Thursday, October 25, 2012

Global Students, Local Connections

It's no secret that I have long been outnumbered by the women in my life. Marsha and I were blessed with our two daughters, Rachel and Hannah, and our granddaughter, Linley.

Tuesday's lunch meeting was no exception when I had the pleasure of introducing four of our international students to the women of the Zonta Club of Longview.

Zonta International is a global organization of executives and professionals working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy.

I was pleased to tell the group that since I have been at LETU, we have elected the first woman chair of our Board of Directors and have hired our first woman engineering professor and our first woman aeronautical science professor.

I was also pleased to tell these women that this fall we have doubled the number of international students and that they hail from places as far away as South Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, Togo and Sri Lanka. Attracting more international students is one way we provide a rich educational experience for our campus, but also for the Longview community.

Speaking to the group on Tuesday were four of our students from across the globe.

Miriam is from Kenya and is in our aeronautical science program. She told the group that she wants to encourage women in her country to be aircraft mechanics and pilots to open doors for other women to follow.

Jane is a finance major from Vietnam. She hopes to advance the economic system in her country when she returns after college.

Hope is from China and is studying civil engineering. She knows that since she was the second child, she is a miracle baby who was allowed to survive despite the "one child" policy in her home country. She shared her concern that suicide is the number one cause of death for women in China.

Hanna is from South Korea studying to earn a certificate to teach English. She talked about how she has learned about special education and the importance of inclusion for students.

It was a joy to share these women with Longview. Every great city needs a great university, and for Longview, that university is LeTourneau University.