the best. If one wants to achieve greatness, the door to opportunity is always open. My story has just begun. I urge students from Uganda, and from around the world to never give up on their dreams because they seem too big. Let us strive to push ourselves to limits we have never imagined before.

Semaganda’s future plans include a career as a medical doctor to help improve Uganda’s health system.

“I envision that after my time at Stetson, I will be an ambassador of hope, well equipped with knowledge, exposure and skills to contribute to sensitization and improvement of basic health care in Uganda but more especially in eradicating preventable diseases like HIV/AIDS, cholera and ebola that plague millions of Africans.

”Today, as a global citizen, I long to see African societies that are not held hostage to negative traditional beliefs and senseless stereotypes. This will boost our education, health, infrastructure, relationships, politics and leadership.”

4th Annual Open House Welcomes Faculty and Staff

WORLD welcomed faculty and staff to its 4th annual Open House on October 18, 2018.

Cathy Day to Serve as Peace Core Prep Faculty Coordinator

Cathy Day will serve as Peace Corps Prep faculty coordinator for the 2018-2019 academic year. The Peace Corps Prep program at Stetson University prepares students for international development fieldwork and potential Peace Corps service.

As coordinator, Dr. Day will work with Stetson’s Peace Corps Prep Leadership Team to facilitate academic engagements that include faculty course-approvers and academic administration.

Dr. Cathy Day is a visiting assistant professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson University. She earned a Ph.D. in geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During her doctoral studies, she served as adjunct lecturer at both UW-Madison and New Mexico State University, where she taught a course on the geography of sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Day has conducted fieldwork in New Mexico as well as Niger, West Africa. Her research examines the relationships between climate change and rural livelihoods.

Dr. Day has  experience as a certified middle and high school science teacher as well as service as a Peace Corps Volunteer. She was an agricultural volunteer in Niger for three and a half years (2004-2007) and lived in the same village where she subsequently conducted research for her second master’s degree in geography. In rural Niger, she helped villagers organize to build agricultural wells, initiate dry season gardening projects, create a grain bank, establish a school for the village, and carry out a variety of literacy and health education activities. For village projects, Day raised funds through Peace Corps Partnership to further extend the quality and quantity of projects that villagers could create on their own.

In a later role as regional leader, she collaborated with a local staff person on establishing new Peace Corps posts. That role also included the management of a regional budget, administration of local staff, outreach and cooperation with local and regional government agents, support of volunteers in their village work, and the funding and organization of regional training projects in the region’s central Peace Corps post. Day also organized the establishment of the first-ever, nation-wide volunteer advisory council to assist in better communication between volunteers and the country-level Peace Corps staff who were based in Niamey, the capital.

With experiences living abroad in France, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Niger, Cathy speaks French, Spanish, Hausa, and a smattering of Arabic. Dr. Day is excited about her contributions to managing a program that trains potential future Peace Corps Volunteers.

To learn more about Peace Corps Prep, visit stetson.edu/other/peace-corps-prep.

2018 WORLD Open House

The staff at WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning cordially invites you to its annual Open House.

October 18, 2018
4:00-5:30 pm
WORLD: Rinker Center for International Learning
635 N. Bert Fish Rd, Deland, FL 32723

Add to Calendar
10/18/2018 04:00 PM
10/18/2018 06:00 PM
Summary of the event
WORLD Open House
WORLD – 635 Bert Fish Road


  • Grab a glass of wine and sample a few hors d’oeuvres
  • Learn how WORLD can support your interests in international learning
  • Meet faculty and staff engaged in international learning
  • Meet faculty and staff interested in learning more about your work
  • Learn about WORLD Class Lunch & Learn Series, Travel Awards, Study Abroad, and other opportunities abroad

Coming Out against Heckling and Discrimination on the Court

As a Hatter tennis player, Graham Ball sometimes stepped onto the court with added stress and anxiety.


Graham Ball, ’17 Philosophy, wrote a letter urging the NCAA to do more to protect collegiate athletes from heckling and taunting based on their perceived sexual orientation.

He worried fans or other athletes would heckle him during matches and shout out slurs based on how they perceived his sexual orientation. If they did, he would need “an incredible amount of focus” to play his best.

“I was targeted a lot and it was not routine like every match, but it was something I had to worry about,” he said recently. “It was something that was consistently in the back of my mind that caused me stress and anxiety as I was walking on the court to play matches. Okay, how are the fans going to behave? How are my opponents going to behave?”

Before graduating from Stetson University last May, the once-closeted captain of the Men’s Tennis Team decided to speak out. With encouragement from several of his professors in the Philosophy and English departments, as well as officials in Athletics and the Title IX Office, he wrote and asked the NCAA to adopt a “No Tolerance Policy” for heckling and intimidation of character.

“In my cases, I often was the target of harmful comments aimed to induce fear or diminish character based on perceived sexual orientation,” Ball wrote to the NCAA’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion last May. “As a closeted gay student-athlete, these comments bear tremendous weight on my personal life, and I do not believe that they should have a place in any sport etiquette.”

Ball is taking off a gap year at home in Montreal, Quebec, before starting law school. But he has not given up his efforts to create a safer space for athletes. Last month, he wrote an article for Outsports.com about his experiences and outlined his recommendations to the governing body for collegiate sports.

Graham Ball said he has received an outpouring of support from current and former collegiate athletes across America and Canada.

“I do think that the sports world is relatively behind society in terms of speaking out against things like discrimination and slurs. I think my experiences in college, studying philosophy helped me largely to see that,” he said by phone from Canada. “I was exposed to issues of gender, race, sexual orientation, ethics, social justice and I was able to connect that to my life as an athlete. Growing up in tennis, I never really noticed these problems up until college.”

The NCAA opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as race, ability, national origin and religious belief, according to its website.

In a Statement of Affirmation by the NCAA LGBTQ Subcommittee, the association acknowledged that LGBTQ student-athletes, coaches and administrators “too often endure social stigma and emotional trauma on the court, in the classroom, and in the workplace.” But the association said it celebrates their “courage and fortitude” and encourages everyone to speak out against all forms of prejudice.

Ball, in his letter to the NCAA, said the environment at many tennis matches did not reflect the association’s stance against discrimination. “In my view, much more should be done to amend this problem,” he wrote to the NCAA.

Ball recommended the NCAA take a firmer stand against heckling, such as requiring more oversight of the crowd and athletes to prevent taunting based on sexual orientation or gender expression. Ball said more oversight is needed because he sometimes complained about heckling at tennis matches, but the “officials brushed off my concern.”

“I think Graham is a man of character,” said Cathy Downes, Stetson’s executive director and Title IX coordinator. “I applaud his willingness to confront gender and sexual orientation discrimination in a sport he loves, especially understanding the personal risk associated with speaking up. Personal integrity is what allows his voice to resonate through the NCAA.”

Added Stetson Athletics Director Jeff Altier, “In my eyes this is leadership and I am proud that a Stetson education and leadership training from the athletic department, coaches and staff has provided Graham with a foundation that allows him to move his advocacy forward. I applaud Graham for taking a position and for sharing his experience.”

Ball said the letter to the NCAA was “a group effort” at Stetson. He met first with Assistant Professor Melinda Hall and Associate Professor Susan Peppers-Bates in the Philosophy Department, and Visiting Assistant Professor Michele Randall in the English Department. “That’s something I’m incredibly appreciative of because if I hadn’t been supported by the professors I don’t think that I would have had the strength to continue,” Ball added.

He also met with Jeff Altier and PJ Moses, associate athletics director for Student Services, and both were equally as supportive. They helped him craft the letter to the NCAA, along with Downes in Stetson’s Title IX Office.

Graham Ball is swinging his tennis racket as the ball approaches him on the court.

Graham Ball currently is taking a gap year and plans to enroll in law school this fall. He has been volunteering regularly for the West Island LGBTQ2+ Youth Centers in Montreal, teaching adaptive tennis for ProSet Autism, and has spent time working for the Instagram account: @lgbt_history.

“The reason I decided to speak up about this issue in my senior year was following the presidential election, the person who got into office, the climate that was exposed following the election made me realize that I want to contribute as much as possible to give him a counter to what the current norms are,” Ball explained. “I felt that coming out was incredibly important for sharing my story and having my voice heard in a meaningful way.”

Since then, he has been surprised by the outpouring of support from former collegiate athletes and current athletes across the United States and Canada, and as far away as Spain.

Although the NCAA has yet to adopt his recommendations, Ball said he plans to continue his advocacy. He is still deciding on which law school to attend this fall, including possibly Stetson College of Law in Gulfport.

“I will tell you that I have received attention from two tennis companies who are wanting to feature me, too, and want to partner with me on this issue so that’s very promising and we’re going to pursue this to the full extent that we can,” he said.

What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal law that protects people from gender-based or sex-based harassment, discrimination and violence in an educational institution. Stetson University strives to be a safe place, free from harassment and discrimination of any kind, said Cathy Downes, executive director and Title IX coordinator at Stetson.

The university has people and resources in place to resolve concerns that are reported to the university, and Downes said she wants to assure the Stetson Community that these reports are responded to in a respectful, empathic and effective way.

For more information about Title IX policies, procedures and resources, go to https://www.stetson.edu/other/title-ix/. To report an incident, contact Cathy Downes at 386-822-7960, email titleix@stetson.edu or go to https://www.stetson.edu/other/title-ix/reporting-options.php.

Students interested in this work can help the Peer Advisory Council for Title IX (PACT) by contacting Downes at cdownes@stetson.edu. Stetson employees can participate in workshops and training like “Safe Zone” training through the Office of Diversity & Inclusion, or “I’m Not Trained for This!” workshops through the Title IX Office.

First reported on March 9, 2018 at Stetson Today by Cory Lancaster