19 Apr 2024

SAU Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute Receives $35K for All-Expense Paid Trip to Colombia in May

Support continues to pour in for one of North Carolina’s historically black colleges/universities (HBCUs), allowing students to go abroad. Saint Augustine’s University’s (SAU) Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute, a unique program recently concluding its third cohort, achieved a remarkable feat—a fully sponsored trip to Colombia for select students. Despite challenges, SAU’s commitment to investing in student success and global opportunities remains uninhibited.

“We deeply value the contributions of our alumni and donors, who are instrumental in supporting our greatest asset, our students,” expressed SAU Interim President Dr. Marcus H. Burgess. “The Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute is a testament to SAU’s commitment to equipping our students with global perspectives and practical skills for the future.”

Thanks to the generous donations from esteemed alumni and sponsors totaling $35,000, students from the 2024 cohort received notification that they would realize their dream of going global. The Dr. Thelma Johnson Roundtree Educational Foundation and Durham Alumni Chapter of SAU significantly supported the students traveling to Medellin, Colombia. In addition, several pastors supported the global experiential learning excursion, such as Bishop Luther Brooks of Solid Rock Ministry International, Rev. George Green of Christian Homes Christian Church, Rev. Dr. Jeffery Robinson of Juniper Level Baptist Church, and Rev. Charles Brooks of Popular Springs Christian Church.

“At SAU, we dedicate ourselves to preparing our students for global leadership in a competitive marketplace,” affirmed Dr. Cindy Love, Associate Vice President of Professional Development & Enterprise Services. “Our partnership with industry leaders and academic experts ensures that students gain mentorship and exposure to real-world scenarios, fostering their development into versatile leaders.”

The four-session program ran monthly from January to April, featuring dedicated facilitators Dr. Judi Nazirah Rashid and Ms. La-Tasha Best-Gaddy, along with guest facilitators like Ms. Lisa Bamford, Mr. Shirreef Loza, Dr. John Galiotos, and Dr. Keith Daniel, provided students with valuable insights into economic development and entrepreneurship through virtual interactions with peers worldwide. Students engaged in a transformative educational experience during each session that empowered them with global perspectives and practical skills.

“I’m immensely proud of our students for completing this year’s cohort,” said Ms. Joyce Bannerman, Director of Testing & International Services Officer. “This trip represents an invaluable opportunity for our students to broaden their horizons, engage with diverse perspectives, and enhance their leadership skills in an international setting.”

The culminating session on April 13th showcased the students’ capstone presentations, focusing on research findings of economic growth studies in Durham. Among the accomplished individuals who received certificates are:

  • Ariana White
  • Demetris George
  • Ashley Weekes
  • Miles Beasley
  • Andrea Diaz
  • Cameron Moore
  • Joevensky Seme
  • Noah Wheeler
  • Richara Bain
  • Kevin Brewington
  • Sthephanie Sierra Medina
  • Ana Nunez
  • Kristoff Stachan
  • Naiylah Archer
  • Zakiya Freeman
  • Darryl McCaster

The program’s highlight awaits in May when students embark on an all-expenses-paid trip to Medellin, South America. This unique learning opportunity will see them participate in economic development workshops, engage with over 200 entrepreneurs, network with the University of Antioquia community, and immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture. It’s an experience that will undoubtedly shape their understanding of global leadership and entrepreneurship. In addition to the 2024 cohort receiving this unique experience, graduating seniors Ashley Weekes and Zakiya Freeman received internships in Colombia for the entire month with companies based on their majors and interests.

“It truly feels rewarding to be able to accompany other students and represent Saint Augustine’s University in Colombia as a student global leader. After so much uncertainty, I was beginning to lose hope that we would not be going any longer. Still, it truly brings joy to my heart that I and the student global leaders will have this experience,” said Ashley Weekes, a senior accounting major from Barbados who also served as the 73rd Miss SAU. “As an international graduating senior, I have been denied many opportunities within the past few months, hence receiving the opportunity to visit Colombia and intern. There is an experience that I know God needs me to experience. I truly appreciate all of the long hours put in to ensure we received funding for this trip, as without that, this would not have been possible.”

The Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute at SAU continues to defy expectations and provide enriching experiences for its students, demonstrating the institution’s resilience and dedication to fostering global leaders.

“This year’s Student Global Leader Fellowship Institute has been amazing. We’ve had an amazing group of individuals come in to teach, encourage, and uplift us to become the next generation of CEOs and entrepreneurs,” said Zakiya Freeman, a senior majoring in psychology from Atlanta, GA, who also served as SGA Vice President. “Along with the gems of knowledge instilled in me by this amazing institute, I have been blessed with the amazing opportunity to intern in Colombia for an additional two weeks. I can’t even fathom how ecstatic I am for this opportunity. I cannot only gain professional experience in a different country to build my resume, but I can represent the class of 2024 and my HBCU!”

Click here to learn more about the Student Global Leadership Fellows Institute at SAU.