Office of International Education – Student Highlight

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Summary Sentence:

The Office of International Education would like to feature one of its exceptional students, Dionne McKenzie.

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The Office of International Education (OIE) is the central office on campus charged with spearheading Georgia Tech’s internationalization efforts. OIE is comprised of several units, including Education Abroad, Global Internship Program, and the International Plan, that offer opportunities for your student to add an international perspective to their education. We encourage you and your student to explore our programs as there’s something for everyone!

The Office of International Education would like to feature one of its exceptional students, Dionne McKenzie—a senior biomedical engineering major and International Plan (IP) student, who exemplifies the global citizenship goals we have for Tech students. While Dionne participated in a few study abroad programs, she focuses on the CIEE Service Learning Program she completed in Santiago, Dominican Republic during the spring of 2015.


“My participation in the CIEE Dominican Republic Service Learning Program was by far the highlight of my college experience. From the time I spent working in the rural communities and barrios to the time I spent relaxing on the island’s many tropical beaches, I was able to observe and reflect on the differences in resources, culture, and lifestyle. As a Service Learning student I interned with a local public hospital and conducted a social research project in Cristo Rey Abajo, an underprivileged urban neighborhood in the southern region of Santiago. My research focused on the socioeconomic factors and their impact on mental health. Every day, I collected data from the community through questionnaires, focal groups, and interviews. I must say that the social interaction was the best part of my experience. My work helped me foster a strong relationship with the individuals who lived in the communities, and it also helped me find the confidence in myself to be more outspoken, friendly, social, and overall comfortable in personal and professional environments. Outside of research and the tangible project I created for the community, I spent time taking courses at one of the most respected universities in the Caribbean, PUCMM. It was on campus and with my host family where I interacted with the middle-upper class of the Dominican Republic. This lifestyle seemed relatively similar to the lifestyle I am familiar with here in the US. My friends and I would go to different restaurants, movie theaters, malls, beaches, and discotecas in our free time just as I would back at home. Overall, this experience helped me clearly see the poverty gap between the rich and the poor worldwide. All in one city, within a range of about 10 miles, I witnessed vastly different lifestyles and recognized how important it is to find work in addressing this issue. I plan to work as a biomedical engineer who tackles health problems in underserved regions and designs innovative solutions to make affordable resources for populations who otherwise would not have these resources available. This experience helped me confirm where my passion lies and the steps I need to take in order to secure a position in my desired career.”

There are many opportunities for students to do Service Learning while studying abroad with Georgia Tech. To find out more about these and many more opportunities, please visit:

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  • Created By: Sara Warner
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 4, 2016 - 3:58am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:20pm