by Gabby Cassidy
Over Spring Break 2019, WORLD ambassadors Zoe Weaver and Caylyn Gunby attended the Global Student Leadership Summit in Boston, MA.
This conference, for students who had participated in study abroad and other international programs, had a goal to help them develop skills as successful global leaders. It also focused on students from diverse and underrepresented populations, such as first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, students with disabilities, high financial need, LGBTQ+, etc. Many face obstacles acquiring educational and leadership opportunities.
Throughout the conference, Weaver found herself learning more than she expected from the sessions. She was pushed to see the bigger picture of education abroad.
“I was pushed to see my study abroad as a time that I developed personally and was finally able to articulate the challenges of my trip to those who would understand. Then, after listening to others tell their own stories, I realized that we each had a unique experience that created the larger picture of diversity abroad.”
The connections she made with other students helped her to understand her own experiences and the education she received while studying in South Korea and Taiwan. Weaver also learned about the importance of diversity in study abroad and was inspired to do more here at Stetson. She expressed her desire to connect with the Black Student Association, the Asia Pacific American Coalition, the Caribbean Student Association, and other multicultural organizations to develop more initiatives to get their members involved in study abroad programs.
“Although being a woman brings its own challenges to international travel, I further developed an understanding of my privilege during this conference as an able-bodied, white, American student. Through this understanding, I began to build a standard for myself when it comes to becoming an ally both abroad and domestically to students who lack the opportunity to do the same as I.”
Gunby felt that the conference was a great professional opportunity for her. The panels and speakers had a profound impact and helped her feel confident in her plans post-graduation. The chance to connect with graduate schools and professionals, as well as other students in her same positions, helped her to reflect on her identity and improve her confidence in speaking about her experiences.
“Being able to speak with professionals who are now in International Education, who taught English abroad through JET, Fulbright, and TAPIF made me feel like I was taking the right steps towards a career in International Education or International Affairs.”
Gunby would like to bring more networking opportunities to Stetson’s campus for international careers. Events such as the Global Citizenship Fair and Acerima could benefit from having a keynote speaker or speakers from minority groups.
“The keynote speakers at the conference were inspiring and helped all of the students get involved and excited about the activities.”
Overall, her experiences at the Global Leadership Summit helped her to grow professionally as well as to have more confidence in her abilities and plans for the future.
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
Stetson University has collaborated again with the ALLEX Foundation to secure Asian language instructors and offer Mandarin Chinese courses.
ALLEX Fellow Renjing Lin joins Stetson University from Macau, China to offer Mandarin Chinese during the current academic year and through 2018-2019. His fellowship boosts Stetson’s ability to offer Mandarin to students consistently. Lin spent time teaching in Macau and Taiwan. His diverse experiences prepare him to bring multiple perspectives to the classroom.
“I really enjoy teaching here and a handful of students told me that they are also enjoying my class too”, said Lin. “I really like them and I am very happy that they are making progress day by day.”
Lin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance with specialization in financial engineering from the Unividade De Macua. Meizhou, his hometown, is in coastal Guangdong Province of southeast China that borders Hong Kong and Macau.
The ALLEX Foundation enables universities to initiate or maintain high quality Chinese or Japanese language programs by providing professional trained, native Chinese or Japanese instructors. Lin is Stetson’s second ALLEX Fellow.
For a number of years, Stetson has collaborated with the Fulbright Program to attract Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs).
As FLTA at Stetson, Eman Elsayed Eltaher Mahmoud Abdelhalim of Alexandria, Egypt, joins the community to teach Arabic during the 2017-2018 academic year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) from Notting Hill College in Alexandria, Egypt. She also holds a certificate in negotiation and mediation from the Susan Marbarak Women’s International Peace Movement Institute for Peace Studies and the U.N. affiliated University for Peace.
Abdelhalim is already making an impact on campus. She recently served as a panelist at the Call for Action: Waging Peace discussion during Stetson’s celebration of U.N. International Day of Peace. She has a clear goal in mind as she continues to develop as a teacher.
“I want to make a significant change in the Egyptian education system to implement the modern and innovative techniques, especially for young learners”, she said.
Greici Buzzi joins Stetson from Brazil to teach Portuguese. Buzzi earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Portuguese. She currently works with Pamela Cappas-Toro, Ph.D., assistant professor of World Languages and Cultures (Spanish), to offer Portuguese 101 and Portuguese 102 courses which are open to all students.
Hailing from Rodeio, Brazil, a Santa Catarina municipality in the south region of Brazil, Buzzi applied to the FLTA program to achieve two goals.
“This opportunity puts together the two things I pursue the most at this moment: (a) learning more about the American culture and about the English Language itself; and (b) teaching Portuguese”, said Buzzi.
An avid music fan, she has played guitar and piano since she was six years old from which she has learned discipline, determination and patience.
Welcome to HatterNation!
Stetson’s language instructors are housed in the Department of WORLD Languages and Cultures. ALLEX fellows are in residence for two academic years and Fulbright scholars serve one year. Language instructors are required to engage in professional development by taking courses at Stetson. Fellows also participate in New Faculty Orientation and other new faculty onboarding activities. The language instructor residency program is coordinated by WORLD: The David and Leighan Rinker Center for International Learning.