Logo Loading

About the Global Student Leadership Summit

The Global Student Leadership Summit (GSLS) is the premier leadership conference for students from diverse backgrounds who have participated in study abroad or other international programs. The 5th annual summit will attract dozens of diverse and underrepresented students from colleges and universities nationwide with a simple goal: to develop the skills essential to being a successful leader in a global society. Students will participate in hands-on student leadership sessions, engage in critical dialogue centered on self-reflection and identity, establish and maintain relationships with like-minded student leaders, and connect with professionals from higher education, the public sphere, and private sector. Participation in the GSLS will help students’ strengthen their leadership and develop global competencies including self-awareness, communication, team building, embracing diversity and difference, and more.


The Global Student Leadership Summit is an opportunity for emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in professional development workshops to enhance their career readiness by learning how to articulate and leverage their international experience for career and graduate opportunities. Students will share their international experiences with education abroad and diversity professionals in attendance at the conference and discover new career possibilities that would benefit from their global experiences through sponsored panels and information sessions. At the same time, GSLS participants will develop awareness of diversity and inclusion especially as it relates to leadership in a global society and consider solutions to global issues through workshops and case studies. Through networking and community-building activities, students will experience meaningful interactions with student leaders from a variety of different colleges and universities.


  • Empower student leaders to realize the skills necessary to make an impact on their campuses and in their career.
  • Enrich student understanding of international experience through critical reflection and structured engagement on topics such as identity, social justice, inclusion and access, and leadership
  • Encourage students to network with other student leaders and professionals and explore ways to apply their international experience to various career, post-graduate, and academic opportunities
  • Energize students to harness their global experiences to make real change on their campus, in their communities and in the world


We seek GSLS participants who reflect the diverse nature of international experience. Institutions are particularly encouraged to register students who identify with one or more of the following historically underrepresented populations: first-generation, racial/ethnic minority, those with disabilities, high financial need, LGBTQ+, and others not named. While not required to submit separate materials to “apply” to the GSLS, we do ask that nominating institutions identify students who:

  • Exhibit exceptional leadership potential
  • Are engaged in the campus community
  • Are able to speak thoughtfully about their experience abroad
  • Will be able to engage in and contribute to the sessions and discussions throughout the GSLS
  • Are likely to utilize what they’ve gained from the summit and share with the campus community upon their return
  • Have a GPA of a 3.0 or higher


Estimated travel costs include flight/car to Boston, MA, single or double occupancy at the conference hotel, and meals not included in conference registration fee. Students are encouraged to coordinate with their study abroad/education abroad office to participate in the GSLS. A limited number of travel stipends will be available. Students who are registered before the early-bird deadline (January 11) will be considered. 



Students and nominating offices are responsible for confirming lodging at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Students interested in sharing a room can indicate this on the registration form and relevant contact details will be added to a list shared with other interested students; however, students are responsible for communicating with potential roommates, reserving the room, and managing payment.


12:00-5:00pmRegistration Open
Welcome & Pre-Conference Kick-Off

Welcome to The Global Student Leadership Summit! This session is an opportunity to get to know the GSLS team and students present at the conference, set expectations, craft individual and community goals and prepare for the upcoming sessions/review logistics. This will be the first gathering directly before the GSLS keynote and opening reception.

The Global Student Leadership Planning Committee

5:30-6:30pmKeynote Address
6:30-8:00pmGSLS Opening Reception

7:30am-12:00pmRegistration Open
9:00-9:15amBrief Opening Remarks
Critical Conversations on Personal Identity in Education Abroad (Pt.1)

Understanding identity and how it has impacted a students’ global experience is essential to being able to leverage those experiences for leadership and career readiness. Day 1 of GSLS will focus on diving deep into critical conversations. The morning will provide a safe space for critical reflection on outcomes of international experience and the impact students’ diverse identities had on that experience, examine identity in relationship to international experience, and unpack moments of challenge and triumph abroad.

Neal McKinney, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs - DePauw University
Jacquis Watters, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Social Justice Programs - Columbia University

*Additional Presenters will join to explore expert area topics throughout the workshop

Critical Conversations on Personal Identity in Education Abroad (Pt.2)

Understanding identity and how it has impacted a students’ global experience is essential to being able to leverage those experiences for leadership and career readiness. Day 1 of GSLS will focus on diving deep into critical conversations. The morning will provide a safe space for critical reflection on outcomes of international experience and the impact students’ diverse identities had on that experience, examine identity in relationship to international experience, and unpack moments of challenge and triumph abroad.

Neal McKinney, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs - DePauw University
Jacquis Watters, Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Social Justice Programs - Columbia University

*Additional Presenters will join to explore expert area topics throughout the workshop

12:30-1:30pmLunch (on your own)
Critical Conversations on Leadership Identity in Education Abroad

In complement to the morning, this afternoon session will introduce the concepts of leadership identity and provide space for participants to establish their own leadership potential. Participants will examine the relationship between international experience and leadership, using diverse identities as a lens.

Chelsea Kindred, Director of Alumni Development and Research

Kyle Keith, International Programs Coordinator - North Carolina State University

4:15 - 4:45pm
Internationalize Your Education & Future as a High School Student (Closed Event)

This session introduces the benefits of global opportunities available to local high school students in the Boston area. Diversity Abroad believes it is so important for more diverse and underserved students in the U.S. to pursue opportunities such as studying, interning, or volunteering abroad. Students are invited to explore the many reasons why global learning is beneficial for everyone, and the ways they can get started even at the high school level.


Rebecca Leblond, Director - Democracy Prep Public Schools, Global Citizens Program

Karen Ross, Program Officer - The Experiment in International Living

Bailey Lee, Program Manager - University of Arizona

Joelle Tolifero, Associate Director of Student Services - Diversity Abroad

5:00-7:00pmWelcome & Innovation Competition
7:15-8:45pmOpening Reception

8:00-9:00amOptional: Resume Review Power Hour
Code Switching in the Workforce: Impact, Challenges, and Opportunities

Participants will work with facilitators to examine the impact of diverse identities in the workplace and explore the barriers, challenges, and opportunities in traditional hiring practices. Presenters will introduce concepts of traditional hiring, including how to utilize networking events, like the career fair later in the day, to build a network of champions who will help them leverage their identity, global experience, and leadership.


Joseph Granado, Associate Director Student Activities & Leadership
 -Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Tasha N. Coppett, Assistant Director, Graduate and Off Campus Housing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


Maximizing Your Skillset: Elevator Pitches, Interviews, and Leveling Up

During this session the goal is for participants to define their international experience outcomes within a career advancement context. Presenters will provide a space for students to craft an international experience elevator pitch and identify skills they earned or strengthened during their time abroad in order to develop their global brand, as well as practice networking/interviewing/resume writing where international experience is emphasized.

Angela Manginelli, Director of Alumni and Diversity Initiatives, AIFS

12:00 - 1:30pmLunch (on your own)
1:30 - 1:40pmGroup Photo on Stage
Beyond Hard Skills: Career Panel and Networking Preparation Tips

Panelists will share professional trajectories, their first jobs after graduation, and provide direction for students seeking to enter the workforce with newfound skills developed during international experience. Prepared questions from the moderator will cover the topics of networking preparation, identity in the workforce, and what they look for in a job candidate beyond hard skills.

Bri Ard, Interim Director of International Education & Study Abroad, University of South Alabama

To Be Determined

2:15-3:30pmPoster Community
Diversifying Study Abroad Through Innovative Programming

How do you diversify your study abroad participants? Diversify your program model offerings! Learn about Arizona State University's Global Intensive Experiences and St. John's University's Global Passport Program, which use short-term embedded experience models to open up study abroad to diverse student groups. Presenters will describe the program models, share growth and contribution to increasing diverse student participation, and present both the steps taken to create them and the vision of where they are headed.


Kimberly Bellows: Arizona State University

Gregory Bruhn: St. John's University

Connecting TRIO Students to Education Abroad

This is a poster board presentation designed to provide introductory information about TRIO students and connecting them to opportunities for education abroad. This poster presentation will cover topics about TRIO programs, barriers, strengths, and ways to better collaborate between TRIO and education abroad. Finally, the presentation will provide an overview of TRIO and education abroad relationships within the PAC-12.


Eric Boscan: University of Utah

Maria Baldwin: University of Utah

Innovative Higher Education Funding Models for Internships and Research Abroad

This session will showcase funding models used to support international internship/research placements at the University of Pennsylvania.  Sliding-scale models at both institutions are used to support first-generation, low-income, and STEM students from a variety of backgrounds.  A deep dive into University of Pennsylvania's programs will show how they have been able to support diverse students in these experiences, despite the unpaid nature of these placements and high cost of living in many cities.


Jillian Cener: University of Pennsylvania

Partnerships and Programs to Reduce Financial Barriers to Study Abroad

Campus collaborations and access-oriented programming are crucial to reducing financial barriers to studying abroad. In this session, participants will learn about some successful partnerships, programs, and tools that the University of Texas at Austin has utilized to increase access to study abroad for high-need students. Additionally, this session will include a group discussion exploring successful methods to develop strategic partnerships that support financial access for underrepresented student populations and encourage equitable funding allocation models.


Amy Exah: University of Texas at Austin

Kate Osmond: University of Texas at Austin

Thuy Nguyen: University of Texas at Austin

Empowering On-Site Faculty and Staff to Support Diverse Students

On many of our campuses, diversity and inclusion are central to the institution's mission and values. We may even have staff or whole offices dedicated to these values. But how can we support diversity and inclusion thousands of miles away from the home campus, on-site on our programs abroad? One consortium-administered European program has benefited from a collaboration among on-campus faculty and staff, on-site administration, and the Diversity Abroad organization.


Emily Gorlewski: Wesleyan University

Malaika Marable Serrano: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Diversity Within Cohorts: Exploring Identity and Context in Education Abroad

Cohort-based programs provide a unique opportunity to harness the diversity of the group as a learning platform for identity and intercultural competence development. While engagement with the host community is a common design element for education abroad, this session will introduce models and activities for enriching identity exploration and cross-cultural engagement within the cohort itself.


Maren Haas: University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Lorien Romito: Babson College

Promoting Equitable and Collaborative Global Learning Experiences for Diverse Students

Nepal: Community, Technology and Sustainability is a new program that engages culturally diverse, multidisciplinary cohorts of UC Davis and Nepalese university students in collaborative global learning. A fall seminar coupled with a winter intersession format allows for study away experiences with no additional tuition costs accessible to low-income students, transfer students, international students, and student-athletes. This session will share lessons learned for engaging highly diverse, underserved student populations in international and collaborative learning experiences.


Jonathan London: UC Davis, Department of Human Ecology

Nancy Erbstein: UC Davis

Global Education Program in Colombia: Visibilizar as (Trans)National Peace Process

Through making documentary videos, our global education program engages U.S. and Colombian college students and community members in radical listening as part of Colombia’s National Peace Process. We discuss how and why students, professors, government leaders and lawyers crafted videos for the last 11 years with community leaders who built their neighborhoods with their own hands after being displaced by war. We discuss community leaders’ roles as teachers of resilience and social justice.


Tamera Marko: Emerson College & Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellín

Luis Serna: Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Ena Coro Gonzalez Ospina: Manantiales de Paz

Claudia Milena Zuluaga: Manantiales de Paz

Multiplying Impact in K12 and Beyond: NSLI-Y Alumni Re-entry Strategies

As one of the largest scholarship programs for high school study abroad, how has NSLI-Y impacted U.S. classrooms and communities? This poster presentation will highlight key findings of a recent longitudinal study examining the academic, professional, and community impact of study abroad. In an effort to multiply the impact, the poster will share NSLI-Y's cost effective strategies to support alumni in re-entry, but also to foster global engagement with their diverse peer groups.


Emily Matts Henry: American Councils for International Education

Anna Stewart: American Councils for International Education

My Mama Said: "You Can't Study Abroad"

Family support (emotional and financial) is one of the most important considerations for students of color as they prepare to go abroad. This means we're not just recruiting the students, we're recruiting their families as well. By the end of this session, participants will be able to devise strategies for effectively connecting with and advising parents, as well as creating partnerships with various offices on campus that expand parents' likelihood to champion students' experiences abroad.


Melissa Newton: Emerson College

Kandice Rose: IES Abroad

Marcus King: Prairie View A&M University

Proactive Encouragement and Support for LGBTQ Students in Study Abroad

By examining Massachusetts' institutions' current practices on supporting LGBTQ students in study abroad, this study aims to contribute practice-based knowledge into the scholarship of inclusion of LGBTQ students in international education. Based on examination of current progress, practitioner's experience and their perspectives, the study raises the further improvements for both home (sending) institutions and host (receiving) institutions to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students to participate in programs abroad.


Nahoko Nishiwaki: Kansai University

Benefits of Sending Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds to Non-Traditional Destinations

Promoting non-traditional destinations in Latin America, Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, will allow us to send more financial need students abroad, fostering inclusive global education opportunities across student demographics. These destinations are more economical due to low cost of living and typically have more scholarship opportunities available. This session will discuss how promoting non-traditional destinations is key to sending more students abroad while creating a learning experience for the students and local community alike.


Danielle Ortiz-Geis: The Intern Group

Internationalization, Privatization and Marginalization: The Equity Imperative in International Education

Scholarship on international student mobilities often draws on economic rationalism to interpret institutional and individual motivations. Often, these perspectives reinforce the dominance of marketization and privatization, with unexplored implications for the marginalization of students from minoritized backgrounds. Drawing on critical perspectives, this session will explore alternative approaches to international students' support, transnational pedagogies, and global engagement that seek to democratize choices and outcomes for students.


Asabe Poloma: Brown University - Providence, RI

Debajo del Mismo Cielo: Advancing Learning Abroad for First-Generation Students

For first-generation Latino high school students, there exist many "firsts" such as traveling on a plane or even just leaving Los Angeles. Started in 2007, Intercambio has supported diverse student populations with opportunities to learn, live and serve in South American countries through strategic educational partnerships with other Jesuit Secondary Schools. Using a participatory documentarian approach and a methodology of testimonios, this session will share stories of three first-generation Latino students on their Intercambio experience.


Daniel Annarelli: Loyola High School of Los Angeles

Creating Pipelines for a Diverse Healthcare Workforce through Strategic Partnerships

Needed: A Diverse healthcare workforce, domestically and around the globe! Explore Global Health Immersion program models and community engagement strategies that appeal to "underrepresented" students and join fellow participants in charting a path forward to identify barriers and expand access.


Moira Rogers: Child Family Health International

Yvette Flores: University of California, Davis

Student Athletes Abroad: Academic and Leadership Opportunities

Creating global opportunities for student athletes, whether Division I, II or III,requires partnership, patience and creativity. Whether leaping over eligibility hurdles, training expectations, academic requirements, or understanding opportunities, developing a solid partnership is important. One might even say that both team work and good game plans are essential! This session will help attendees understand the barriers for athletes to participating in abroad experiences and give examples of ways to work creatively to overcome those barriers.


Ellen Sayles: University of Richmond

Courtney Hughes: University of Richmond

"Experience Globally, Act Locally:" Study Abroad for Minority University Students

Nationally, less than 30% of study abroad students are minorities with only 10% of Hispanic students having this experience. How can we change this? Our minority-serving state university developed a 2-week study abroad course addressing barriers limiting disadvantaged students while providing them with relevant healthcare experience. Partnering with a university in Thailand, our primarily first-generation, Hispanic students experience urban Bangkok life and then head to rural villages to experience homestays. Feedback is overwhelming positive!


Archana More Sharma: California State University Dominguez Hills

Ramping Up Access: Addressing Barriers to Education Abroad for Students with Disabilities

This poster session will educate about The Amandla Project, an innovative internship/experiential learning and leadership development fellowship program that aims to increase participation of disabled students in the pursuit of educational opportunities abroad. This session will not only address the unique aspects and experiences offered by the Amandla Project, but will also shed light on barriers faced by disabled students in education abroad.


Alexander Stone: The Amandla Project

Rethinking the Education Abroad Hiring Pipeline

Diversity Abroad’s recent Survey of Diversity & Inclusion Among International Educators demographic survey showed that while demographics of international education professional differ significantly across institutions, overall 79% of professionals identified as women and 71% as white. As the student demographic continues to becomes more ethnically, racially, economically, and otherwise diverse, having international education professionals who can relate to diverse student identities is critical. This poster shares findings from the survey, recommendation for organizations and offices to recruit from a more diverse pool of applicants through critical consideration of job requirements and how position descriptions are written, strategies for getting the word out and recruiting a more diverse pool of candidates, and how to retain diverse employees over time.


Lauren Collins: University of Denver

Alisha Stanton: University of Denver

AIDE Roadmap - Health and Safety Considerations for Diverse Students

Health and safety are critical components of education abroad (pre-departure planning and preparation, in-country, and upon re-entry). Considerations for diverse students are essential when developing inclusive health and safety policies and procedures. This poster will provide participants with the tools, knowledge, and insight to create or enhance their education abroad health and safety protocols and practices to enhance student support for diverse students.


Erica Ledesma: Diversity Abroad

Global Student Leadership Career Event

Organizations, institutions, and service-providers will gather in order to provide a space for participants in GSLS to engage in networking, pitch practice, and make connections for future job opportunities. Representatives will be present from a variety of career fields and will be available to interact with students. This is an opportunity for all students to gain valuable networking skills and practice interacting with professionals after engaging in career development throughout the day.

5:30-7:30pmAwards Gala & Dinner

7:45-9:00amBreakfast Table Conversations & Gilman Top Producer Announcement
9:05-10:05amPlenary Session with Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.
“War for Talent” - Bridging the Skills Gap

In this session, we will hear directly from Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. on why a diverse and inclusive workforce is important and what role education can play in closing the skills gap.


Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President & CEO, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

11:30am - 12:30pm
Conference Reflections: Major Takeaways and Action Plan

The Global Student Leadership Summit is a space for reflection and growth and part of engaging in a learning experience like GSLS is being able to process and debrief individually and with your peers. This session will provide a space for conference reflections including a written evaluation to center students’ thoughts before a guided discussion. Discussion will center around previous sessions, engagement with the larger Diversity Abroad Conference, how we as a community met our shared goals/expectations, and how we will act to increase Diversity in global education moving forward after engaging in this experience.  


Chelsea Kindred, Director of Alumni Development and Research

Joelle Tolifero, Associate Director, Student Services, Diversity Abroad

Neal McKinney, Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs, DePauw University

12:45-2:15pmLunch & Student Panel
2:45 - 4:00 pm
More than Paying it Forward: Making an Impact on your Campus and Beyond

There is an inherent expectation of students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who have gone abroad to talk to their friends and family about their experience, whether it’s in a formal position with the study abroad office or in informal conversations with peers. It’s helpful for all students to share their experience abroad, but especially for diverse students since other students on campus “like you” may not know how to start the process of going abroad, how to take advantage of coursework in their major that’s taught abroad, or what the benefits of study abroad might be.

This session will help students think about ways to talk about study abroad and workshop innovative ideas to engage new populations of underrepresented students. Students will have a chance to pitch their designs in front of other participants to gain feedback and collaborate to implement new concepts once they return to their respective campuses and communities.

Joelle Tolifero, Associate Director, Diversity Abroad
Senait Chrisostomo, Program Coordinator, Diversity Abroad


Universities and study abroad program providers are encouraged to register promising students to attend the Global Student Leadership Summit. Nominating organizations are responsible for the registration fees of their nominated students, and are encouraged to confirm the student’s ability to participate prior to completing the online form.

To register a student, please complete the online registration form linked below. By submitting a registration for a student to the GSLS, you are committing to receiving updates from Diversity Abroad Conference organizers. Please provide your own contact information during the registration process.

Please reference the required registration materials — including an essay — prior to submitting the form. NOTE: Student nominations act as conference registrations & will be automatically approved. Please only register students confirmed to attend the Global Student Leadership Summit. Evening receptions, lunch & dinner on Monday, lunch on Tuesday, and coffee breaks are included in the student registration. Registration Fees are as follows: