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Biology/Psychology student adds world traveler to her list of accomplishments

This summer, biology health science and psychology student Haley Coleman embarked upon a study trip to China as one of 20 students in the U.S. selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Walking on top of the Great Wall of China was the moment Haley felt an awakening. She realized how monumental it was for her to be there. After her two weeks abroad, she can talk at length about the collectivist culture, intriguing philosophy, and robust economy in China. Haley described the people she met throughout the China as humble, smart, charming and warm-hearted.

“I’ve seen this once unfamiliar country in a new perspective,” said Haley. “A view that is completely divergent from the ideas of my family and friends in the United States…a story that I can share with my friends and family in Milwaukee.”

This summer, biology health science and psychology student Haley Coleman embarked upon a study abroad trip to China as one of 20 students in the U.S. selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

But her big takeaway is self-awareness. While she went as a student, mindful of her role as an ambassador, the experience revealed a new side of her: a traveler and explorer at heart.

According to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s website, this study abroad experience “aims to promote African Americans’ interest in career and study options involving US-China relations, thereby expanding opportunities for African Americans in an era of increasing globalization.”

Watch Haley's 4 minute video sharing the real story of China:

The China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation simultaneously worked together to plan many aspects of the delegation’s trip. The program has a focus on STEM and business fields. During her two weeks abroad, Haley and the 19 other students participated in classroom discussions about topics ranging from Chinese history and culture, US-China relations and Chinese economic development at China’s prestigious Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) and Fudan University. She also attended excursions across Beijing and Shanghai to the Forbidden City, the Yonghe Lama and Confucius Temple, Tiananmen Square, the Pearl Tower, and the Imperial Academy.

One of the most empowering aspects of the trip for Haley was “seeing 19 other African-American students excelling and loving to learn.” According to a recent study by the Institute of International Education, only 5% of American students who study abroad are Black. At Mount Mary University, nearly 20 percent of students study abroad for a summer, semester or year. Haley exhorted that it took courage to embark on this adventure and accept things that are different from what she knew.

Haley, also a Caroline Scholar at Mount Mary University, has been actively involved in community service learning since freshman year, completing 600 hours thus far. Previously, she has volunteered at Pathfinders, a homeless shelter on the East Side; the YMCA Black Achiever’s Program, an academic and achievement development initiative for teens of color; and at Aurora St. Luke’s Hospital Elder Life Program where she worked with elderly patients with delirium. Haley aspires to go to medical school, continue to embed psychology into her studies, and work with youth populations. She wants to always carry two traits of herself from her time in China – the willingness to embrace a new culture and a collaborative approach to her STEM studies.

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