In today’s fast pace, high-tech, and highly competitive society, college students see the advantages of setting themselves apart from classmates as companies clamor for employers with more than just a degree.
At Lenoir-Rhyne University highly motivated and talented students receive support for becoming more competitive applicants for post-graduate fellowships, awards, and exceptional employment opportunities, through the Lineberger Fellows Program.
The program contributes largely to LRU’s effort to provide an abundance of gateways to a broader education, this year working to send 10 of its 20 members to countries outside the U.S. The program is supported by the Lineberger Center for Cultural and Educational Renewal, which also collaborates with the university’s national recognized Visiting Writers Series. Several Lineberger Fellows have introduced on stage, world famous writers as part of their public speaking initiative.
Dr. Rand Brandes is founder of Lineberger Fellows and took seven members to Ireland, this past spring with University President, Dr. Wayne Powell. He encourages Lineberger Fellows to have educational experiences internationally, and helps coordinate study abroad trips for them.
“It’s part of an overall effort to make our students more globally competitive,” Brandes said. “I tell them they need the three ‘I’s’ – internships, independent research projects, and international study experiences. All students have these opportunities but are not coached in the same way.”
For students like Abigail McRea, an Exercise Science Major and swimmer at LRU, being a member of Lineberger Fellows meant receiving a grant, offered to a small number of students for up to $750 for international study or a travel experience. “That’s how I was able to go to Costa Rica. I wouldn’t have been able to pay out of pocket, so by giving me that money Lineberger Fellows has given me that opportunity.”
Arzoo Mulla, from Mumbai India is a member of Lineberger Fellows and an International Economics and Business double major and Spanish minor. Like most students in the program, Mulla is highly accomplished for a junior in college. She speaks Hindi, English, and Spanish fluently and knows basic conversation skills in Arabic and Mandarin. This summer she joined McRea and other Lineberger Fellows on a trip to Costa Rica where she added six Spanish credits to the 12 she already had.
“I immediately signed up for the trip because I thought, there’s nothing like learning to speak Spanish in a Spanish speaking country,” Mulla said. “I think more than writing or reading skills, I think it’s the listening skills that make your language stronger.”
Mulla is also working with Brandes to lock in an internship in New York City. “I’m sending Dr. Brandes a list of types of internships that I’m looking at,” Mulla said. “He’s asked me to be very specific so he can go ahead and send my applications to his contacts. Being an economics and financial student – he has contacts in New York working in the banking sector and on Wall Street.”
In December, Mulla plans to head back to her native land to conduct an independent research project on micro-finance companies, searching to discover why they give out loans to poor income groups in India. “There is just so much risk,” she said. “So, I’ll be studying risk assessment and what makes people invest in these loans.”
As Lineberger Fellows continues to provide opportunities outside the classroom it helps shape students into responsible, honest, courageous leaders - people that will be of service to their community, to God, and to the world.
“It’s so important in these challenging times that LR is able to support a program like this and recognizes its importance,” Brandes said. “These are not just one dimensional students. They’re highly disciplined, highly organized, and they all have futures brighter than they can imagine.”
Photo caption: Arzoo Mulla (left) and Abigail McRea, both members of LRU's Lineberger Fellows program, stand in front of a river in Costa Rica where they traveled this past June to study Spanish. Offering support for study abroad opportunities is one way Lineberger Fellows works to prepare students for becoming more globally competitive.