UNA Pressroom

University Of North Alabama Wins 100,000 Strong Grant For Study Abroad

Dec. 18, 2014

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

Bryan Rachal, University Communications FLORENCE, Ala. - Officials with the University of North Alabama announced today that UNA is the recipient of a $25,000 grant to help fund the school's new innovative study abroad program in Peru. This announcement comes after the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators announced seven new winners of 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund grants for study abroad. 100,000 Strong in the Americas is President Obama's signature education initiative in the Western Hemisphere. The goal of the program is to increase the number of U.S. students studying in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000, and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 by the year 2020. Organizers hope the program enhances hemispheric competitiveness, increases prosperity, and better prepares a globally aware workforce. The current competition, which focuses on promoting health and nutrition in the Western Hemisphere by identifying solutions to help prevent and reduce obesity, is being sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation. The recipients, including UNA, will conduct research on combating obesity linked behavior through physical activity and nutritional education, examining health beliefs and practices that contribute to greater risk of obesity, using technology and other innovative means to maximize cultural awareness and education. Dr. Chunsheng Zhang, senior Vice Provost for International Affairs at UNA, said he's thrilled that UNA won this prestigious grant. "This grant together with other financial contributions by UNA supporters will allow 30 students to participate in the Exercise and Nutritional Science study abroad in Peru in the summer of 2015. In addition, five to ten students from Peru will participate in the Global Studies Certificate Program at UNA in fall 2015." UNA will be partnering with the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola in Peru to focus on the impact of physical activity and proper nutrition in combating obesity linked with negative behavior choices. "This is a result of true team effort and partnership with a strong spirit of collaboration and persistence. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Sodexo UNA for providing a private corporate partner matching fund, the UNA Office of Diversity for providing a matching fund to encourage applications by students of color, and UNA's Advancement Office for providing the lion's share of the matching fund," said Zhang. "I also want to thank my grant writing team members, Dr. Tanja Blackstone and Dr. Craig Christy, for their knowledge of, expertise in, and dedication to writing, revising, and winning the grant. This is the third time we have tried and our persistence finally paid off in creating global learning opportunities for our students," he said. UNA students studying exercise science, nutrition, culinary arts, health promotion and other health related fields are eligible to apply for the special scholarship. Individual scholarships will range from $1,400 to $2,500 based on financial need and academic merit. Applications will be available in January of 2015. For more information on UNA's Office of International Affairs: http://www.una.edu/international/ ### The 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, a public-private collaboration of the White House, the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas and NAFSA: Association of International Educators was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in January 2014. Since then, 38 Innovation Fund grants have been awarded to teams of 109 higher educational institutions from 12 countries in the Western Hemisphere region. The mission of Partners of the Americas is to connect people and organizations across borders to serve and to change lives through lasting partnerships. These partnerships create opportunity, foster understanding, and solve real-life problems. Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. Learn more at www.partners.net or via Twitter @partnersamerica. With nearly 10,000 members, NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world's largest nonprofit professional association dedicated to international education. Learn more about our work at www.nafsa.org and www.connectingourworld.org and on Twitter at @NAFSA and @ConnectOurWorld. Follow the Innovation Fund and the overall initiative on Twitter with the hashtag #100KStrongAmericas.