Gifts boost international research and experiences
When Stephen Goodspeed, '16, went to China the summer after his junior year for an internship with Time Out Beijing magazine, he learned more than just how to report and write a story.
"The foundations of Chinese culture are completely different from anything I have ever experienced," says Goodspeed, who wrote on topics ranging from dining in Beijing to water scarcity issues in Hebei. "I learned more about understanding and empathy, how international business operates on a day-to-day basis, and how Americans are perceived abroad."
The internship, he says, truly helped him to identify as a citizen of the world.
Goodspeed's experience reflects a renewed emphasis in the School of Humanities and Sciences on educating students for the 21st century, an effort that has attracted gifts from a number of supporters. The initiative gained momentum in 2013, when Richard Saller, the Vernon R. and Lysbeth Warren Dean and Kleinheinz Family Professor of European Studies, formed a volunteer task force led by Susan Ford Dorsey (Parent '09, '16) to help rebrand the Stanford Global Studies Division (SGS).
As the university's umbrella for nine international centers and five interdisciplinary programs, SGS supports students who want to major in international relations, for example, or focus on African, Latin American, or Islamic studies. SGS also sponsors summer internships for students to develop cultural and working experience around the world.
Expanding Internship Opportunities
The SGS internship program got a critical boost last year with a gift from John Gunn, '65, MBA '72, and Cynthia Fry Gunn, '70, that expanded it to Uganda, Cambodia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, and Ireland. This year the program attracted 207 applications and accepted 82—a large increase from 2014, when 36 students worked in Brazil, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Nicaragua, and Taiwan.
The eight-week program is open to undergraduates and coterms in all majors. Prior to the internship, students must take a Stanford course related to their region, as well as study Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Portuguese, if they intend to work in countries where those languages are spoken.
Emily Truong, '16, who is majoring in East Asian Studies, studied Chinese traditional medicine at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. "I shadowed doctors in outpatient clinics, attended medical lectures, and improved my Mandarin," she says. "This experience will help me become a better doctor, with an insight into foreign cultures that can build that critical connection with patients."
An Investment in the Public Good
In addition to pursuing support for internships, Dean Saller seeks to raise funding for 8 new professorships focusing on academically underrepresented regions at Stanford, specifically the Middle East and South Asia, and 16 related graduate fellowships. To date, Stanford donors have funded 5 professorships and 3 graduate fellowships.
"Graduate fellows are integral to Stanford's success," says Steven Wisch, '83, who established one of the fellowships along with his wife, Debi. "These brilliant young scholars support professors across multiple disciplines as research and teaching assistants, and they provide that extra spark that makes Stanford such an extraordinary institution."
A critical part of the academic ecosystem, graduate fellows mentor undergraduates, challenge their advisors, push research in new directions, and ultimately influence future generations of students at universities around the world.
"Support for SGS should be understood as a broader investment in the public good," says Saller. "It will improve the lives of all of us as global citizens."
New SGS Professorships and Graduate Fellowships with a Focus on the Middle East and South Asia
Ann and Ned Lamont Professorship in International Studies
Annie Huntress Lamont, '79, and Ned Lamont (Parents '13)
Kevin and Michelle Douglas Professorship in International Studies
Kevin, '85, and Michelle Douglas (Parents '18)
Chan Soon-Shiong Professorship in International Studies
Michele and Patrick Soon-Shiong (Parents '15, '18)
Robert G. Freeman Professorship in International Studies
Kleinheinz Family Professorship in International Studies, and two graduate fellowships
Marsha and John Kleinheinz, '84 (Parents '14, '19)
Steven and Debra Wisch Graduate Fellowship
Steven, '83, and Debi Wisch (Parents '16)