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Academic Leadership

Since 2004, the Global Scholars program has provided a select group of extraordinary students opportunities for extra-curricular intellectual enrichment, including monthly lectures, special speaker series, and cultural events, which engage them in important scholarly dialogue about global issues.

The Global Scholars experience incorporates research, travel, and study abroad opportunities. In the concluding year of their scholarship, all Global Scholars create and defend an in-depth independent Capstone Project concerning a global issue, culminating in a public presentation of their work.

Global Scholars receive:

  • Up to $3,000 per year toward WMA-sponsored international travel; limit of two trips during tenure as Global Scholar
  • Monthly lecture opportunities and cultural events to foster dialogue of global issues, and Senior Research Project
  • Travel benefits: Student travel is carefully designed by faculty members at the Academy to include an educational component as well as a spirit of adventure.

To be considered for the Global Scholars program, candidates must have demonstrated excellence in the following areas:

  • Academic achievement, with a GPA of 3.5 or greater
  • Awareness of global issues and the concept of global leadership
  • Moral force of character
  • Capacity to lead and motivate fellow students
  • Participation in activities beyond the classroom

The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts, panel discussion on "The Refugee Experience in Western Massachusetts"

Springfield Public Forum, Adam Minter "Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion Dollar Trash Trade"

The World Affairs of Western Massachusetts, lecture by journalist and author Okey Ndibe "Does Nigeria Have a Fighting Chance Against Boko Haram?"

Springfield Public Forum, John Hunter "BluePrint for Peace"

Mt. Holyoke Global Resident in Scholar lecture "Women's Leadership: Ending Wars and Building Peace"

Springfield Public Forum, Edith Widder "Light in the Dark of the Depth"

Springfield Public Forum, Fredrik Logevall "Embers of War, The Fall of an Empire in the Making of America's Vietnam"

Springfield Public Forum, Meet the Author breakout student session and lecture with Michael Moss, author of "Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us"

World Affairs Council Annual Dinner, lecture by Ambassador Marc Grossman, former U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan & Pakistan

Lecture, Mt. Holyoke College Global Scholar in Residence Olga Speranskaya "Toxic-Free Future: Health and Environmental Justice for Chemical Safety"

Dinner at WMA with Dr. Xiangming Chen, Dean and Director of the Center for Urban and Global Studies at Trinity College

Springfield Public Forum, Isabel Wilkerson "The Warmth of Other Suns: Journeys of the Great Migration"

Springfield Public Forum, Senator Olympia Snowe, "Fighting for Common Ground: Fixing the Stalemate in Congress"

Springfield Public Forum, Sherry Turkle "Alone Together, The Flight from Conversation"

Global Scholar Holiday Dinner, Sharing our Cultures

Visit Wellesley College Art Museum

Past Capstone Projects

Global Awareness Through Community Service Travel

Since I returned from China two years ago, people have constantly asked me the question, “Why would you prefer to go to the middle of nowhere where there’s no internet, proper toilets, or hotels without proper beds?” This question, which I myself would have asked before I returned from China, is an indicator that the asker does not have a proper global competency or global awareness, therefore the asker is not a global citizen. So what does it mean to be a global citizen? Ron Israel, founder of The Global Citizens’ Initiative says that “A global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and practices.” In my thesis, I will be delving further into global competency and awareness, specifically the development of global awareness through community service travel.

Read Andrew's full project

Watch Andrew's Capstone video



What Is Beauty: A Comparative Study

The topic that I have chosen to research is the various definitions of beauty in different countries around the world. This idea stemmed from my recent trip to China where we visited a branch of the cosmetic company Mary Kay. Here, we were introduced to a popular product in China that whitened skin, which was such a vast difference from the U.S. where a sun-kissed bronze hue is the coveted skin tone for many people.

Some questions that I hope to answer while exploring this topic are: How does the concept of beauty reflect the values of a culture? How does the idea of beauty change over time in a particular place? How does the idea of beauty reflect the history and economy of a particular place? What are some similarities and differences between what is considered beautiful in the east and what is considered beautiful in the west? Why do people in a particular place define beauty in the way that they do?

Read Carolyn's full project

Watch Carolyn's Capstone video



Global Leaders, a sister program to Global Scholars is a rigorous opt-in program focused on fulfilling the Academy’s mission of creating global citizens and leaders through cumulative tests of leadership skills. The Global Leaders program provides motivated students a program choice for which they are neither elected nor selected.

Through a series of cumulative tasks and levels, students work toward achievement of leadership skill sets. These skill sets align with our core values: innovate, investigate, integrate, and interact. Students may enter the track at any time prior to the start of the second term of their Junior Year and complete the tasks at their own pace by their graduation.

Challenges are established so that students can complete the expedition in two years if they are diligent, perseverant and resilient. Upon completion of the expedition the student will receive up to $3,000 toward a school-sponsored trip and a special designation on their diploma.

Participants are required to declare their commitment to the program, maintain a GPA of 3.0, and remain in good social standing.

A student may enter the program at anytime prior to the start of the second term of their Junior Year with completion of the following tasks:

  • Introductory Seminar
  • Personal declaration
  • Permission from the Program Advisory Committee

If an Candidate's GPA drops below a 3.0 or their conduct is brought into question, then the Candidate will appear before the advisory panel. The panel will then determine if the Candidate will be allowed to remain in the program, if they are suspended from the program, or if they must leave the program.

Global Scholars College Matriculation


  • Amherst College
  • Brown University
  • Cornell University
  • Emory University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • New York University
  • Princeton University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Wake Forest University
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