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TCNJ students head to universities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America backed by foreign study awards

EWING, NJ … Backed by generous scholarships, internationally minded students from The College of New Jersey will travel to far-flung corners of the globe next semester to pursue academic programs at foreign universities, to improve their fluency in an array of languages, and to work on individualized research projects.

Five students secured funding this semester toward their studies this coming spring in Africa, Asia, Europe and Central America.

Wiktoria Leja, a junior international studies major, received three scholarships to support her study in Dakar, Senegal through the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a non-profit organization that supports international education here and abroad. Her funding includes $5,000 from the federal Gilman Scholarship Program, a $2,000 grant from CIEE, and a grant from TCNJ’s newly established Laurenti Scholarship, created to honor alumni Doris and Mario Laurenti. Leja is currently studying Wolof, Senegal’s most widely spoken language, with Moussa Sow, a professor of French who has written widely about the African diaspora.

Jake Ehrlich, a junior communication studies major and an executive member of the College Union Board, also won a $2,000 award from CIEE. He will be studying in Tokyo next semester.

Three students received funding from TCNJ’s Mary Roebling International Travel Award, a scholarship program established by alumna Gale Wayman ’70, to honor Mary Roebling, a Trenton philanthropist. The fund supports international travel for research, scholarship, creative work, service, or internship within or related to the student’s academic program.

Peter Coats, a senior international studies major, will improve his fluency in Arabic in classes at the University of Jordan in Amman, Jordan, and through an internship.

Brianna Gunter, a junior journalism and professional writing major who writes and edits for The Signal, the campus newspaper, will study at the Universidad Latina in Heredia, Costa Rica.

Mark Kaplan, a junior sociology major, will spend a semester at the University of Oxford in the U.K., where he will study public health with a focus on epidemiology.

According to Jon Stauff, director of the College’s Center for Global Engagement, the TCNJ students’ success in securing competitive grants to study abroad reflects “the aspirations of our students to study ‘off the beaten path’ in such countries as Tajikistan and Senegal, external recognition of the high caliber of TCNJ’s academics on campus, and the ability of students to take lessons learned at TCNJ, apply them to challenging intellectual agendas abroad, and integrate these international experiences into their career path.”

The students who received funding for their foreign study represent a fraction of the more than 90 TCNJ students who will be studying abroad next semester. In addition to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Western Europe, TCNJ students will pursue academic programs, research projects and internships in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Australia and New Zealand.