Jul. 3, 2014
Six students who were selected for Buena Vista University’s (BVU) first Global Fellows Program as freshmen in 2011 earned their degrees during commencement ceremonies on May 24 and are the first class to complete the four-year, interdisciplinary academic and travel program.
The Global Fellows Program is an academic award, and freshmen applicants complete a globalization-themed essay and submit two faculty letters of recommendation for consideration. The six recipients of the fellowship are announced at BVU’s Student Recognition Dinner held each spring. Those who are selected participate in classwork specific to the program, including for-credit classes that complement their fully-funded international travel experience.
Makensie Brown, a Spanish and graphic design major from Huxley, accepted a position as profiles manager for Habitat for Humanity in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. She credits the Global Fellows Program for sparking her interest in other cultures and taught her the importance of being a global citizen.
“BVU’s Global Fellows Program gave me an opportunity to open my mind to new cultures and realize how big of a world we live in,” said Brown. “Not only did we have experiences from a variety of disciplines, research opportunities and the chance to explore the Omora Park in Chile, but the cultural interactions were priceless and gave me the experience and courage to work for a non-profit in Guatemala.”
Academically-focused travel experiences can play a critical role in a student’s post-graduation plans. Kayla Hartmann, an environmental science major from Albert Lea, Minnesota, who is relocating to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and pursuing a career in the environmental field, believes being a Global Fellow helps her stand out.
“The field research really showed me that this was the career for me,” said Hartmann. “I’m confident and have great talking points during interviews because of the amazing skills I learned as a Global Fellow.”
In January 2012, this first group of Global Fellows traveled to Cape Horn, Chile, where they studied the delicate balance that exists among the environment, animals and humans, and how these interdisciplinary relationships affect a biologically protected area.
Stephanie Anders, a secondary education, history and psychology major from Odebolt, plans to work as a teacher and believes her experience allowed for a better understanding of the intricate relationship between biology, ecology and culture.
“Being a Global Fellow made me aware of the impact we have on the environment,” said Anders. “It provided me with a new perspective for looking at sustainability, and it opened my eyes to how unrelated areas of study, like biology and psychology, can be used to solve big problems.”
The Global Fellows Program focuses on critical topics related to globalism and gives participants the opportunity to further their thinking on global citizenship. They also share their experiences with BVU students through a Scholars Day presentation and by serving as mentors to other students.
“I am extremely pleased to see our first class of Global Fellows earn their degrees,” said Dr. David Evans, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “They have been model campus citizens who have taken seriously the program’s charge to share their experiences and insights with the University community, and I know the experience was a foundation for many of the very interesting and powerful things they have done since.”
Other graduates who were part of the first Global Fellows Program graduating class include: Jennifer Welch, a biochemistry and chemistry major from Afton, who is pursuing a biosciences doctorate at the University of Iowa; Tesia Posekany, a biology major from Woodburn, who is attending Iowa State University’s genetics doctoral program in the fall; and Laura Page, a biology and Spanish major from Hutchinson, Kansas, who in addition to being a Global Fellow, returned to the Omora Park in Southern Chile to continue her research as the recipient of the J. Leslie Rollins Fellowship in 2012.