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PCC Scholars of Global Distinction Students Discuss Opportunity to Learn through Travel

Students Mariela Ychante, Justice Payton, Hannah Tomlinson (left to right) and Rashedah Abrams (not pictured) delivered Capstone Presentations this month as part of their requirements to become PCC Scholars of Global Distinction.


WINTERVILLE—The first students to participate in Pitt Community College’s Scholars of Global Distinction (SGD) program took the stage April 11 to discuss their opportunities to learn through overseas travel and stress the importance of global learning.

Started in the fall, Scholars of Global Distinction encourages PCC students to incorporate global education into their respective programs of study. The initiative is the result of a partnership between North Carolina community colleges and UNC-Chapel Hill’s North Carolina Global Distinction Initiative with World View.

“Part of PCC’s mission is to educate and empower people for success in a global economy,” said PCC Instructor Anthony Holsten, who is serving as SGD coordinator. “The PCC Scholars of Global Distinction program is designed to help students become global citizens who are prepared for academic and professional endeavors in the interconnected and interdependent world of the 21st Century.”

On Monday, students Mariela Ychante, Justice Payton, Hannah Tomlinson and Rashedah Abrams delivered capstone presentations on their travels as part of their SGD requirements.

Abrams, who spoke by video, said visiting Europe was a blessing and something she had never been able to do prior to enrolling at PCC. She said she enjoyed having the opportunity to see in person the countries, cultures and landmarks—including the Eiffel Tower, Roman aqueducts and Venus de Milo—that she had read about in history books.

“It’s an experience that will stay with me forever,” Abrams said, adding that the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower was “absolutely beautiful.”

Tomlinson, who was born in North Carolina but raised in New Zealand before returning to America in 2014, was equally amazed by her trip to Belize. Through her travels, she said she has learned that “home” isn’t necessarily a place as much as it is a feeling of being loved and cared for by others. She said culture and identity are things to be treasured, embraced and thoroughly explored.

Payton and Ychante said they were ready to explore Paris this summer.

Ychante, a native of Mexico, has already traveled to numerous locations and originally came to PCC through the Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant program in 2014. She said a trip to Scotland was her first venture outside of Mexico and that it opened her eyes to a big world.

Traveling to Paris, Ychante says, will be another opportunity for her to share her country’s culture with others in a different land and to gain new perspectives and learning experiences from those she meets along the way.

Payton says she is looking forward to living with a host family in Paris for two weeks and attending school at Alliance Française. She said she had already contacted the family she will be staying with by e-mail.

To prepare for her trip, Payton, who was already taking French classes at Pitt, receives tutoring in the language twice a week. She said she had watched several French movies on Netflix (with English subtitles) and attended the French Film Festival in Richmond, Va., where she watched French films and was on hand for a question-and-answer session with French directors and actors.

“It was a pleasure to see these four students present,” Holsten said. “They are excellent examples of what global scholars are: learners who are willing to see, explore and become part of our global world.”

Students who complete requirements for the SGD program receive a special designation on their transcripts and wear specialized regalia at graduation. In addition to the capstone presentation, requirements for earning SGD honors are:

Along with Holsten, Dr. Tabitha Miller, PCC Director of Teaching and Learning, and PCC Business Division Dean Katherine Clyde are serving as Global Scholars advisors who assist students in planning and documenting completion of SGD requirements.