Professor Sarah Lam (Counselor Education and Rehabilitation) tells a story about a student who came to her for advice about studying abroad. The student, who was living with her family, said the idea of study abroad was scary, but she found the courage to seek Professor Lam’s advice.
Such interactions are at the heart of what Professor Lam is trying to accomplish on our campus. Besides her academic assignment, she serves as the campus coordinator of Global Education,supporting students and faculty in their international studies and research.
At the top of her list of ambitious goals, Professor Lam wants to make study abroad an integral part of the college experience at Fresno State. To achieve this goal, she wants to ensure that all first-year students are aware of the study abroad option and to ease articulation of courses. In addition, she wants to fundraise in the community to help students with financial challenges reach their study abroad goals.
“It hurts my heart to see students not go abroad because of cost,” Professor Lam says.
She also seeks to engage faculty in outreach to students about study abroad, noting, “When faculty have leadership in this, the students will follow.”
Professor Lam knows firsthand that study abroad can be a life-changing experience. She came to Fresno State from Hong Kong to earn a master’s degree in counseling and then continued her studies to earn a doctorate in educational leadership.
“Experience as an international student made me sensitive to working in the international field,” she says.
Professor Lam is motivated by her concern for student success. She believes that study abroad leads to more-engaged students and greater academic success in general. But ultimately, study abroad is about helping students reach their full potential.
Recalling the student who overcame her fear and decided to consider study abroad, Professor Lam says, “The ability to step outside the USA will have tremendous symbolic importance to students, to show how brave they are and that they have goals and dreams and the ability to reach for positions that are higher than they think they can achieve.”
By Hank Delcore (Anthropology)