By: Justin Powell

Youthlinc and Utah State University have been working together in a variety of ways for the past fifteen years.  Originally students and faculty took part in the Service Year program and dozens of USU students were able to go through our service program and travel abroad. 

In 2016, our Executive Director, Justin Powell, and Janis Boettinger, Vice Provost and Director of the Office of Global Engagement, forged a new partnership between Youthlinc and Utah State University to create a program called Global Community Leadership.   

The aim of this program is to fulfill both Youthlinc’s mission of creating lifetime humanitarians and to help USU achieve their goals of giving high-quality, affordable study abroad options to their students.  In 2017 the first GCL team was led by Justin Powell and Dr. Steven Hawks from the USU Moab campus.  The focus of the trip was on Global Health. The team engaged in academic coursework leading up to the trip about global health, best-practice international humanitarian work, and advocacy efforts. They traveled to Cambodia where they learned about the humanitarian challenges they face and engaged in hands-on service. 

The following year, Jessica Roueche, a colleague of Dr. Hawks, took over and led another Global Health-focused study abroad trip to Cambodia. Concurrently, Dr. Clayton Brown from the Price campus led a team to Vietnam where they studied aspects of the Vietnam War and did service work to more fully understand the implications of a post-war country and humanitarian efforts, including ongoing work pertaining to agent orange. 

The third year, Jessica Roueche led a Global Health focused study abroad group to Kenya, Dr. Peterson led a study abroad group to Cambodia to study the effects of genocide and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Cambodia as a result, and Matthew LePlante led a group to Vietnam studying journalism and storytelling as a way to build diplomacy and promote the power of sharing about our collective human experience.  

This upcoming year, Jessica Roueche is leading another study abroad group to Jamaica to study Global Health, Dr. Peterson is co-leading a trip with Justin Powell to Vietnam and Cambodia to study the intersectionality of the wars and genocides of our three nations and evaluate how those events combined with current issues including climate change and Covid affect the human experience, and Dr. Scott Greenhalgh is leading a study abroad group to Nepal to study Product Design & Manufacturing and work with women’s vocation groups on engineering projects in addition to a neonatal engineering project in the Himalayan highlands.  

Youthlinc looks forward to many more years of collaboration with Utah State University to provide high quality hands-on experiences where students have a meaningful humanitarian experience combined with practical academic framework.  

Thank you, USU, for all you do to support Youthlinc and the students who take part in the Global Community Leadership program! 

Donor Profile: Utah State University
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