COLA Connections Newsletter: Spring 2016

COLA Student Wins $10,000 Global Scholarship

The Council on International Educational Exchange, or CIEE, is a nonprofit organization that works with universities like RIT to send aspiring students to study abroad. They award a handful of students nationwide $10,000 each year to study in several of countries of their choosing. This year, Communication major Bernard Rodgers received one of these coveted scholarships thanks to hard work, perseverance and a little help from his mentor.

What was the process like to apply for the scholarship? How did you feel when you realized you'd received it?

In order to receive this award, I had to first apply to the CIEE Global Scholars Program. I found out about this opportunity through one of my mentors, Dr. Baldwin, who nominated me and another student for the program.

How I found out I received the scholarship is a funny story. I was sitting in class on a Monday afternoon and was taking notes on my laptop. I noticed that I had an email from my academic advisor, Sheila Oakden, with an official letter congratulating me on being selected to receive this scholarship. I couldn't believe it! I had this burst of excitement and wanted to jump up and down, but my class was super quiet and focused. All I could do is try my hardest to contain my joy. I know that my professor was probably looking at me like, "What is wrong with this kid?" I was just so excited.

Have you decided where you'll be studying on your trip? What made you choose those places?

CIEE's Global Scholars program offers four potential study abroad locations to choose from: London, Berlin, Rome and Paris. We could pick three of them, so I personally chose to go to Rome, Berlin and London; in that order.

I chose Rome because of the romanticized culture that creatively converges with old architecture. I thought that Berlin would be a nice location to travel to since I have heard great things about it. I definitely want to visit the location of the former Berlin Wall. Lastly, I choose London because I’ve always wanted to go to England!

What are you most looking forward to regarding your CIEE scholarship?

There are so many things! First, I am simply eager to take courses in three different countries. It'll be fun to compare and contrast them with one another and with how courses are in the United States. Secondly, I am eager to network. I love meeting new people from different cultures. It helps me develop as a global citizen and allows me to do something I deeply care about, which is sharing the human experience. Third, I am looking forward to spending my 22nd birthday in London. I can't wait to be around all of the traditional things you think of when you think of London: cobblestone walkways, double decker busses and red telephone booths. But, I am also eager to step off the beaten path and explore the parts of Europe that most people never get to see.

How do you hope to take the skills you've learned through your studies into the workplace?

One of my goals is to have a career in a record label's A&R department, helping to develop and manage artists through successful careers. Many of the courses that I’ll take abroad will be business-based and will assist me on the management side of things. I'll also be taking two communication courses as well that will focus on understanding the music/entertainment spheres around the world and learning more about perception. All of the skills I currently have revolve around social media, strategic communication/networking and critical/creative thinking. I hope that those skills, along with everything that I will learn during my travels, will put me in a great position to successfully move into this industry.