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Global Student Leadership Summit Alumni Profile: Carmeisha Huckleby

Posted By Administration, Friday, August 19, 2016

GSLS Alumni Profile: Carmeisha Huckleby

Where do you call home?

Detroit, MI

Where are you currently living?

Albany, NY

Where did you go to school for undergraduate/graduate studies?  

Michigan State University 

Please describe your current career/educational endeavors. Where are you currently employed/studying? What are your future plans?

I'm currently a study abroad program coordinator at the University at Albany SUNY 

Please describe your past international experiences. How have these experiences impacted your current career/personal goals?

I've studied abroad in Japan, but have also visited Dubai, Egypt, Ghana, Abu Dhabi, China, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Taiwan, and Canada. These experiences prepared me for my current position by helping me gain intercultural competence, teaching me about the challenges people face while abroad, and showing me how much personal growth can happen while abroad. I am excited to be able to share these experiences with my students. 

When did you attend the GSLS?

I attended the conference in New Orleans in 2015.

Please describe how your experience at GSLS has impacted your current professional path. 

Attending the conference not only gave me the chance to meet professionals in the field and network with them, but it also provided me with the opportunity to improve my presentation skills. 

What advice would you give to college students about taking advantage of international travel?

In a globalized society, taking advantage of international travel is very important because it prepares you for diversity within the workforce, helps you gain cultural understanding and patience, and is a great opportunity for personal growth. 

Tags:  education abroad  global education  Global Student Leadership Summit  professional skills 

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Diversity Network Member Highlight: University of Minnesota

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Institution name

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 


Minneapolis, MN 


Institutional Profile

Large (over 15,000) Asian-serving Institution  

Why did your institution join the Diversity Abroad Network?

Before Diversity Abroad existed, there was not a space to have discussions solely focused on diverse student identities. It was something that wasn't really discussed in the field. We found that Diversity Abroad aided us in enhancing what we were doing in regards to inclusiveness and engaging under representation which has been a part of our Curriculum and Career Integration work. Lastly, we at the Learning Abroad Center believe in this work and want to be at the forefront of these discussions. 

How long has your organization/institution been a member? 

Since Diversity Abroad's inception 


What Diversity Network resource has been most useful for you and your colleagues in advancing diversity & inclusive excellence in global education? 

The resource that we have most taken advantage of would be the webinars presented by the Diversity Network. After watching/listening to the webinars, we have had many discussions post webinars that have helped drive future diversity initiatives at the University of Minnesota.  


How has membership with the Diversity Network helped your institution make global education more accessible to students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds? 

Membership to the Diversity Network has given us better insight and understanding of the various identities of the students we are trying to support. 

Please describe any innovative initiatives related to diversity and inclusion in global education that your institution is currently undertaking. 

One of the initiatives that we are proud of is our Dialogues on Diversity series. In these Dialogues, we invite a cultural informant from one of the countries/cultures come into the office to speak on what makes up diversity in their country and address the complexities that students may face in that location.


Tags:  education abroad  members 

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3 Ways to Include Students in Your Strategic Diversity Planning

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Many study abroad offices and organizations have recognized the value of having the diverse student voice represented when trying to connect with diverse students across campus. But aside from using students to speak on study abroad panels, how can we as a field, work with students more intentionally to help us reach the goal of diversifying study abroad? Here are 3 ways you may be able to use students in your office.

Hire diverse student workers as part of your staff (and that includes attendance at staff meetings!)

If your office already has a peer advisor or ambassador program, it is important to make sure that the diversity of those students represent the diversity of the campus. Many times, we require peer advisors to have previous study abroad experience, which is not a very diverse pool to begin with. However, some of the work that student workers do, does not require previous study abroad experience. Additionally, student workers should also be included in your staff meetings as they are part of your office. When deciding what types of activities to do and how to reach the most students, the student perspective can save your office time, energy, and money by letting you know if the proposed idea is something that resonates with students. Students can also tell you what else is happening on campus that your event would have to compete with or what days and times would work better. If you don’t have the budget for a peer advisor program, you can also use federal work study funds to hire student workers into your office.

Invite students to your diversity planning meetings.

When making decisions about how to reach diverse students, it’s critical to have the diverse student voice present. If there is not a diverse student that works on your staff, this is an opportunity to connect with a diverse student who may work in a partner office such as Student Life or the Multicultural Office - offices that have experience working with diverse student groups. Many times study abroad offices want the diverse study abroad alumni to provide feedback in these settings, but there is also value in having a student who has not studied abroad present at these meetings. The student who has not studied abroad can provide more insight about what barriers still remain while the student who studied abroad has likely already overcome their barriers. You may need more than one student present to reflect the various identities you are trying to reach. The students can provide much more insight into why current efforts are not effective and how study abroad offices can reach their particular groups. Focus groups are another way to get this insight if students are not available during the time of the meeting. In order to show that you value the student voice, it may be more beneficial to plan the meeting around the students’ class times.

Allow students to plan and host study abroad events.

Creating a committee of students to plan and host study abroad events is one of the best ways to have effective events. Many study abroad offices have gone to great lengths planning information sessions to only have a handful of students attend; while the student-run event across the hall is standing room only. When students are responsible for planning events, they are able to capitalize on their existing networks and communities to ensure the success of the event. Moreover, the students know what type of event they would want to attend - and that’s the type of event that they will plan. The students know the ins and outs of campus activities so they know when not to schedule an event and they also know what type of information will draw their peers out. Allow students to be creative (within time, purpose, and budget constraints) and you may recognize a different outcome when an event for students is run by students.

Providing students with the opportunity to have a valuable impact on study abroad not only benefits the study abroad office, but it also provides skills to the students and could potentially show them the possibility of study abroad as a career option. We are all working for students, so let’s include them in the process!

Tags:  strategic planning  Underrepresented Students 

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Getting the Word Out: Is it Enough?

Posted By Erica Ledesma, Monday, July 13, 2015
Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2016

Through participation in the Global Access Pipeline (GAP) and other venues, many organizations are committed to connecting students from diverse backgrounds to the prospect of international experiences as they move along the “pipeline” from K-12 through college. This “pipeline” provides innumerable opportunities to convey the message that international experiences are valuable and attainable for all students, especially for those from traditionally underrepresented communities. As professionals seeking to advance diversity and inclusive excellence within international education, awareness of how students move through this so-called “pipeline” from K-12 through college is imperative. International Educators at the higher education level often wonder if students are exposed to information about education abroad throughout their educational careers, at different stages along the pipeline. But is it enough to expose students from diverse backgrounds to these messages during their formative years? Or do we also need to consider who is delivering these messages?

A quick review of the demographic background of public school teachers and faculty members across the country indicates that students from diverse backgrounds are taught primarily by white educators. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates a mismatch in today’s classrooms. Now that “minority” students constitute the majority of public school students, the teaching force remains over 80% non-Hispanic white. Within higher education, faculty statistics are even more dismal. Not only is the faculty predominantly non-Hispanic white, Native American faculty member participation has been stagnant while faculty participation among Black males has actually been decreasing in recent years. Anecdotally, we know that students from diverse backgrounds are often drawn to study abroad when they are encouraged to do so by a faculty member, particularly when the faculty member represents the student’s background.

While research examining the academic impact (see here and here) -- often measured through test scores -- of same-race teaching instruction is inconclusive, many argue for other benefits.  

Leslie T. Fenwick, Dean of the Howard University School of Education, outlined some of the benefits to African-American and Hispanic/Latino students in schools with large percentages of same-race teachers in her recent Diverse Issues in Higher Education article entitled “Who’s Teaching Whom?”:

Tremendous benefits accrue to African- American and Hispanic/Latino students who attend schools with high concentrations of African-American or Hispanic/Latino teachers. These students are less likely to be expelled or suspended; more likely to be recommended for gifted education; less likely to be misplaced in special education; and more likely to graduate high school in four years.

Likewise, in the recent New York Times article “Where are the Teachers of Color?”, professor of education at Stanford University, Thomas S. Dee, said, “When minority students see someone at the blackboard that looks like you, it helps you reconceive what’s possible for you.”

Professor Dee’s statement is particularly relevant to our efforts to encourage students to consider international opportunities along the pipeline. For many of the traditionally underrepresented groups within international education, students are coming to college as the first in their families. This often means that they have not had role models at home who have pursued international study and other such opportunities. It is paramount, then, that the International Education community (from K-12 to higher education) prioritize hiring and retention practices to ensure that student backgrounds are proportionally represented amongst their educators. If we are taking the statistics and related implications seriously, there is no time to wait. Here are some areas for consideration:

What other resources and initiatives have been effective at your institution/organization to promote diversity and inclusion within global opportunities?

Tags:  global education  inclusion  Minority Students  Outreach  Study Abroad 

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DACA Students and Study Abroad

Posted By Trixie Cordova, Friday, June 26, 2015
Updated: Thursday, July 28, 2016

At Diversity Abroad, our mission is to increase the number of diverse and underrepresented students that are aware of and take advantage of global opportunities. Recently, I attended a NAFSA session that delved into the unique needs of undocumented college students. As one of the most underrepresented student groups, I was curious to learn more about how those of us in international education can better support these students. During this session, professionals that work closely with undocumented and/or otherwise underrepresented students (first generation, high financial need, etc.) discussed this issue at length, from the stigma students face once identified as undocumented, to their own personal challenges dealing with “imposter syndrome” in college. This session really made me reflect on what can be done to better support undocumented students -- aiding them both to succeed in college, as well as potentially study abroad.

I discovered that there is still so much to learn about what makes their experience as students so much more challenging than any other student group. As institutions await or take action based on federal and state level policies (see: DREAM Act definitions below) dictating what they can provide, educators find themselves in a unique position overall, but especially if and when those students express interest in studying abroad. So what do we know about undocumented students and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and how can we ensure that our work ultimately helps us maintain student dignity within the process?

Below are some definitions of the various ways students may choose to identify. These have been provided by the presenters of the NAFSA session, Best Practices for Working with Undocumented and ‘DACA’-mented Students:

Undocumented Student:

A foreign national residing in the U.S. without legal immigration status. It includes persons who entered the U.S. without inspection and proper permission from the U.S. government, and those who entered with a legal status that is no longer valid.

DACA-mented Student:

An immigrant youth who has obtained benefits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (work authorized and deferred action from removal) that was established by Executive Action on June 15, 2012. These benefits do NOT provide lawful status.

Federal DREAM Act:

A proposal that will lead to legal status for undocumented youth who entered the U.S. before the age of 16, have good conduct, other requirements

State DREAM Act:

Vary by state, do not give lawful status, but can allow undocumented students access to in-state tuition, financial aid, and/or other benefits

DACA and the DREAM Act are NOT the same, but one of the key benefits for ‘DACA’-mented students is the potential to travel abroad with advanced permission from the Department of Homeland Security, for employment, humanitarian and of course educational purposes -- including study abroad.

It’s important to understand the mere fact that students self-identifying as undocumented is both an incredibly courageous and frightening declaration. Meng So, the Director at UC Berkeley’s Undocumented Student’s Program (USP), spoke about how USP began in part due to one student’s experience with a UC Berkeley professor he had admired. After seeking out this professor for a potential mentorship and revealing his personal hardships to get into college, this professor not only refused to be a mentor; he also questioned how that student was even admitted in the first place.

Unlike the aforementioned UC Berkeley professor, I believe it is every educator’s responsibility to put personal politics aside and provide support to those students who are courageous enough to expose their hardships and ask for help. While some educators may not understand the stigma associated with referring to students as “illegal,” it is important to have this conversation at an office, if not at the institution-wide level. Doing so can truly transform the environment in which these students find themselves, and allow educators to become allies in a greater social justice movement.

While we await for the federal DREAM Act to further bring peace of mind to some students, it is my hope that undocumented and ‘DACA’-mented students can at least feel safe in confiding in international educators about how they identify, and that we can continue seeking opportunities to support undocumented students to succeed -- either on campus or abroad.

Tags:  advising  study abroad  Underrepresented Students 

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