Kaitlyn Rule ’19  |   Published February 09, 2016

Seeing the world

Columnas ’14 continues global exploration through exclusive graduate school program
  • Adelaide Columnas is pictured earlier this year in front of the People’s Committee Building in in Ho Chi Minh City.
Adelaide Columnas, a 2014 Monmouth College graduate, recently began an exclusive master’s degree program for international higher education at Loyola University in Chicago.
  With 20 other students from around the world, Columnas is researching how globalizing forces affect higher education and its systems internationally. The two-year program, which includes online and blended courses, examines how political, economic and cultural influences take part in molding education now and in the future, while advocating for social justice, international collaboration and dialogue.   “I believe if it weren’t for Monmouth College, I wouldn’t be where I am now,” said Columnas, who majored in biopsychology and Spanish. She was also an orientation leader and Spanish tutor.   While the students are always in contact to work, learn and share their ideas, they will not meet in-person regularly throughout the program. In January, they met for the first time at one of Loyola’s overseas centers in Vietnam, where they toured universities and participated in discussion panels with professors. Specifically, they explored the universities’ infrastructures, researching how globalization has affected their higher education systems, along with other factors involved. Her team will meet again on Loyola’s Rome campus.   “I love how the program is so versatile,” she said. “I’m able to explore aspects of higher education and really learn what’s involved in the process.”   Along with her cocurricular activities at Monmouth, Columnas developed connections with her professors, who encouraged her to explore her passions and pushed her to succeed. She said it began with biology professor James Godde, who matched her with a three-week research project in Southeast Asia. Her independent study based on that trip was done under the direction of professor of philosophy and religious studies Hannah Schell.   Seeing her student’s love of travel and culture, Schell introduced Columnas to Bren Tooley, Monmouth’s associate dean of academic affairs and director of international recruitment, who gave her insight into the field she’s currently studying and pushed her to study abroad in Spain her senior year. Columnas credits yet another Monmouth faculty member, assistant professor of modern languages, literatures and cultures Germain Badang, for preparing her to study abroad.   “If it weren’t for the experiences and wonderful mentors and advisers at Monmouth, I may not have found what I really wanted to get into,” she said.
  “Ade is brilliantly launched into a rewarding profession, and I am absolutely delighted that she has chosen this career path,” said Tooley, who noted that Columnas joins a Monmouth tradition of accomplished alumni in the field of international education and counseling, including recent Hall of Achievement and Distinguished Alumni award winners Tom Ulmet, David Shawver and Hamzah Kassim, and more recent graduates Travis Coverdell and Luke Devlin, among others.   After Columnas completes the program, she plans to work for a foundation that supports non-profit, grassroots organizations that want to make differences in their communities. She also wants to travel to every continent she can, and has only Australia and Antarctica left on her list.   Columnas advises younger students to be patient in figuring out what they want to study, and when they find what they’re passionate about, to pursue it.
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