ATLANTA ( March 27, 2019) – A Spelman College student has been selected as one of 10 students across the country to earn the prestigious Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship. As a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow, Briya Malia Todd, C’2021, has received a full scholarship to study abroad program in London this summer. 

“We congratulate Briya Malia Todd for being the first Spelman student to win the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship that will provide her the opportunity to participate in a Council on International Educational Exchange four-week course on leadership and intercultural engagement in London. We are proud of her,” said ‘Dimeji R. Togunde, Ph.D., associate provost for global education and professor of international studies at Spelman, where 75 percent of the class of 2018 participated in study abroad. 

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Of the 332,727 U.S. college students who studied abroad in 2017, less than 30 percent were students of color — 0.4 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, 4.3 percent multiracial, 6.1 percent African American, 8.2 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and 10 percent Hispanic Americans, according to data from the Institute of International Education.  The data shows that students of color largely miss out on international education experiences that can play a critical role in their personal growth, as well as academic and career success. 

The Frederick Douglass Fellowship, which launched in 2017, is representative of efforts by the Council on International Educational Exchange, the nation’s largest non-profit facilitator of studying abroad, and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions, to increase diversity in study abroad by breaking down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture that prevent students from participating in international education experiences.

A native of LaGrange, Georgia, Todd said the Fellowship will allow her to accomplish many of her personal goals, such as exploring communities across the globe outside of her small hometown. Passionate about social justice, Todd  has a long-term goal to be an attorney and challenge issues that impact communities of color like mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.

“I also aspire to be an ambassador in my lifetime,” said Todd, a political science major. “This career is not easy to obtain. But the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship will put me on a fast track towards that goal. I’m proud that the Fellowship seeks out students who excel and believes in us enough to invest in our future and believes in furthering the dreams of students like myself.”

The Fellows are nominated by the presidents of their respective institutions and selected during a national competition. The winners demonstrate high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and have a history of service to others.

“The students selected for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship are 10 exemplary student leaders who demonstrate the iconic leadership, keen intellect, and natural change-agent attributes of Frederick Douglass,” said James P. Pellow, president and CEO of CIEE. “These students will be the next generation of leaders and I know that the intercultural competence and global perspective they will gain during the London program will benefit them throughout their lives.”

Todd said she looks forward to returning to Spelman after her summer abroad and sharing the knowledge she gains, noting that she takes pride in being a mentor and a student leader. “Spelman encourages its students to become global citizens,” she said. “It is important to acknowledge your own footprint in this world. Through this opportunity, I will become a better global citizen and I will create a larger footprint.”

About The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions
The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. The Center’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. For further information about the Center, please visit www.gse.upenn.edu/cmsi

About CIEE
CIEE, the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, transforms lives and builds bridges by promoting the exchange of ideas and experiences. To help people develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world, CIEE sponsors a wide variety of opportunities for cultural exchange, including work exchange programs, teach abroad programs, and a worldwide portfolio of study abroad and internship programs for college and high school students. Visit www.ciee.org.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country’s leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News and World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 51 among all liberal arts colleges and No. 1 among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund Founder Marian Wright Edelman, Starbucks Group President and COO Rosalind Brewer, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones. For more information, visit www.spelman.edu.