A number of Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy (OMWC) scholars enjoyed summer school in way that was anything but typical.
For example, University of Mississippi senior political science major Catrina Curtis of Nesbit, Mississippi, combined academics and service during her summer abroad in Athens, Greece — even volunteering with the Athens Salvation Army to help Syrian refugees.
“The classes were both enlightening and challenging to me, as they pushed many of my preconceived notions of myself and the world around me to shape me into a better leader and global citizen,” said Curtis whose opportunity was made possible by the Global Leadership Circle (GLC), a new support arm of the OMWC. The initiative seeks financial resources for scholarship recipients who want to study abroad or intern with national or international organizations.
“As Greece is in the midst of a refugee crisis, the Salvation Army serves many displaced and endangered families,” she said. “These experiences opened my eyes to the needs that are so often forgotten about as well as to how fortunate I am to live the life of safety I do, helping to broaden my global mindset.”
Curtis also took advantage of the opportunity to travel during her time abroad, stepping outside her comfort zone and becoming immersed in the local culture to learn more about herself and the global community.
“I feel forever indebted to the Ole Miss Women’s Council members for so many things, but their helping fund my study-abroad experience is something I truly cannot thank them enough for. I know I am a better person, leader and traveler thanks to these experiences, and I am so excited for all the students following me who will get to partake in similar life-changing experiences.”
For a country music fan, what could be better than meeting Dolly Parton, watching the filming of a Showtime program and enjoying live concerts by entertainers Jennifer Hudson and Shania Twain?
For UM senior Landon Chapman of Brandon, Mississippi, those experiences are only a few of the highlights of a summer internship that informed his future career path. Chapman, an integrated marketing communications major, plans to continue working in the entertainment industry after graduation.
“Although I had dreamed of working in the entertainment industry my whole life, I had never really understood what that dream looked like for me,” said OMWC scholar Chapman, who worked in Los Angeles, California, as a summer intern for his mentor, accomplished producer and Ole Miss alumnus Sam Haskell.
“I now have a much clearer understanding of the industry as a whole and also the specific career paths within the industry. Having this newfound knowledge and experience is absolutely priceless to my future.”
OMWC Chair Mary Susan Gallien Clinton said she applauds donors who embraced the idea of the GLC when it was launched, agreeing that students need resources to be engaged in study and service outside the classroom.
“We are deeply grateful to generous supporters for helping ensure that our scholars are world-ready when they graduate. Our scholars will be uniquely prepared to pursue significant career and life paths because of the experiences and perspectives gained through these tremendous opportunities.”
Inaugural donors to the GLC are Judi and Sam Carroll of Rye, New York; Mary Susan and J.D. Clinton of Naples, Florida; Pat Cooper of Bella Vista, Arkansas; Wendy and Gordon Cromwell of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; Kimberley Fritts and Francis Marion of Washington, D.C.; Mary Ann and Don Frugé of Oxford, Mississippi; Mary and Sam Haskell of Oxford; Karen and Bruce Moore of Nashville, Tennessee; Olivia and Archie Manning of New Orleans, Louisiana; Bond Oman of Nashville; Beth and Chip Pickering of Jackson, Mississippi; and Sharon and Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter of the university.
Around the globe from Chapman, OMWC senior Amelia DeWitt of Alexandria, Louisiana, experienced a similarly meaningful summer experience, spending five weeks in Europe with the LeadAbroad program.
“Rome took my heart within the first week,” said DeWitt, who studied both art and leadership during her stay in Italy. “Not only was I surrounded by the most amazing monuments, restaurants and sights, but I also enjoyed a community of people who supported and cared for each other.”
DeWitt, who plans to be a nurse practitioner, also developed her leadership philosophy. “I had no idea how in-depth one could go when learning about leadership, but it made me realize the kind of leader I want to be and which traits and characteristics I need in order to improve my community.”
The Ole Miss student called her summer abroad the best experience of her life.
“I never thought I could have the opportunity to travel to a foreign country during my college career, but I am grateful to the Global Leadership Council for making this dream a reality.”
Senior Ali Chatham of Hernando, Mississippi, studied art history and studio art in Italy, with both classes combining real-world experiences with academics.
“We went to all of the best museums in Florence and saw the art we learned about in person. We walked around Florence and drew and painted different beautiful scenes.”
Travel throughout Europe complemented Chatham’s experiences.
“I learned so much about myself and different cultures,” she said of her visits to Venice, Rome and the Amalfi Coast in Italy, as well as Santorini, Greece and Paris. The Ole Miss student said that in addition to having experienced varied cultures and developing a long-lasting appreciation for seminal works of art, she plans to apply her experience directly to her college career.
“I can’t wait to use what I learned as I get closer to starting on my thesis show,” said the scholar who expressed appreciation for the support of the GLC that made her study abroad experience possible. “I will be forever thankful to the Ole Miss Women’s Council and the Global Leadership Circle for giving me the best summer of my life!”
For Parker Maloney of Clinton, Mississippi, a senior OMWC scholar studying business, support from the GLC made a big difference closer to home. Maloney interned for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, in the Strategic Partnerships division, and learned the fast-paced, ever-changing business world.
“There was definitely no ‘typical day as an intern,’” said Maloney. “Some days I would assist in the planning and execution of events for our top corporate sponsors; some days I would brainstorm campaign and promotional ideas for businesses interested in becoming partners with St. Jude.”
She also worked on a corporation-wide intern innovation project, which provided exposure to real-life company challenges. Maloney and other interns researched innovative solutions and presented them to the senior leadership of St. Jude.
“I am certain it will make all the difference when I graduate this upcoming year and become a business professional,” said Maloney, who thanked GLC for making her internship possible.
“There are so many financial considerations that come along with accepting a dream internship, but because of the Global Leadership Circle, I didn’t have to worry about any of them. I was able to focus solely on my internship experience and have an incredible time learning the ins and outs of an outstanding non-profit organization and developing professionally.”
Supporting the Global Leadership Circle begins at $25,000 and is payable over several years. For more information, contact Suzanne Helveston at email@example.com or 662-915-7273. To learn more about the Ole Miss Women’s Council, visit www.omwc.olemiss.edu.
By Margaret Walton Seicshnaydre