GREENSBORO, NC. — A group from Bennett College which includes 20 students will travel on an all-expenses-paid trip to China to conduct research, become immersed in the culture and learn more about clean energy as part of the 100,000 Strong Initiative by the Wanxiang Group, a multinational automotive components group headquartered in Hangzhou, China.
The group will depart the U.S. on June 30, 2016 and return July 14, 2016. The students will be accompanied by Lee Todhunter, interim director of Bennett College Center for Global Studies; and Michelle Linster, dean of the Division of Sciences and Mathematics.
The program is designed for female students who are interested in learning more about the application and development of clean energy. The Bennett College students are expected to conduct clean energy research projects in collaboration with participating Chinese female students during and after their return to the U.S. They will be required to submit their research reports one year after completion of the program in China.
“Over the last three years, 155 Bennett students have engaged in an international exchange, making our strategic goal of global acumen a reality,” said Bennett College President Rosalind Fuse-Hall. “This work certainly enriches the life of the campus.”
During the two-week trip, students will participate in seminars on the history, language, social and economic development of China and the teachings of ancient Chinese philosophers. The seminars will also address the development and application of various types of clean energy in China and visit clean-energy related facilities. The students will tour the cultural attractions in China and attend sporting and entertainment activities.
This program is supported by the 100,000 Strong Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that was created as a result of the U.S. State Department initiative of President Barack Obama that called for 100,000 American students engaging with China. Wanxiang partnered with the City of Chicago to set up the first program. Other colleges the group has partnered with include the Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Lone Star College, and the Congressional Black Caucus and two delegations of students from historically black colleges and universities.
“This program provides an immersive experience, exposing our students to the culture and language of the most populous country in the world, and allowing them to gain valuable research skills that they will bring back to Bennett to share with the entire campus,” said Todhunter. “Fully funded opportunities are rare and Bennett is so fortunate to have formed this partnership.”
“I am so grateful that I will have this opportunity, to go to China at no cost and bring back knowledge about clean energy,” Shani McMichael, sophomore from Dayton Ohio majoring in psychology with a Spanish minor. “This will be my first time traveling outside of the country. I hope to gain knowledge on how Bennett can reduce its energy costs. The dedication from Ms. Todhunter is tremendous. We are grateful to her.”
The Bennett College students traveling to China include:
Tyler C. Binion, Antioch, TN
Ajana Blackwell, Mooresville, NC
Alexis Branch, Upper Marlboro, MD
Tiara Campbell, Atlantic City, NJ
Rochelle Givens, Atlanta, GA
Kiarra D. Harris, Jamaica, NY
Ka’la Hill, Upper Marlboro, MD
Ayana Kilpatrick, Dewitt, NY
Marshae S. Kirkpatrick, Pittsboro, NC
Toriell M. Lewis, Greensboro, NC
Esther Maxy, Raleigh, NC
Shani McMichael, Dayton, OH
Ophelia Murray, Philadelphia, PA
Brianna Shields, Norristown, PA
Ebony Small, Greensboro, NC
Chelsa Tubbs, Greensboro, NC
Nia Watson, Capitol Heights, MD
Sabrina Simpson, Chicago, Ill.
Deja Willis, Mooresville, NC
Cassidy Lyric Wise, Los Angeles, CA
Caption: Lee Todhunter, interim director of Bennett College Center for Global Studies (right), is in the Center of Global Studies at Bennett preparing for the trip to China. She is accompanied by Ebony Small of Greensboro, a journalism and media studies major who will be traveling with the group. Also in the photograph is Hsia Pei-An, a Chinese Instructor at Bennett.