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William and Mary Digest: Nov. 15

William and Mary study abroad program ranks high

In a report from Nov. 13, the Institute for International Education found 49 percent of the undergraduate students attending the College of William and Mary during the 2015-16 academic year had studied abroad during their time with the university. The number placed the college first among public universities in the United States.

“William & Mary is committed to intellectual and international openness, and in both large and small ways, we enact and expand on this commitment every day,” said Teresa Longo, the college’s acting vice provost for international affairs.

When students study in other countries, it can make them more attractive entering the job market, said Allan Goodman, the president of the Institute for International Education.

“Countries and multinational employers around the world are competing to attract top talent. As more countries become active hosts of international students and implement national strategies to attract them, the competition for top global talent in higher education and the workforce will only intensify,” Goodman said. “It is critical for U.S. institutions to set strategic goals and be proactive in reaching out to students and families in a wide range of countries in the coming year, and for the United States to keep its academic doors open to students from all over the world.”

Veteran, university employee working to help others

U.S. Marine veteran Charlie Foster is helping fellow veterans become educators once they leave the military.

Foster is a veteran liaison at the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center, housed within the College of William and Mary’s School of Education.

“We’re a resource for anyone who has served who wants to become a teacher,” Foster said. “We help them plan that next career.”

Having received his master’s degree in higher education from William and Mary, Foster thinks he can help people like himself jump into a classroom of their choice.

His job is part of a bigger effort from the college to serve its veteran students.

“I have kind of an obligation to give people good information about education, and specifically higher education, so that’s why this job is an interesting intersection of my experience,” Foster said.

William and Mary oral historian Carmen Bolt is leading projects to commemorate the college’s first African American residential students and its 100 years of co-ed education.

“You can read so much from an oral history,” Bolt said. “The inflection in someone’s voice, hearing them get choked up at a certain point in their story, seeing their facial expressions as they react to certain questions or recall certain memories. That alone tells you so much more than a paper document can tell you.”

Bolt, who started her job in February, has spent months interviewing people from the William and Mary community in the hopes of getting stark details about the college’s history.

“Sometimes people think that their story isn’t exceptional, but everyone’s story is unique,” Bolt said. “Your story is a piece of the puzzle; it is not complete without your story.”

Bolt plans to continue with the anniversary projects even after the college has exhausted its plans.

“Those stories don’t end just because the official anniversaries do,” said Bolt. “The opportunities are endless. There are so many different avenues that oral history can go down.”

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