Placements made possible through Freeman Foundation grant
MAY 3, 2018 BY
Seventeen University of Mississippi students will be interns in East and Southeast Asia this summer, thanks to a substantial grant from the Freeman Foundation of Stowe, Vermont.
The $100,000 program, “UM Experiential Learning in East Asia,” allows selected undergraduates to complete a summer internship of at least eight weeks in summer 2018. Each will receive $5,000 from the Freeman Foundation grant and an additional $2,500 provided by the university’s Office of Global Engagement and the students’ respective UM schools.
“The Croft Institute has been the campus leader in promoting engagement with East Asia for the last 20 years, and this generous grant by the Freeman Foundation allowed us to add another important dimension to those efforts,” said Oliver Dinius, executive director of the Croft Institute for International Studies and program administrator.
Dinius worked with Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history; Minjoo Oh, associate professor of sociology; and Blair McElroy, the university’s senior international officer, to design the application process, select award recipients and assist students as they prepare for their internships.
Grant recipients include Meredith Brown and Emma Scott, both of Oxford; Sarah Berry, Stewart Eaton, Mo Karzon and Jasmine Nguyen, all of Brandon; Lucy De la Cruz of Southaven; Tina Ng of Walls; Sydney Bush of Gulfport; Jordan Holman of Petal; Tyler Caple of Hunstville, Alabama; Sarah Liese of St. Louis; Scott Givhan of West Hollywood, California; Emily Rodriguez of Portland, Oregon; David Pfaehler of Independence, Kentucky; Daria Herasymova of Ukraine; and Navodit Paudel of Nepal.
The program is universitywide and recipients come from diverse academic backgrounds. Two study at the Patterson School of Accountancy, four at the School of Business Administration, three at the School of Engineering, seven in the College of Liberal Arts and one at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Eight of the selected students are enrolled in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.
“The students will complete internships in seven countries,” said William Mahoney, coordinator of alumni relations and career planning in the Croft Institute. “Six will be in China, three in South Korea, three in Thailand, two in Japan and one each in Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam.”
The students have secured exciting internships. Rodriguez, a double major in accountancy as well as banking and finance, will be interning with Ernst & Young in Singapore. There, she expects to gain an understanding of compliance for banks, insurance organizations and wealth management firms and corporate tax as a whole.
“EY handles some of Singapore’s biggest financial service organizations, and the prospect of working alongside and learning from EY’s influential and insightful leaders is an outstanding opportunity,” she said. “My duties will vary significantly day-to-day, however some of the general responsibilities include project mapping for FSO compliance, general tax document processing and assisting in the sales strategy for corporate tax products.”
A general engineering major with an emphasis in pre-med studies, Berry will spend her summer shadowing and volunteering in Shanghai First People’s Hospital. She believes her internship will provide her with unique, yet essential, insights into health care tactics for treating patients beyond the scope of only their physical ailments.
“What I most admire about Chinese health care is its incorporation of tradition with modern practices,” Berry said. “I am very excited for this summer, and I look forward to furthering my knowledge of medicine, gaining invaluable experience as a health care provider, and immersing myself in the culture and tradition of China and its medical field.”
The Freeman Foundation grant furthers collaborative efforts to provide students with valuable experiences, Ole Miss administrators said.
“The Freeman Foundation scholarships supported in part by the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College enable our students to experience the richness of culture to improve linguistic skills and to attune our scholars to the challenges in East Asian countries,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, Honors College dean. “I cannot think of a more profound way to enhance, even change, the life choices of our future graduates of the University of Mississippi.”
The goal of the Freeman Foundation’s grant is to help students gain real-life experience while interacting regularly with local populations. Established in 1994 by the estate of AIG co-founder Mansfield Freeman, the foundation’s general mission is “to strengthen the bonds of friendship between this country and those of the Far East” and “to stimulate an exchange of ideas in economic and cultural fields which will help create mutual understanding.”
Headed by Mansfield’s grandson, Graeme Freeman, the foundation donates approximately $50 million annually to programs such as study abroad scholarships for Asian and American students and the National Consortium for Teaching About Asia, which has supported the Croft Institute’s efforts to strengthen teaching about East Asia for more than 15 years.
This grant lets the Croft Institute and other participating campus units deliver on the university’s commitment to educate and engage global citizens and to support experiential learning, two core principles in the university’s Flagship Forward strategic plan. Students chosen for UM Experiential Learning in East Asia will learn how a foreign culture affects the work environment and help prepare them to succeed.
“This is the first year for this program, and we are excited to be able to send such a diverse and motivated group of students to Eastern Asia,” Dinius said. “We look forward to hearing about their experiences upon their return and have them share their insights with the next generation of interns.”
The goal is to make the program a permanent feature at the university.
“We are optimistic that the Freeman Foundation will renew this grant for 2018-19, and we may even be able to increase the number of award recipients,” Dinius added.
Details about the next round will be available early in the fall semester.