Infusing leadership and global themes into the Colgate University experience, the Benton Scholars program creates an educational environment that asks students to adopt an informed and critical view of emerging political, cultural, environmental, and economic issues. Just as importantly, scholars are expected to be outwardly focused: to share their insights with people on campus and throughout the global community.

Like many Colgate students, Benton Scholars often choose to study off-campus during their junior year. Unlike others, however, they are expected to stay connected to the program and each other while abroad–sharing their insights, collaborating from different points on the globe–with the goal of bringing different cultural and geo-political perspectives to bear on shared problems.

The Benton Scholars: Abroad blog functions as the locus for this collaboration. Each Monday during the spring semester, students will be sent a brief topic, idea, or problem, one that has resonance throughout the world. Students are then asked to submit a response–preferably a picture, video, or brief essay–which will then be published on this site. Responses need not be obvious: they can be creative, insightful, even clever interpretations of each week’s theme.

Entering its sixth year, we hope The Benton Scholars: Abroad blog will provide unique insight into topics of discussion and issues of concern that we all share in common.

This year’s contributors are immersed in different countries around the world, from Tunisia and Tanzania to England and Argentina. Their profiles are below:

Shannon Duffy ‘21


I am a junior from Vermont studying environmental biology, French, and geography. I spent my fall semester with the School for International Training in Tanzania studying wildlife conservation and political ecology. I spent three and a half months there including 30 days camping in national parks, 3 weeks in a homestay while taking Swahili lessons, and 3 weeks collecting data for an independent study.




Devin Ferri ‘21

United States of America, Vietnam, South Africa, and Argentina


Hey - my name's Devin and I am a junior Benton studying PCON and biology. I found an intersection of these interests in public health. As such I participated in an SIT study abroad program focused on engaging in a comparative study of public health systems between D.C., Hanoi, Cape Town, and Buenos Aires.



Jake Gómez ‘21


I'm a third-year student studying Peace and Conflict Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, and Critical Museum Studies. In the fall of 2019, I lived in Tunisia for about four months and Sicily for one month.



Leila Ismaio ‘21

Jordan and Geneva

Hey my name is Leila Ismaio and I am a junior double majoring in Peace and Conflict Studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. I am from the beautiful swampy land of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This last fall, I studied abroad in Amman, Jordan and Geneva, Switzerland with the School for International Training. Our program theme centered around Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action, particularly tracking the migration of Syrians and current obstacles experienced in countries of resettlement. Excited to share my adventures with you!



Risako Yang ‘21

United Kingdom

Hi! I'm Risako and I'm originally from Palo Alto, California. At Colgate, I'm majoring in English and biology and I'm currently studying at the Queen Mary University of London on an approved program. In the future, I'm interested in pursuing a career in the intersection of strategy, design, and innovation!