First recipients of the Rinard Grant gain international experience

Student posing in front of building

Some students dreamed of traveling halfway across the world to study in foreign lands. Some had dreams of connecting with other cultures and thriving in an international setting. With the help of a grant program established by Ron and Simi Rinard, six Marietta College students made their dreams a reality this summer.

The Ronald ’72 and Simin Shelton Rinard International Travel Grants Program, which was established early this year, provided funds that helped students pay for some of the costs associated with study abroad. The first recipients were Megan McGriff ’23, Elizabeth Stern ’23, Casey Roeder ’23, MAP’24, Cole Longcor ’23, Arabella Parsons ’23 and Eleanor Smith ’23.

McGriff, a Strategic Communication major with minors in Leadership, Psychology and Coaching, traveled to Australia to complete an internship.

"Receiving the Rinard Travel Grant allowed me to make my dreams of studying abroad a reality and a feasible way to intern over the summer," McGriff said. "I interned over the summer as a Sport Management and Coaching intern, where I coached youth basketball and assisted with community events with Maccabi NSW in Sydney, Australia."

Christy Burke, Director of Education Abroad, says some of the students blogged during their travels on the Pioneers Abroad page. She said another student, Ava McMeans ’23, is studying abroad for the Fall 2022 semester in Oxford, England.

“The summer study abroad students had really good, diverse experiences,” Burke said.

Stern’s study abroad reinforced what she plans to pursue after Marietta College.

“I had the opportunity to study law at the University of Cambridge, Emmanuel College, this summer,” Stern said. “While there, I lived on campus and took two law classes about the history of the UK and the current UK government structure. This program was perfect for my area of study because I want to go to law school, and studying abroad allowed me to get a better idea of what classes in law school will be like.”

As an English and Political Science major, Stern said being able to study at one of the oldest universities was an honor and that she was grateful to Marietta for the opportunity.

“While on the trip, I got to travel to London, toured Buckingham Palace, took a train to Edinburgh, and flew to Dublin,” Stern said. “The experiences I had while abroad were unforgettable and essential to my education.”

Roeder ’23, MAP’24, an International Leadership Studies and Psychology major, completed a professional internship for her study abroad.

“I went to Barcelona, Spain for two months to shadow a child psychologist, immerse myself in the culture, and practice the Spanish I have been learning for years now,” Roeder said. “I worked Monday through Thursday at Tot Teràpia, the child psychologist center, where I was able to see what I have learned in the classroom come to life. It was amazing and rewarding to watch the kids at the center grow and develop in just the eight weeks I was there.”

Roeder also made time to travel to other destinations, including taking a boat tour of Santorini, Greece, seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris and eating fries at the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium.

“I learned so much while I was abroad and am eternally grateful for this experience,” Roeder said. “It was also great to be able to use the Rinard scholarship; this scholarship helped me cover the international flights there and back.”

Longcor traveled to Freiburg, Germany, as part of the IES EU Summer Program. He took two classes: a seminar on the EU and a transatlantic/international relations elective.

“As part of the program, we had field trips that went to Strasbourg, Paris, Stockholm, and Brussels,” Longcor said. “I was able to tour many governmental organizations, meet with think tanks and nonprofits, and hear from top scholars and lawyers. I also traveled with friends to Switzerland and Liechtenstein — so six countries in eight weeks. My time abroad was truly life changing.”

Longcor is a Journalism and Political Science major with a Leadership minor.

All six students are taking the Study Abroad Reflection class, and each will share their experiences with the campus at some point during the academic year.

Both Parsons and Smith traveled to Asian countries with the help of the Rinard Grant and kept in touch during their time abroad.

Parsons, an Asian Studies major with a minor in Psychology, studied in South Korea at Korea University, one of the three most prestigious universities in South Korea. She took classes in Abnormal Psychology and Contemporary Korean Society.

“I rarely stayed in my dorm room,” Parsons said. “My roommate and friend group always made a point to go out and explore, which is how I found my favorite foods and favorite shopping districts. I think my favorite part of it, other than the food, was wearing a hanbok or renting a school uniform to go to Lotte World.”

Smith attended Singapore Management University in Singapore. The Asian Studies and International Business major took classes in Smart Cities and Asia-Pacific Business. One of her final group projects developed an app that tracked indoor air quality for university students so they could check the air quality of their dorm rooms.

“My time abroad was spent mostly studying how they did business in Singapore from a classroom perspective,” Smith said. “Professors talked about their personal experiences in the workplace while applying relevant concepts during their lectures. Overall, I felt that the courses here at Marietta in the B&E department, as well as the Asian Studies program, prepared me well for my experience.”

Smith and Parsons both said they are thankful for the Rinards’ interest in helping Marietta students have international experiences and would have really struggled to study abroad without external support.

“This was one of my best college terms ever,” Smith said. “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Rinard!”