Davidson County Community College Students Earn Global Scholar Distinction

Cinthia Pecina

April 24, 2015 – The Scholars of Global Distinction program at Davidson County Community College sets the college apart as a statewide leader in international education. Now, in the program’s second year, 17 students are expected to complete the requirements for the honor, with some of them graduating in May and continuing on to four-year universities across the state.

Five of these students – Cinthia Pecina, Hannah Swicegood, Phillip Michael, Cheyenne McMahan and Tremaine Cunningham – presented capstone presentations on April 23 reflecting on their global experience and connecting it to their academic and personal life.

The Scholars of Global Distinction program adds the opportunity to explore topics like culture, globalization, environmental sustainability and international business to the academic program at DCCC. To successfully complete the program, students enroll in globally intensive courses. They also attend international passport events on campus and complete a study abroad or domestic intercultural experience.

Pecina, a Thomasville resident who will graduate with an Associate of Arts in May, recently returned from a study abroad trip to Ireland and shared that experience during her capstone presentation.

“The trip to Ireland made me want to explore more of our world and participate in future trips, if possible. It also taught me that nothing substitutes for experience,” Pecina says. “My overall involvement in this program has been very rewarding. I have accomplished so much more in the past two years at DCCC than I ever did while I was out of school for almost 10 years.”

Pecina moved to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 9. As a single mother who works three jobs, it was a challenge returning to school to earn a college degree, but being a part of the international education program at DCCC, she says, has solidified her desire to pursue a career in immigration and criminal law. She plans to continue her studies this fall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Phillip Michael

DCCC was one of the first community colleges in N.C. to start a program like this and is a leader in a statewide consortium to replicate the program at other schools. The college partners with World View, a center of UNC-Chapel Hill, and recently participated in a workshop where college faculty from across the state gathered to create globalized versions of some of the most common introductory classes. DCCC already offers dozens of globalized courses that help students meet the requirements for the Global Scholar distinction.

Faculty member Jocelyn Hirai helped with creating the globalized curriculum for a writing and inquiry course, which she teaches at DCCC. She says the college’s commitment to international education prepares students for life and work in an increasingly interconnected world where they will need cultural awareness and a deeper knowledge of global issues in order to be successful.

“It has been extremely rewarding for me to have facilitated meaningful conversations in the classroom and been part of their global learning experience,” Hirai says. “Put simply, the Global Scholar distinction on a student transcript shows potential employers that these students are prepared to enter the global workforce. At the end of the capstone, they have demonstrated their ability to persevere in their courses, participated in a global travel or cultural experience and communicated effectively about that experience while showing appreciation for multiculturalism.”

This year’s Global Scholars program culminated in the April 23 event, when the 17 students completing the requirements this year and students currently in the program were recognized.

“We are so proud of the growth we see in our Global Scholars as they complete the capstone,” says Suzanne LaVenture, director of international education and Spanish instructor. “Their presentations demonstrate how they have broadened their worldview and increased their awareness of the complexities of working and communicating with people right here and around the globe. Thanks to their hard work and our faculty’s dedication to international education, DCCC’s program sets us apart when it comes to providing a truly global learning experience for our students.”

Scholars of Global Distinction Facts:

  • In 2013-2014, the first year of the program, seven students earned Global Scholar honors. 
  • For its leadership among community colleges, DCCC was named the 2014 recipient of the Institution Award for International Excellence by the North Carolina Association of International Educators.
  • This May, nine students and two faculty members will travel abroad with DCCC to Guatemala for service learning projects. Study abroad programs in 2016 will include a spring break trip to Ireland, a cultural and historical tour of Central Europe, a nursing and health care program in London and a Community Travel Club trip to Portugal. Most of these programs are open to community members as well as students.

*Editor’s Note: In the first photo, DCCC student Cinthia Pecina presents her capstone on her recent trip to Ireland. In the second photo, DCCC student Phillip Michael shares his international experience during the Scholars of Global Distinction capstone presentations.

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 and is looking forward to serving students in Davidson and Davie counties for many years to come. The college is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College at davidsonccc.edu.