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Application Submission Day: Advancing to Boost Bison Study Abroad

US Department of State Members at Bunche Center During Passport Drive

Application Submission Day: Advancing to Boost Bison Study Abroad

By Aisiriuwa C. Archield | November 20, 2019


The Howard Forward Strategic Plan – Strategic Priority 2, states that “We will reward innovation in instruction, research, entrepreneurship, collaboration and capacity building that maximizes our impact, and challenges, enlightens and inspires our faculty and students to change the world”. One of the initiatives featured to successfully achieve this priority is our institution’s pledge to commit to “increasing the number of students who participate in study abroad experiences that expand thinking, promote diversity of thought, civil discourse and empathy”. However, small tactical steps would need to be taken by each stakeholder (i.e. administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni) to accomplish such a hefty task. Therefore partnerships, such as the one between the College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) and the Ralph J. Bunche Center for International Affairs, are momentous. With a harmonious mission and vision in mind, Bison across the Howard University campus have been working diligently to carry out the strategic plan crafted by President Wayne A.I. Frederick and his committee more than a year ago.

Dean Rubin Patterson, newly appointed Dean of COAS, set forth to do his part in implementing Howard Forward by constructing a college-wide set of goals that would complement Howard Forward as it applies to the Arts and Sciences. With the shared desire for more scholars from the African Diaspora to gain international experiences, Dean Patterson elected to sponsor passports for the entire class of 2023 majoring within COAS. Wasting little time to set this initiative in motion, COAS and the Bunche Center started the Fall 2019 semester off strong with a Study Abroad Informational Meeting hosted by the COAS Department of Student Affairs. During the mid-morning meet up, Tonija Navas, Director of the Bunche Center, spoke with incoming freshmen about the importance of studying abroad while pursuing a degree. "Being uncomfortable in another space and being able to overcome it is only going to prepare you for whatever field that you enter..." said Navas. Director Navas, alongside Associate Dean for Academic Affairs James Davis, emphasized the need for an active passport in order to participate in such activity. And so, the road to securing incoming student passports began. In the weeks to follow, a sign-up day, passport photo day, and photo pickup day were all hosted by a dedicated crew of faculty and staff members. The event series ended with an official application submission day inside the Bunche Center. US Dept of State Members Accept Student Passport Applications

Government officials from the United States Department of State waited patiently inside a meeting room turned into a triage location, anticipating an overflow of scholars with their documents in tow. “We want to make sure students are prepared when boarding their flights overseas” said Madelynn M. McDonald, Chief Community Relations Officer for the U.S Department of State. Besides accepting passport applications, McDonald and her team were also prepared to distribute other travel related resources to assist students in having the smoothest study abroad experience as possible. “We are responsible for outreach to the public, making sure that they know what the requirements are when applying for a passport. And we also manage a website called It has everything you’d want to know about Department of State and travel affairs. [We have] country specific information. If you are going to Haiti what do you need to be aware of?”, McDonald highlighted. Chief McDonald also highlighted their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)STEP serves as an extra layer of protection for U.S citizens that are on travel abroad. The program allows federal government officials to keep track of US citizens while out of the country to ensure their safety and scheduled return home. These features, among others, will be made available to all the 130 students that pre-registered for their free passports.




For more information on United States passports visit the Department of State

For study abroad opportunities please visit the Ralph J. Bunche Center for International Affairs


Article Type:

COAS Students, Study Abroad