Student Success

President's Grant for International Community Engagement spurs student work overseas

Applications for the 2015 President's Grant for International Community Engagement are due no later than Friday, January 30, 2015.


University of Lethbridge students continue to make meaningful contributions to the world around them, and with the introduction of a new grant program, funded by an anonymous donor, even more students will have the opportunity to participate in international development work.

Political science student Brandon McNally, pictured here in Nepal, was awarded one of three President's Grants for International Community Engagement.

The President’s Grant for International Community Engagement was awarded to three outstanding student applicants in its first year, impacting communities in Uganda, Nepal and Burkina Faso. Currently accepting applications for the next round of funding (applications close Jan. 30, 2015), the grant program will allow another group of students the opportunity to make a lasting impact abroad.

“This program is beneficial on so many levels,” says University of Lethbridge President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Mike Mahon. “It is designed not only to give our students the incredible opportunity to travel abroad and do meaningful work, but it specifically calls for their projects to create lasting partnerships that will strengthen international networks and create a lasting effect of their visit.”

The President’s Grant for International Community Engagement seeks to encourage greater interest in, and understanding of, less developed countries by supporting students who are interested in participating in international development work. The grant provides up to $5,000 for students to spend an extended period of time (at least three months) working in a paid or volunteer role in a developing country.

Fourth-year political science student Brandon McNally spent the summer in Nepal, where he worked for a non-government organization called Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA). Working in the ECCA’s head office in Kathmandu, McNally worked on securing funding for a number of projects, including turning an open dumping site into a public park. He also helped design and deliver life skills programs to students in Grades 5 to 10.

“It was a phenomenal experience and I’m very grateful,” says McNally. “I have ambitions to do international work and I’m glad that opportunities such as these have been open to me before graduating.”

Other funded projects included a group of nursing students (Tracey Christoffersen, Melissa Collins, Danielle Clearwater, Zoe Sultani and Renae Nedza) working their final clinical practice course at Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda and Sara Bieniada’s proposed trip to Burkina Faso beginning in October, where she will teach English as a second language.

“Our students are looking to make a difference in the world and by providing an opportunity for them to become engaged internationally, not only are we looking to create a lasting impact on the communities they are working with, but we are giving our students life-changing experiences that fundamentally enhance their perception of the world and how they can further contribute to bettering society,” adds Mahon.

For more information, visit the President's Grant for International Community Engagement page.