New journeys for first World Scholars
Photos by Nikki Laws June 19, 2019
Global graduates reflect on four-year program and look ahead
Thirty students turned the tassel on their graduation caps on June 1 and became the first graduates of the University of Delaware World Scholars Program, a distinctive four-year global experience.
The Class of 2019 earned degrees in 23 majors, pursued more than 20 minors and studied on 6 continents. Equally important, the students left the University with a new understanding of the world — and themselves.
“We’re the trailblazers of this program,” said Aubrey Inkster. “Fifty years from now, when the World Scholars Program is who knows how big, we’ll be able to say that we were members of the first class. That’s going to be really cool.”
Starting their journey
An old saying is that all roads lead to Rome, but for these students, the Eternal City is where their journey began. The inaugural cohort of World Scholars spent the first semester of their first year abroad at partner institution John Cabot University. Since then, UD has added additional first-year sites in Greece, New Zealand and Spain.
Some World Scholars vividly remember their leap of faith into the program. “I never expected to attend the University of Delaware, but when I got that letter in the mail, I knew I had to become a UD World Scholar,” said Vincent Curatolo, who graduated with a degree in international business studies. “I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to go to a country that I’d always dreamed of and to study abroad not just once, but twice.”
For Kat Love, the decision took a little more convincing.
“The first thing I thought was that there was just no way my parents would ever let me do this,” Love said. “I applied anyway, because that was just the type of kid I was back then. I got accepted and ultimately my parents were very supportive.” Love, who also majored in international business studies and operations management, will begin her career later this month as an international regulatory specialist with ASTM International. ASTM is a not-for-profit organization that provides a forum for the development and publication of international voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems and services.
Upon arrival abroad, students navigated a new culture, an unknown city and a full academic course load. “Our first semester gave me the skills to think quickly and on my feet in a university setting,” said Amanda MacIntyre, a hotel, restaurant and institutional management major.
They also gained a diverse, but close-knit group of friends. “It’s nice having that niche you belong to,” said Inkster, who graduated with a degree in plant and soil science and anthropology. “Even within the group, there is a spectrum of people. It’s beautiful seeing how everyone fits.”
Continuing the global experience
After returning to Delaware, the group put down roots and explored new directions. As a part of the program, they declared globally-focused minors, met new international (and U.S.) friends and called the International House Living-Learning Community home.
For Curatolo, global engagement on campus wasn’t something he initially considered. “Once I
heard about all of the opportunities available, it became really appealing to me,” he said. “I realized that this was how I should spend my college career, learning about my peers from around the world.”
Curatolo became a Delaware Diplomat, joined the American Host Partner Program and regularly attended International Coffee Hour. “These programs really helped me establish myself in the international community and made me feel a part of it,” he said. “There are many facets and it’s nice to have friends from all over the world.”
The group set off again during their junior year to complete a required second study abroad experience. MacIntyre chose a UD semester in London.
“Being abroad again helped me solidify the things I began to learn and develop in Rome — the independence, critical thinking and drive to engage,” she said. “I came back and was more excited than I’d ever been to be involved in the World Scholars community.”
After participating in the first World Scholars Symposium this spring, the first UD World Scholars are venturing on to new beginnings.
Curatolo will begin a position in project management with the Bank of Tokyo. Others will join him in business positions, working at boutique investment, marketing and mortgage firms, among others.
MacIntyre will enroll in an Erasmus+ Master’s Program in Tourism Management, in which she will study at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, the University of Malta and the University of Lisbon in Portugal.
Some will teach English as a second language in Korea, France and other countries. Megan Pacitti, with degrees in linguistics and Spanish studies, will pursue a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in Brazil.
Dan Taylor, an international business studies graduate, now lives and works at the Denver Radha Krishna Temple. “I plan to spend some time in the monastery, studying, cultivating a deeper spiritual connection and developing my personal character, becoming more humble, tolerant and passionate,” he said.
Casey Kennedy Moore will leverage her background in public policy and international relations to jumpstart a media campaign in Texas focused on political polarization. “We’ll conduct focus groups and interviews to see where common ground can be found,” she said. “Even though the media portrays these very partisan views, we think that most people will land somewhere in the middle, and that’s what we want to show.”
Inkster will continue his National Science Foundation-funded research in urban ecology with the University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.
No matter their destination, World Scholars had advice for their younger peers:
“It’s important to embrace healthy fear,” Love said. “Yes, it can be scary because you’ve never done it before, but if you don’t ever do anything new, you won’t grow.”
Curatolo said, “Being ready for change is good, and that is one of the biggest takeaways I’ve gained from the UD World Scholars Program. Change and uncertainty are what makes life enjoyable.”
Find your niche, others advised.
“Pick one or two things that you really care about,” Kennedy Moore said. “Go at those things 100 percent.”
About the Institute for Global Studies
The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.
Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for several global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program.
IGS sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and the Fulbright Lecture Series each spring.
IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.