International Education Travel Scholarship (IETS)
2013 Heiskell Award Winner: Internationalizing the Community College
Nomination submitted by: Andre B. Gregory, Coordinator of International Programs and Services
Program Overview: The International Education Travel Scholarship (IETS) provides full funding for participation in a Pitt Community College Abroad-sanctioned program and seeks to eliminate financial barriers for students and faculty recipients. The goal is to provide a study abroad experience to students who are eligible but are held back by financial constraints.
A key aspect of the program is that students become ambassadors for education abroad via two major scholarship requirements. First, students must complete a community and college sharing plan which requires students to find a creative way to share their experience with both college and community members who did not have the opportunity to travel abroad. Secondly, they are required to write a letter to the Global Education committee and college administration, detailing how their experience has affected them academically, professionally, and personally.
This innovative program has also helped to internationalize Pitt Community College’s campus by granting faculty the opportunity to travel with the help of these scholarships. Upon return, faculty members share their experiences with classes and become recruiters for future programs. The scope of the scholarship has grown from one program abroad in its first year to three programs (Belize, Costa Rica, and Switzerland/Italy/France) with two more in the proposal stage (China and Scotland).
The program’s impact and success is showcased in the words of a student scholarship recipient: "To be credited with a local education that shapes my future, I am honored. But to be honored with a global education that shaped my life, I am forever grateful."
Pamela Hilbert, Vice President of Academic Affairs, recognized the key role played by an international experience. “There is no learning activity so powerful as to interact with people of other cultures in their own environments, and when possible, however briefly, in their own languages,” said Hilbert.