spotlight-category: World Languages, Literature, and Cultures

Hadassah Winters ’18

Hadassah Winters at Gardner-Webb University sign

First impressions brought Global Studies major to Gardner-Webb

“Gardner-Webb has faculty members who go above and beyond for their students. The classes contain material that is challenging yet relevant and interesting. I have especially developed my skills as a writer, which is an invaluable skill in almost every field.”

A thoughtful gesture on a cold and rainy day in December gave Hadassah “Haddie” Winters a glimpse of what she could expect from Gardner-Webb University. She and her mom had flown in from the state of Washington and arrived on the GWU campus just as a thunder storm passed over. Cold and drenched, they stepped into the admissions office, where staff welcomed them by turning on the electric fireplace and plugging in the Christmas tree lights.

“I turned to my mom and whispered, ‘This is where I want to be,’” Winters recalled. “No other campus had been so genuine and warm and receptive. It felt like a family before I even knew anyone.”

She was further impressed by the University’s global studies program and other course offerings in world religions, politics and languages. “I loved that three different concentrations were offered in global studies and there were so many courses to choose from within my major,” she affirmed. “I felt like I could tailor my studies to my specific interests.”

Winters grew up in Kedougou, Senegal, where her parents were missionary linguists. She made friends from several different countries. “When you have a diverse friend group, international news becomes a hundred times more relevant,” she shared. “I would read headlines and think, ‘I wonder how that new law is affecting so-and-so’s family.’ When I came to Gardner-Webb, my studies helped focus my interests further, specifically to promoting economic development through successful natural resource wealth management in Francophone (French-speaking) Africa.”

Because of her interests, her advisor, Dr. Casey Delehanty, assistant professor of global studies, encouraged her to apply for the Boren Scholarship. With his advice, along with the support of Dr. Joseph Moore, assistant professor of history, Dr. Tamara Cox, professor of French, and Dr. Don Berry, professor of religious studies, she completed the application and received the award.

The honor includes a six-month study of French and the Wolof language in the U.S. and Africa followed by a one-year service agreement with the federal government.

“Gardner-Webb has faculty members who go above and beyond for their students,” she affirmed. “The social science department is excellent. The classes contain material that is challenging yet relevant and interesting. I have especially developed my skills as a writer, which is an invaluable skill in almost every field.”

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