Gordon State College Junior Receives GSCF Chafin Smith Scholarship Endowment Fund to Study Abroad

By Karolina Philmon, GSC Marketing Manager

BARNESVILLE, Ga. – Gordon State College’s Joshua McNease, a junior attaining his Bachelor of Science in Management and Administration, is the second Gordon student to spend a semester abroad from the signed agreement with Aberystwyth University. Aberystwyth is located on the coast of west Wales in the United Kingdom.

GSC Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton alongside GSC Assistant Vice President of Innovative Education, Dr. Ric Calhoun have worked on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during fall of 2020 and finalized the agreement in spring of 2021. The MOU outlines an agreement with Aberystwyth to allow GSC students to attend their University for a term as study abroad students and ensure that the students are taking courses that GSC can approve for credit. Aberystwyth is the first international university GSC has a signed agreement.

“I decided to come to Wales because I wanted to do something outside my comfort zone and challenge myself to do more since my time at Gordon is coming to an end. I want to make the best of it,” McNease said. “The best experience I had so far was the first week.I went around town at night, saw the beautiful buildings and a real-life castle. I saw the ocean for the first time in my life and realized this place is one of a kind.”

McNease will be at Aberystwyth during the spring semester of 2022 which begins in January and ends in May. He is the recipient of the GSCF Chafin Smith Scholarship Endowment Fund. His semester is filled with international business courses including Marketing Principals, Contemporary Practice and Principles of Tourism Management and Entrepreneurship, and New Venture Creation. McNease will also be playing for the Aberystwyth Town Football Club.

“The American football team here is very different from the one in the U.S. No one has played ‘real’ football before. They only know what football is by watching NFL or college football on TV,” McNease said. “In America, the game of football is taken serious, not just for the love of the sport but knowing this game can change people's lives forever if they get a shot in the NFL. Here, they don't want to take the game seriously because it will take the love and fun out of the game.”

GSC Professor of Sociology, Dr. Christy Flatt developed a relationship from meetings with a couple of faculty staff at Aberystwyth. She’s proud of the efforts it took to allow McNease the international education experience.

“The ‘high impact practice’ of spending a semester abroad has required extensive work. I am so proud of the faculty, staff and administration who have made Josh’s semester abroad possible,” Flatt said.

The “high impact practice,” or HIP, was designed with an end goal of the acquisition of desired learning outcomes. Such outcomes include knowledge of human cultures and the physical natural world focused on engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring. It also sets intellectual and practical skills with critical thinking that includes teamwork and problem solving. HIP focuses on personal and social responsibility with local and global civic knowledge and engagement. It’s anchored in active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges.

“After an entire semester in Wales studying international business, he will have the Highlander EDGE,” Flatt said.