August 6, 2019
2010 graduate Kelsey Steenburgh still thinks daily of her study abroad experience in Austria over a decade ago. A German major who minored in International Studies, Steenburgh feels her time abroad set her on a “trajectory to work with students and serve as a mentor.” Now employed by VCU’s da Vincii Center, she has crafted a career in higher ed which allows her to “impact students” and use the communication skills she learned at SWS.
Steenburgh describes her year abroad in Grasz, Austria as “the ultimate real world experience.” She “took full advantage” of the opportunity in part by taking all her classes in German so that she became fully fluent by the time she returned to the United States. She also made several “impactful” relationships while abroad and remains in regular contact with those friends. The best benefit of studying abroad, however, was developing greater communication skills by gaining a broader understanding of people and cultures through a global perspective.
Steenburgh pursued other experiential learning opportunities as an undergraduate and continues to work with such programs as the External Affairs Coordinator with the da Vinci Center. As one of our students, she participated in the New Communities Internship course where she worked with ESL populations in local elementary schools. In her current position Steenburgh works closely with experiential learning efforts throughout VCU by coordinating programs, connecting students with mentors and researching funding opportunities.
The ability to “make relationships with other cultures and communities” has proven to be Steenburgh’s greatest takeaway from her time with SWS. She aspires to continue working with the community and making “positive social impact” by supporting “innovative projects” and the people behind them.