Study Abroad cord ceremony highlights International Education week


In preparation for Winter Commencement, the International Education Center hosted a ceremony at which cords for international education experience were bestowed upon graduates.

As part of International Education Week, Radford University students who studied abroad received a distinctive cord to ornament their robes at RU's Dec. 13 Winter Commencement ceremonies.

Among those receiving the blue/green braided cord was Michelle Maurer, a senior biology major from Fairfax, who went to the Virgin Islands as part of a Maymester undergraduate research experience with Assistant Professor of Biology Jeremy Wojdak.

"I was always one of those who made excuses about one thing or another, like cost, but it was so worth it," said Maurer, who has applied to be part of the RARE expedition to the Amazon as a result of her first international travel and undergraduate research experiences.

"It really showed me how important research is, and I want to ask and find the answers now," said Maurer, who will don the cord along with those she has earned as a member of the RU chapter of The Wildlife Society and as a donor to the RU Annual Fund.


Assistant Director Teresa King, left, bestowed the international education cord on Jamie Kovich, right, for Kovich's experience in Malawi last summer.

Jamie Kovach, a senior education major from St. Joseph, Michigan, earned her cord after spending four weeks in Africa this summer teaching primary school in Malawi.

"The experience teaching children whose primary language was not English will help me slow down and be a better teacher in my own classroom," Kovach said. "It was such a short time, but so powerful.  It changed my outlook on the world in general."

Amanda Pendergras, a senior biology major from Smithfield, went to China as a member of the Kirk Scholars program. She said she was most proud of the fact that she was able to fulfill a lifelong dream and to do it while she was young.

"It was very meaningful and positive. I learned about myself and the differences between two distinct cultures," said Pendergras.

International Education Week featured a variety of events, such as a Peace Corps Information Session, a concert by the RU Guitar Ensemble and a Director's Screening of "The Dialogue" with producer/director Arnd Wachter.


Study Abroad Advisor Eric Viania (left) and Michelle Maurer after Maurer received her graduation cord for the upcoming winter graduation ceremonies.

Wachter's work, through Crossing Borders Films, is dedicated to enhancing conflict mediation skills and deepening intercultural understanding through films about the interactions of youth from diverse cultural and social backgrounds.

"International Education Week celebrates the benefits and value of international education for students," said IEC Assistant Director Teresa King. "Study abroad experiences prepare students for a global environment and enrich their educational experience in many important ways."

International Education Week at RU was sponsored by the IEC, Scholar Citizen Initiative, departments of Foreign Language, Chinese Club, Global Highlanders ISAC, Model UN Club and Political Society. Nationally, the week is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education.

For more information on study abroad opportunities and international education, visit the IEC website or call 831-6200.

Nov 19, 2014