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DOBSON — Seventeen students graduated from Surry Community College as Scholars of Global Distinction recently.

These students participated in The Scholars of Global Distinction program that started at the college in the fall of 2018. The program is open to all students. Scholars complete 15 credits of globally intensive courses, attend eight “passport” events, complete an immersion project, and deliver a capstone presentation. Participation in the program is aimed at fostering increased global awareness and skills to compete in a globally diverse world, the college said

Sarah Wright, lead instructor of Languages and Humanities and faculty advisor for the Scholars of Global Distinction program said this was the largest graduating class of Scholars of Global Distinction in the state.

“Surry is certainly not among the largest community colleges, so that is a particular source of pride,” she said.

The program has grown to 90 students in the past two years.

“Our first year, we had six graduates; it was impressive for these students to complete the program in one year. Since then, we have had a meteoric rise in interest and participation. I credit the students with being both enthusiastic and dedicated to learning more,” Wright said.

“All 17 of these graduates committed to complete the program, and they did, many of whom had to finish up a project during a pandemic,” Wright said. “They continued to attend events virtually, and they also did their capstone presentations online without skipping a beat.

“Part of the North Carolina Community College System mission is to ‘develop a globally and multi-culturally competent workforce.’ We are certainly doing our part at Surry Community College. I know these students are among the best and brightest. I also know they have the skills to transfer and later enter the workforce and collaborate with a variety of people from a diverse background. Their futures are bright, but so is ours because they are our future.”

Graduates include Erika Hernandez, Erykah Arvizu, Anayeli Garcia, Kevin Rivera, Mario Hernandez and Polly Kreh of Dobson; Alex Urquiza, John Billos, Karlie Marion and Lisa Handy of Mount Airy; Beulah Gullion of Ararat; Brennan Day of Siloam; Devon Moore of Pilot Mountain; Mauricio Alejandro Mayorga Munoz (Alejandro) of Mooresville; Anahi Espinoza and Leslie Hernandez of Yadkinville; and Manuel Scenna of Lewisville.

Mauricio Alejandro Mayorga Munoz (Alejandro) of Mooresville earned an Associate in Science and plans to become a computer engineer. He will be transferring to Weber State University. He said his favorite thing about being in the program is “Learning about different countries and sharing about mine.”

Alex Urquiza of Mount Airy graduated from the Surry Early College and received an Associate in Arts. He plans to major in mass media and communications/journalism at Appalachian State University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a scholar, his favorite thing was: “Learning about new and different cultures around the globe.”

Anahi Espinoza of Yadkinville graduated from the Yadkin Early College with an Associate in Arts degree, as well as an Associate in Science degree. She plans to pursue being a nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and possibly a graduate degree. She will be attending Appalachian State University. She said, “One of my favorite things about being a Global Scholar is being able to hear and learn that about people in my own community that have such amazing stories to tell. Being a Global Scholar has really helped me understand what being a global citizen is.”

Anayeli Garcia of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College, with an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science. She plans to major in chemical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. While at Surry, she was the president of National Society of Leadership and Success. Garcia said her favorite memory as a Scholar of Global Distinction was the trip that the group took to Atlanta in 2018. “I had so much fun with my friends, and I realized how much I love Indian food.”

Beulah Gullion of Ararat earned an Associate in Arts degree. She plans to pursue a Bachelor in Arts in history, with a concentration in secondary education, and a master degree in education administration, with the ultimate goal of working in a small community to give the chance that she was given to small town kids who are afraid to dream. She will be transferring to Guilford College. While at Surry, she was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, History Club, Trail Club, and other clubs.

“Being a part of Global Scholars was the best decision I made in my time as a student at SCC. There are many things that I loved about the program,” she said.

Brennan Day of Siloam earned an Associate in Arts degree and plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study communications. While at Surry, she was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, a Junior Ambassador, and made the President’s List for outstanding grades. “Some of my favorite things about being a Scholar of Global Distinction were being able to attend awesome presentations and writing to my pen pals from Rwanda.”

Devon Moore of Pilot Mountain received an Associate in Science, as well as an Associate in General Education. He plans to attend Forsyth Technical Community College and study dental hygiene and eventually dentistry. While at Surry, he was a Junior Ambassador. He said, “I’ve always loved Spanish and Spanish culture. This wonderful program allowed me to further my education in Spanish culture, and culture globally, along with make many new friends. I appreciate Ms. Wright for such an amazing program.”

Erika Hernandez of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College, with an Associate in Arts degree. She plans to attend Appalachian State University to pursue an education in environmental studies. While attending Surry, she was a member of the LEO Club for Criminal Justice students and the Rotaract Club, which is associated with the Sunrise Rotary Club in Mount Airy.

“My favorite from this program was being able to expand my perspectives on different cultures, especially when I went to Europe. I also enjoyed listening to cultural presentations and learning about ways to avoid cultural bias,” she said.

Erykah Arvizu of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College with an Associate of Arts. He will be attending University of North Carolina Wilmington to double major in psychology and sociology. He then plans to obtain a graduate degree in psychology. Arvizu said, “My favorite thing about being a Scholar of Global Distinction was being part of a group that enjoys learning about the many different cultures around the world.”

John Billos of Mount Airy graduated from Surry Early College with an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science. He plans to attend Wake Forest University to obtain a Bachelor of Science in computer science.

“My favorite thing about being a Scholar of Global Distinction is the global competence and cultural understanding I gained from it,” said Billos. “Attending cultural events and holidays has opened up my mind to a realm of information and traditions that I never knew existed.”

Karlie Marion of Mount Airy earned an Associate in Science. She plans to major in architecture with a minor in engineering at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She said her favorite thing about being a Scholar of Global Distinction was learning about different countries and their cultures.

Kevin Rivera of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College with an Associate in Arts. He plans to major in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will be the first person in his family to go to a four-year institution to receive higher education for which he is grateful.

“My favorite thing about being a Scholar of Global Distinction has definitely had to have been participating in a DACA night for our local Latino/Hispanic community. This experience was super rewarding and awesome for our local community who benefitted from this resource,” said Rivera.

Leslie Hernandez of Yadkinville graduated from Yadkin Early College with an Associate in Arts. She plans to major in political science with a concentration in global affairs, and minor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Hernandez said, “One of my biggest accomplishments thus far has been attending the Yadkin Early College and being the first in my family to graduate with a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts for free,” She adds that, “One of my favorite aspects about Surry’s Scholars of Global Distinction is that I’ve learned about different foods, traditions, and cultures from around the world within the college campus.”

Lisa Handy of Mount Airy earned an Associate in Arts. She plans to attend Appalachian State University to study Career and Technical Education and teach Family and Consumer Science.

“I have absolutely loved being in the Scholar of Global Distinction Program, and the program has motivated me to want to visit places and be a lifelong learner,” said Handy. “One of the things I enjoyed was helping Beulah Gullion make shoes for the children in Uganda. That was a fun day and fulfilling day.”

Manuel Scenna of Lewisville graduated with an Associate in Science. He plans to attend North Carolina State University and study Aerospace Engineering. Regarding his favorite part of the program, he said: “It is beautiful to share my culture and learn about others. It’s very interesting to learn how cultures have been shaped by societies and immigrations. Every country is unique, but the humanity of the people that live in it is the same everywhere.”

Mario Hernandez of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College with an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science. He plans to attend North Carolina State University and then go on to medical school to become a doctor. While at Surry, he was named to the President’s and Dean’s Lists and was an SCC Ambassador. He said his favorite thing about being a Scholar of Global Distinction was: “The research involved with capstones. I did a topic that really interested me, and I loved doing the research for it. Finding out more about it made me interested in other topics related to my topic.”

Polly Kreh of Dobson graduated from Surry Early College with an Associate in Arts and an Associate in Science. She plans to major in biology at a UNC Asheville and then attend graduate school. She said, “My favorite thing about Global Scholars is that it exposes us to cultures in many ways, leading us to be more aware of the diversity around us.”

For more information about the event or the Scholars of Global Distinction program, contact Sarah Wright at wrights@surry.edu or 336-386-3439.



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