“Going to the motherland!” said Jaren Carter’s Facebook status update. UTC students Carter, sophomore criminal justice major, and Saasha Jones, junior business marketing major, were recently selected to participate in the Accra, Ghana, Study Abroad program. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all UT and additional universities and colleges. The students are also Student Support Services (SSS) participants at UTC.
Since 2005, Dr. Amadou Sall, UT lecturer in Africana Studies, has taken students to Ghana in West Africa where they participate in a “mini-term” study abroad program and survey Ghanaian history, economics, politics, society, and cultures. “Jaren and Saasha are the first UTC students to participate in my program,” Sall said.
The mission of SSS assures that the least advantaged segments of students have a realistic chance to graduate.
“The lack of SSS students participating in study abroad education has been a long talked about and lamented problem at the national and campus level,” says Shirl S. Gholston, director of SSS.
The prospect of studying abroad can be particularly daunting to underrepresented students, particularly African Americans. Therefore, an initiative was implemented with the goal of supporting and enlightening prospective study abroad African American SSS students.
Sall was invited to UTC to conduct an informational session for SSS students. Students listened as he discussed the Ghana Study Abroad program, but as soon as the cost was mentioned, all of the students immediately dismissed the possibility. To make study abroad affordable for these students, funds were solicited from campus and external sources, namely UTC’s Office of Equity and Diversity, regional TRIO scholarships, and the campus SSS project.
“Study abroad programs provide experiential learning opportunities. The Office of Equity and Diversity is therefore honored to support such programs as they are holistically related to the University’s educational mission,” said Dr. Bryan Samuels, director of Equity and Diversity.
Upon returning from Ghana, Carter and Jones will share their experiences and co-present a workshop on “Promoting Study Abroad Education for TRIO Students” with the SSS Director at the TRIO annual Southern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) conference in Atlanta, Georgia. They will also help recruit more African American SSS study abroad participants by serving as SSS Study Abroad Peer Mentors.
For more information about SSS, please visit http://www.utc.edu/Administration/StudentSupportServices/ and for more information about Study Abroad programs, visit http://www.utc.edu/Academic/NationalStudentExchange/