Center launches global leadership study abroad program

On May 9, 20 Iowa State University students and two faculty departed for a four-week study abroad program in which they will take two leadership courses and explore the history, politics and culture of Sweden.

“The Catt Center developed this new study abroad program to provide students with an opportunity to examine the theories and practices of leadership in an international setting in which women and men have different societal roles than in the United States,” said Dianne Bystrom, center director. “Stockholm, Sweden, was selected as the initial site for the global leadership study abroad program because of the high percentages of women in public and private leadership positions in the country as well as its progressive public policies.”

The program is being led by leadership faculty Cameron Beatty and Kelly Winfrey, who will teach CLPS 322, “Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society,” and CLPS/WS 333, “Women and Leadership,” to the students enrolled. “In addition to their course work, students will learn about Swedish culture, politics and history and will be challenged to re-examine many commonly held assumptions about both Sweden and the United States,” Beatty said.

The students participating in the program are: Alex Cox, sophomore in public relations; Brittany Gaura, sophomore in political science; Ryan Hale, junior in pre-business; Samuel Hamilton, sophomore in chemical engineering; Matthew Johnson, senior in interdisciplinary studies; Iman Kashmola, senior in genetics; Jennifer Klodt, sophomore in accounting; Mara Mapes, freshman in child, adult and family services; Kara Masteller, sophomore in marketing; Kelsey McConnell, sophomore in industrial engineering; Stephanie McMillan, freshman in agriculture and life sciences education; Veronica Middlebrooks, senior in biology; Alexandra Polk, freshman in psychology; Zachary Polk, sophomore in kinesiology and health; Ana Ramirez-Rivera, junior in advertising; Emily Ramm, sophomore in elementary education; Brian Regan, junior in chemical engineering, Israel Toluwalase, senior in management information systems; Caitlin Ward, senior in statistics; and Elizabeth Wissink, sophomore in sociology.

Classroom instruction during the study abroad program will be held on the campus of Södertörn University, a public institution located in the culturally diverse area of south Stockholm. The Iowa State students will have the opportunity to interact with Södertörn students, faculty and staff during their visit. They will also visit Stockholm University for a tour and presentation on “Gender and Society” from the perspective of a Swedish professor.

In addition to their classes, the students will learn about Swedish politics, history and culture by visiting such sites as the Royal Palace, Parliament, City Hall, Nobel Museum, Vasa Museum, Stockholm Education Administration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Corporation, Swedish Trade Union Confederation and the Skansen open-air museum on Sweden’s National Day. They also will meet with corporate executives at the Skanska construction company and Scania automotive manufacturer on their diversity, inclusion and leadership programs. In addition to Stockholm, the group will tour Uppsala and Sigtuna, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland. They will return to the United States on June 9.

“We are really excited for the students to have the opportunity to engage with Swedish culture, but also to be able to have private meetings with corporate executives who are on the frontlines of providing diversity and inclusion programs at their respective companies,” Beatty said. “Many of our students have never been out of the United States, so this will be an exciting opportunity to expose them to a global society and let them explore how Sweden is tackling issues around gender and inclusion.”

All 20 students participating in the global leadership study abroad program received a $1,250 tuition waiver scholarship from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In addition, 10 students – Gaura, Hale, Hamilton, Johnson, Kashmola, Mapes, Middlebrooks, Ramirez-Rivera, Regan and Toluwalase – received scholarships totaling $8,750 from the Stanley Global Leaders fund supported by Mary Jo and Richard Stanley of Muscatine, Iowa.

“The students appreciate the support of the LAS administration as well as the Stanleys in making this experience more affordable,” Bystrom said. “Our goal was to provide this global leadership experience to a diverse group of Iowa State students. The 20 students participating represent majors in five different colleges. They include six minority students and two military veterans.”