Students abroad posing O-H-I-O

A new Fisher College of Business program designed to increase access to global opportunities for underrepresented students will launch with the support of the United States Department of State.

Fisher was one of 26 institutions selected to receive a 2021 IDEAS Grant from the State Department. The grant will support the creation of the Fisher DEI Global Scholars Program, a new initiative to diversify representation in global and study abroad experiences at the college.

The program, which is slated to travel to to Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in May 2022, will build on Fisher’s commitment to experiential learning by connecting students with micro-enterprises abroad to serve as hands-on consultants. The projects will bring Fisher’s economic development and entrepreneurship curriculum out of the classroom and into global communities of need.

Keira Williams
Keira Williams

“I’m excited to be putting together the first undergraduate education abroad program at Fisher that’s really focused on best serving a diverse student group,” said Keira Williams, program manager in Fisher’s Office of Global Business. “The grant funds will help us optimize the student experience by better integrating intercultural learning before, during and after the program. Furthermore, the funds also give us the opportunity to utilize graduate student mentors to enhance the wraparound support for our students.”

“Study abroad changed my life, and I’m hopeful that with the support of our program partners, it can change the lives of students who may not have felt they’d ever have this kind of opportunity."

The Fisher DEI Global Scholars Program will be led by the college’s Office of Global Business in partnership with Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach (ODISSCCO), as well as Ohio State’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Additional financial support for the program will be provided by alumnus Jesse Tyson (MBA ’76) and his wife, Cheryl.

Cynthia Turner
Cynthia Turner

“We are excited by the potential the IDEAS grant represents for our undergraduate students,” said Cynthia Turner, Fisher’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “Anyone familiar with study abroad knows there is a significant disparity in the number of underrepresented students who are able to participate in and benefit from global experiences. This program is a step forward at Fisher in closing that opportunity gap so that all of our students are able to gain the international skills, experiences and perspectives that are so critical now.”

The program will continue university-wide momentum that is expanding and enhancing global experiences for students of color.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities for our diverse students to study abroad and to gain an invaluable global perspective,” said Dr. James L. Moore III, vice provost for diversity and inclusion at Ohio State. “This partnership with Fisher adds to an array of programs we’ve built that, prior to the pandemic, have resulted in students of color representing one in three Buckeyes studying abroad. We emphasize these programs because we know these experiences change lives forever.”

Fisher was selected from among 132 applicants to create, expand and/or diversify American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals. The IDEAS (Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students) grant seeks to increase the capacity of accredited U.S. colleges and universities' study abroad programs for U.S. students. 

“The U.S. Department of State is committed to expanding study abroad opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds studying at colleges and universities across the United States,” said Heidi Manley, USA study abroad chief in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. “Americans studying abroad serve as citizen ambassadors by building relationships within their host communities, demonstrating American values and countering stereotypes. They also gain critical job skills abroad that in turn benefit their home communities. We are committed to continuing our strong support for U.S. colleges and universities as they build their study abroad capacity now, in anticipation of a strong return to U.S. student mobility in the future.”

Photo, taken prior to 2020, is courtesy of Ohio State's Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Study abroad changed my life, and I’m hopeful that with the support of our program partners, it can change the lives of students who may not have felt they’d ever have this kind of opportunity.

Keira WilliamsProgram Manager, Office of Global Business