Partnership Between IES Abroad and Chicago Scholars Sends First-Generation Scholars to England, Ireland, and Spain

The first three Chicago-based college students in the Chicago Scholars Abroad Initiative are studying abroad in Ireland, London, and Spain this semester.  IES Abroad, a consortium of 200 major U.S. colleges and universities, partnered with Chicago Scholars in 2011 to develop this first of its kind scholarship program to expand the number of underrepresented students in international programs. 

The students are Jacquez Griffin, from Saint Augustine College; Colleen Healy, from Marquette University; and Karolina Lekarcyzk, from DePaul University. Chicago Scholars Abroad provides $5,000 scholarships to each student for tuition, fees, transportation, and living expenses. For more information on the initiative and to apply click here.

  • Jacquez Griffin is studying at Queen Mary, University of London as part of the IES Abroad London Program. A graduate of Chicago Hope Academy, he grew up in Chicago’s Roseland community. Jacquez attends Saint Augustine College in North Carolina and plans to major in mechanical engineering.
  • Studying in the IES Abroad Dublin Program, Colleen Healy is a graduate of Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School and grew up in Chicago’s Bridgeport community. As an Evans Scholar, she is a golf caddy during her breaks. Colleen attends Marquette University where she is majoring in psychology; she plans to pursue a career in counseling.
  • Karolina Lekarcyzk is studying in the IES Abroad Madrid Program. A graduate of Lane Tech College Prep High School, she grew up in Chicago’s Belmont Cragin community. Due to her interest in the field of accounting, she was a Deloitte scholar in high school. Karolina attends DePaul University and is majoring in public relations and advertising; she plans to pursue a career in public relations.

“IES Abroad will be excited to welcome its first class of Chicago Scholars Abroad alums when they return to the U.S.,” said Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Director of Diversity Recruiting and Advising at IES Abroad. “Their example will help inspire other diverse college students from Chicago to embrace the world beyond the city—and beyond our nation’s borders—and contribute their global perspective and skills to their hometown.”

“For many inner city youth, traveling to Chicago’s Loop is like traveling to another country. So you can imagine how proud we are of our Scholars for traveling beyond the confines of their neighborhoods to study aboard. Moreover, we are excited about a movement to help our Scholars become international citizens,“ said Karen G. Foley, president of Chicago Scholars. “We are grateful to IES Abroad for providing our scholars with this opportunity and we look forward to expanding the program together.”

IES Abroad is dedicated to cultivating a diverse, globally-savvy workforce, and racially or ethnically diverse students make up 21% of its students--an almost 44% rise since 2006.

Chicago Scholars Abroad Initiative
The Chicago Scholars Abroad Initiative helps high-achieving Chicago high schools overcome barriers to collegiate study abroad programs. Both IES Abroad and Chicago Scholars help provide education opportunities to traditionally underrepresented students defined as racial/ethnic minorities, financially needy students, first generation, or those having a history of overcoming adversity.

The initiative has a dual objective: to expand the number of underrepresented students studying abroad during college and to create a diverse group of globally-sophisticated Chicago professionals who will strengthen the city’s reputation and appeal as an international hub for business, education, technology, and the arts. The program will also increase the number of diverse global leaders who play important roles in the nation’s diplomatic and foreign affairs corps, national security, and commerce and financial sectors.

IES Abroad and Chicago Scholars are working together to grow a donor-supported scholarship fund that will sustain up to 20 Chicago Scholars Abroad students per academic year into the longer term.

About IES Abroad
IES Abroad is a global, not-for-profit academic consortium of more than 200 top-tier American colleges and universities that has been a leader in study abroad programs for over 60 years.  IES Abroad offers 100+ study abroad programs in 36 cities worldwide.  More than 5,700 students enroll in IES Abroad programs each year. 

At IES Abroad, we see how studying abroad changes students’ lives every day.  As an educational organization that puts purpose before profit, we’re proud of our legacy and leadership in the study abroad field. We believe that every student should have the opportunity to go abroad—especially in a fun, safe, and superior academic and cultural environment. 

About Chicago Scholars
The Chicago Scholars Foundation provides Chicago’s young leaders with the support they need to achieve their dreams: mentorship, college admissions support, and access to summer internships and career programming. The Chicago Scholars Foundation reaches out to students from recently emigrated families and under-resourced communities and nurtures their talent through an innovative five-year program lasting from the senior year of high school through the senior year of college. Their academically ambitious Scholars are not only investing in their own career growth and success, but also ensuring that Chicago remains competitive in the global economy for years to come. For more information, please visit

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