Six staff members selected for study abroad

New program encourages diversity on campus

Six staff members soon will be packing their bags for Shanghai or Paris, as winners of the Global Diversity Overseas Seminar program.

This new weeklong study abroad program designed exclusively for faculty and staff is funded by the Provost’s Advisory Committee for Diversity and Inclusion. The intent of the program is to encourage a fuller appreciation of diversity on campus by introducing select faculty and staff members to dramatically different cultural contexts.

To win one of the grants, applicants had to submit a 250- to 500-word essay explaining why they would like to participate in the program. Ninety-five people applied.

“We were very gratified by the high level of interest in this program and had to make some very tough decisions,” says Priscilla Stone, PhD, assistant provost for international education and director of overseas programs in Arts & Sciences. “The grant recipients were chosen not only because of their compelling essays, but because of the ripple effects we feel their participation in this program will have in the broader WUSTL community.”

The grant winners will travel to one of two WUSTL partner locations to explore issues related to diversity:

WUSTL Shanghai Center, China
In affiliation with Fudan University

  • Robert Brown, residential college director
  • Patricia Katzfey, career development specialist, Career Center
  • Victoria Mueller, assistant director, Student Financial Services

Paris, France
Location of the Pluralism, Politics and Religion summer program

  • Tom Evola, engineering registrar
  • Julie Kennedy, senior editor, Public Affairs
  • Monica Nickolai, academic programs coordinator, Cornerstone

Recipients will meet later in January to begin discussing logistics of international travel, as well as issues of cross-cultural learning and study abroad. The actual trips will take place in early June 2012.

In Shanghai, participants will consider issues related to ethnic minorities and urban change; in Paris, the group will explore issues of religious and ethnic pluralism in France. In each location, participants will engage with ongoing WUSTL Overseas Programs faculty and students, attend lectures, guided tours and other activities related to the seminar theme.

Winner Julie Kennedy says she has “been smiling non-stop” since learning she was selected. Her office in University Marketing & Design presents the “face” of the university through publications and websites.

“What we choose to portray through photos, testimonials and text is how the world will see Washington University,” she wrote in her essay. “The themes of these study abroad programs — inclusion, diversity, pluralism — are issues we deal with everyday. If we know and experience more about the world, we can represent the university and its diversity more effectively.”