Presidential Global Scholars
PGS 2016: Being Local in a Global World
January 15, 2016 - May 4, 2016
The Presidential Global Scholars program is sponsored by University Honors, the Office of the University President, and Outreach and International Affairs. It exists to provide Virginia Tech honors students with the opportunity to discover their niches in an interconnected society and to empower them to contribute positively to our transforming world.
PGS is designed as a collaborative living-learning community in which ambitious Honors students and award-winning professors work in tandem with the resources and opportunities in Europe and beyond to create an environment that allows the students to better understand the world and what they might accomplish in it.
Our theme for 2016 is Being Local in a Global World - While we live in an interdependent world, some people report negative consequences to globalization and have focused their attention on enhancing and sustaining local resources. Movements related to slow food and slow cities, sustainability, and preserving cultural diversity have become widespread in Europe.
Our theme for the spring 2016 semester abroad will explore issues of globalization and how local efforts may or may not be making a difference in the world.
Join us and…
Learn how to be a global citizen
Modules are hands-on learning experiences taught by award-winning professors from across the Virginia Tech campus.
Topics covered during the semester include Italian Language and Cultures; Global Affairs; Science and the Global World; and Discourse and Global Society.
Experience different cultures
Presidential Global Scholars is not your everyday campus course. It is an immersive cultural experience.
Live the European experience!
Live in the elegant Villa Maderni and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the Swiss Alps, all while discovering the influence of volcanoes in southern Italy, enjoying a boat tour in Lugano, exploring the arts in Florence, or savoring French, Italian, or German foods in the local regions.
Earn course credit
This is an academic program worth 18 credits (15 Honors credits), with possible credit in CLE areas 2, 3, and 7.
Because we are living in a small town in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, students are asked to take at least one semester of Italian studies before spring 2016. This will be offered by the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Virginia Tech. The 3 credit Italian course you will take while at the Steger Center will begin at a second semester, at least.
Our program is blessed to have affiliations with many award-winning faculty from across the university. The 2016 faculty have not been selected yet; they will be similar to professors from past semesters:
- Bob Bodnar (UDP, Geosciences)
- Lay Nam Chang (Dean, College of Science)
- Marie Paretti (Engineering Education)
- Paul Heilker (ATE, Sporn, English)
- Paul Knox (UDP, School of Public and International Affairs)
- Greg Justice (Theater)
- Karen Roberto (Human Development)
Professors who have participated in the past include:
- Daniel Wubah (former VP& Dean of Undergraduate Education)
- Terry Papillon (former Director, University Honors)Virginia Fowler (Professor; Director LLC, English)
- Nikki Giovanni (UDP, English)
- Ilja Luciak (Political Science)
- Ken Stiles (Geography)
Benefits of Study Abroad
Honors students from all majors will benefit from this program. During this experience, students will be challenged to listen, speak, and write, with great vigor and intensity, so that they return to Virginia Tech with a renewed and enlarged sense of what they want to do with their lives.
Studying abroad allows students to:
- Invest in their future
- Gain global and cross-cultural competencies
- Cultivate personal, professional, and intellectual development
- Enhance awareness of self and one's own culture
- Develop self-reliance and problem-solving skills
- Become more confident
- Improve language and cross-cultural interpersonal skills
For the experience of a lifetime
The details of our 2016 schedule is still under construction; however here is a schedule for our spring 2014 semester to give you a sense of what we do during the semester.
All majors welcome!
Students from all majors will benefit from the program. Presidential Global Scholars will better prepare students for their academic and professional careers by enhancing their ability to relate to other cultures and customs, as well as give students a frame of reference of Europe and the global world. There are no prerequisites for this program.
Program Costs / Funding
- VT Spring 2015 Tuition & Fees
- ,Steger Center Room & Board = ~$7,372
- Presidential Global Scholars Program Fee = $3,700 (a $500 travel research stipend will be awarded to all accepted participants)
- Round-trip Airfare = ~$1,000
- Visa / Passport Fees = ~$250
We do not want any student to pass up this exciting study abroad opportunity because of financial reasons. Several scholarships and forms of financial aid may be available to help defer some of the program costs.
- Student will need additional spending money.
- University Honors Presidential Global Scholars grants and Pamplin Leaders scholarships will be available upon application. The 2016 scholarship and interview process will be part of the general PGS application process.
- An allocation of student financial aid is set aside for Steger Center programs. Check with the Education Abroad Office and the University Scholarships and Financial Aid Office for more information.
- Education Abroad also has information regarding internal VT scholarships.
- Be sure to check out external scholarships and funding also, such as the Gilman Scholarship Program.
Apply for the Program
If you are interested in joining the Presidential Global Scholars 2016 program, please complete our online application on the Education Abroad website. If you have any specific questions regarding PGS, please contact Patrick Tunno.
Other Relevant Information
Passport / Visa
As soon as you find out that you are accepted into the program, you will need to apply for a passport, if you do not already have one.
You will also submit a student visa application in fall 2015. We will submit the student visa application as a group mailing.
Fall 2015 PGS Italian Section
In Fall 2015, the 12:20 section of Italian 1105 will be taught by PGS Coordinator, Patrick Tunno. While we strongly encourage PGS students to enroll in this section of Italian, you are welcome to take any section of Italian 1105 that fits your schedule.
Relevant News / Articles
Program allows for immersive European experience for University Honors students - VT News (July 2015)
Photos: 2013 Presidential Global Scholars - VT News (July 2013)
Presidential Global Scholars reflect on first half of education abroad learning experience - VT News (April 2013)
Presidential Global Scholars 2012 - Outreach and Iinternational Affairs (Spring 2012)
University Honors students prepare for the trip of a lifetime - VT News (Dec. 2012)
Univ. Honors Students Encourage Others to Apply for next PGS - VT News (July 2012)
Students to Embark on New Study Abroad Trip - Collegiate Times (Sept. 2011)
Articles Featuring PGS Alumni
Study Abroad provides new perspective for undergraduate student Anusha Rizvi - VT News (Dec. 2013)
Students' Anti-Trafficking Effort Wins National Contest - Virginia Tech Spotlight (Nov. 2013)
Virginia Tech sends first Presidential Fellow to Washington - Innovations (July 2013)
Undergraduate student represents university as its first Presidential Fellow - VT News (April 2013)
Applications for PGS 2016 are due March 1, 2015.
Passport Apps Due:
As soon as you are accepted to the program
Visa Apps Due:
Fall 2015, exact date TBD
- All participants will enroll in a 1-credit pre-travel colloquia in Fall 2015. Exact dates TBD