With a full slate of symposia, workshops, forums and a new course, Global Questions, Global Frameworks, Williams’ inaugural cohort of 12 Global Scholars hit the ground running in the fall.
Over the next three years, the sophomores (who were selected last spring) will take a Winter Study travel course, fulfill foreign language requirements and participate in summer internships and independent study projects. As they move through the rigorous program, each student will have the support of a faculty member, two alumni mentors and a Williams senior to provide guidance on coursework, travel opportunities, managing life-work balance and future career goals.
Global Scholars Director Magnús T. Bernhardsson worked with staff in the Office of Alumni Engagement and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration to pair each student with alumni mentors based on shared interests and experiences.
“I had extensive conversations with each of the scholars to get to know their academic interests, particular areas of the world that they would like to explore, and how and what their dreams and hopes for the future look like,” says Bernhardsson, the Brown Professor of History and chair of Global Studies.
Students’ interests crisscross the academic disciplines, and their future goals include everything from attending medical school to solving aquatic pollution issues to studying developmental economics.
Sarah Wang ’26, a prospective history major with an interest in reparations and refugee belonging, says her alumni mentors have already been “extremely helpful in offering advice both in regards to my academic experience at Williams as well as future career goals.” She was paired with Narah Moon ’14, an attorney advisor with the U.S. Department of Justice in the Chicago area, and Sarah Corstange ’05, an immigration lawyer in New York.
“Beyond being so warm and welcoming, I was relieved by how willing they were to share their personal and professional uncertainties throughout the years after Williams,” Wang says. “As someone who hopes to pursue law school, I found it reassuring that I was able to be matched with such understanding and knowledgeable mentors.”
Among other activities the Global Scholars have participated in this semester is a salon at the President’s House. Elizabeth “Betsy” Andersen ’87, a member of the college’s Board of Trustees and the executive director of the World Justice Project, spoke about her involvement in international law processes. Joel Hellman ’84 discussed the significance of global governance and political economy, his experiences of his 15-year service at the World Bank and the importance of his role as dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Taylah Pickering ’26 described the atmosphere at the salon as “contagious” in a write-up for the Global Scholars website. It was “an excellent opportunity to share past and current experiences, explore future plans and make connections with people who may not have the chance to personally interact with one another.”
In Global Questions, Global Frameworks, the students are examining how the economic, cultural and socio-political impacts of the process of globalization have been studied and grappled with in the Global Studies Program, says Brahim El Guabli, chair and associate professor of Arabic studies, and the course instructor. He adds, “Students are also studying a wide range of materials that help them examine how globalization has unfolded and made an impact on different fields.”
In the spring semester, the students will plan their summer research and activities, and host a conference including students from other colleges and universities who also engage in global research. The conference is an opportunity to showcase their research projects and share insights into their experiences, Bernhardsson says. The students will also welcome and help support the next cohort of Global Scholars, who will be selected later in the semester.
Above: The inaugural cohort of Global Scholars.