Students to Address Global Issues, Social Change in Revamped Program

California Lutheran University is revamping its International Studies Program to provide students with opportunities to exercise leadership, promote social change and address global issues in the Los Angeles area. The program is designed to expose students to populations and issues they might not otherwise experience in Ventura County.

Central to the redesigned program is the establishment of Pearson Scholars for Leadership and Engagement in a Global Society. A $100,000 gift from the late Alma Pearson of Santa Barbara is helping to fund the scholars program and the restructuring of the International Studies Program.

Pearson Scholars, who are students in the International Studies Senior Capstone course, will connect with agencies that serve diverse populations including immigrants, racial/ethnic minorities and other underrepresented and underserved groups. This spring, the students will develop projects that address issues such as civic engagement, human trafficking and climate change.

CLU has a tradition of community service, but this program challenges students to go beyond typical volunteer work to find long-term solutions to the problems they encounter. The goal is to equip students with the skills needed to become leaders and agents of social change through policy, advocacy, research and applied scholarship, according to program director Haco Hoang, a political science professor who has worked as a public policy analyst for Los Angeles government officials, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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