This summer, we shine the spotlight on members of the University staff. Read our four-part series here.
From designing fashions and creating lighting design in Italy to conducting clinical work in children’s hospitals in Costa Rica to studying textile development in Scotland, Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University) students are becoming the professionals of the future through international, real-world learning. As manager of international and study away programs, Madeleine Wilcox makes these opportunities happen for students by aligning them with a ubiquitous immersion experience, a core pillar of the University’s Nexus Learning.
Having taught East Asian courses, worked as an immigration rights advocate and studied Chinese and French, Wilcox has the perfect combination of academic and administrative backgrounds for the program. Above all else, she believes that fostering global awareness and a life beyond the textbook are beneficial to the student, and what an education is all about.
Her responsibilities cover a wide gamut of the student studies abroad experience. In the morning, Wilcox may be Skyping with an educational study partner in Europe. By afternoon, she’s counseling and guiding students through the study abroad application process. Later, she’s addressing potential candidates about the program and collaborating with myriad campus departments, which help develop and support programs and options that make sense for the students’ personal, professional and academic experiences. Her responsibilities are dynamic and fast-paced, rarely working on the same project every day.
Her true measure of success is seeing the students upon their return, how they’ve grown personally and academically while broadening their skills and professional knowledge.
One student won an award for an international business model. Architecture students at the program in Rome designed new uses for the city’s Olympic venues, while students in the Costa Rica program for health sciences used their medical knowledge working with patients and families in the local children’s hospital. Other students participated in a parliamentary internship in London, conducted environmental field research in Costa Rica, interned with a startup in China and designed lighting installations for a rock gym in Germany.
Something about the adrenaline rush of independence, coupled with global awareness and international collaboration are what Wilcox believes transforms most students by assisting them in acquiring transferable skills that will be useful in business, as well as life.
“We really must bring the University overseas for the students,” Wilcox explained. “It’s our mission to help students be ready for the changing global work world.”