Kaela Coles has become Wayne Community College’s first “Global Distinction” graduate.
Coles earned the distinction by completing “globally intensive” courses; participating in international activities and dialogues; gaining global experiences; and completing a capstone presentation.
“Those components are designed to work together to provide opportunities for students to investigate, research, act, reflect and then communicate their experience to the community,” said Allyson Daly, one of two coordinators for WCC’s Scholars of Global Distinction program.
In her capstone presentation, “A Love Deeper Than Religion,” Coles recounted her experience of participating in the wedding of Asra, a Muslim native of Pakistan, and Donald, a Christian American, and interviewing the couple.
The two brought specific traditions from their backgrounds as well as other global touches to the event. “Two different faiths were able to be celebrated as one,” Coles said, and they were able to reflect their shared love of international travel.
Coles also noted that the couple is able to bridge differences because “they have built a foundation on communication.”
The wedding’s timing was fortunate for Coles who was in her last semester at WCC and working to complete all requirements for the notation. “I’m in the midst of all these global classes and I get to experience this!” she said.
“I learned a lot personally and academically,” Coles said of the program which “helped us advance in our global intelligence.”
“I’ve become aware of things around me. I used to be in a little bubble,” Coles said.
Some of the activities she participated in were a discussion of the movie “Lion King” with global scholars, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival in Cary, a presentation on underground churches, and a homelessness in Egypt project.
“I felt a tugging to be a part of the Global Scholars group. I didn’t do it last year and when it popped up this time, I jumped,” she said.
“She did the impossible. She did everything and did it in one semester,” said Daly.
“How she does it, I’m not sure, but she did it with grace,” said Coordinator Andrea Freile Ogburn. “I’m not ready to see her go.”
Coles graduated with honors from WCC with her associate in arts degree in December.
After a break from studying for a few months, she plans to major in Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Coles is a 2019 graduate of Eastern Wayne High School. In addition to being a student, she is a professional actress and singer.
WCC’s Scholars of Global Distinction Program provides students the global competencies and skills needed for an increasingly diverse workforce by instilling an understanding of global cultural, political, and historical information.
“We are so passionate because the program is structured to build on a foundation of academic learning, to move students into real world problem solving, to engage with the community and, if possible, to engage in the world beyond,” Daly said of the program.
“We are excited to see our students transform and be empowered to find purpose in their learning. True education shakes apathy into action, and the NC Scholar for Global Distinction Program adds another pathway for our students to engage in active, real-world inquiry,” said Daly.
Those who complete program requirements have “Graduated with Global Distinction” printed on their transcripts.
About the NC Scholar of Global Distinction Program
The North Carolina Scholar of Global Distinction Program, which WCC joined in 2020, is a partnership between community colleges in North Carolina and World View, a public service program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Thirty of the state’s 58 community colleges offer the program.
Partner community colleges develop and offer globally intensive courses and activities. UNC World View mobilizes the international resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help the colleges create truly global campuses. It is a national model for university-community college collaboration in global learning.