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State Department IDEAS Program awards Marshall grant to build study abroad capacity 


Marshall University along with BridgeValley Community and Technical College have been awarded a joint grant of $50,000 with the focus of creating a study abroad consortium for Marshall and BridgeValley students. It’s one of 37 grants awarded this year that will help establish, expand and broaden American student mobility overseas in support of U.S. foreign policy goals.  

The unique program will expand educational opportunities abroad for West Virginia students, with a special focus in the STEM Fields. The project will establish a faculty-led study abroad program in Ireland for both Marshall and BridgeValley, set to take place in the summer of 2025. The initiative will increase the capacity for both schools, but also pave the way for more innovative study abroad programs in the future.


The consortium’s primary goal is to enhance access to short-term study abroad programs and bolster the education abroad support system at Marshall and BridgeValley. The principal investigator on the grant, is Dr. Zelideth Maria Rivas, assistant provost for global education, in the academic affairs office.


“Marshall University is excited to enter into this study abroad partnership with BridgeValley,” Rivas said. “While Marshall continues offering study abroad options for students, this will be the first study abroad opportunity to Ireland. Our collaboration with Dundalk Institute of Technology will emphasize Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, preparing students to enter an increasingly global workforce. Marshall is proud to lead West Virginia by pursuing partnerships with our community colleges which currently do not have the capacity to offer study abroad options.”


Since 2016, the IDEAS Program has awarded 216 grants to 205 institutions in 49 U.S. states and territories to establish, expand and broaden their U.S. study abroad programs in over 95 countries around the world. In addition to the IDEAS grant competition, the program also offers opportunities for international educators at U.S. colleges and universities to participate in free virtual and in-person study abroad capacity-building activities.


For more information about other study abroad resources and other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, visit The IDEAS Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the United States Government and supported in its implementation by World Learning.


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