LSU to Launch First Global Learning Program for PSA Scholars

March 01, 2023

BATON ROUGE – Students from LSU’s Pre-Scholars Academy, or PSA, are preparing to travel to Dakar, Senegal over the upcoming spring break as part of the program’s first global experience.  

“I want to travel the world and explore the cultural differences that exist all around, and this life-changing opportunity will help me achieve that goal,” said Cesar Rodrigues from Baton Rouge, a PSA scholar selected for this global experience. “I'll see the world by visiting Senegal. I'll get to meet new people and understand their way of life, understand their culture and also participate in new learning experiences that will benefit my future career aspirations.” 

PSA was first established in 2018 as a collaboration between LSU's Enrollment Management and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Since then, the Office of Retention & Student Success, College of Human Sciences & Education and the E. J. Ourso College of Business have joined PSA. This initiative serves to identify students who have not yet reached their full scholastic potential and to support them in unlocking any barriers to college success. Since PSA’s inception, more than 250 students have successfully enrolled and completed the program. The goal of the academy is to equip students with a better understanding of leadership, course preparedness and resources available at LSU. The program will now include a global experience in West Africa to expose currently enrolled LSU students to the world beyond Louisiana. This year’s cohort will be the first to travel to the African continent and for most, this will be their first time abroad.  

“I am very excited about this opportunity...It will be my very first time going out of the country, and there are no words to describe how ready I am to visit Senegal. I feel this will contribute so much to my college career.”

Tahji’ Davis, LSU Pre-Scholars Academy participant from New Orleans

The robust itinerary for this global experience will purposely explore six of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. PSA students will have the opportunity to learn Senegal’s Wolof language, visit informal settlements to understand the realities of sanitation in host communities and meet local Senegalese families, among other highly immersive events. The program holistically introduces LSU students to Senegal’s rich culture and its strong ties to Louisiana. 

“I’m really looking forward to sharing with the students some of the West African Roots of Louisiana culture along with my colleague Dr. Ibrahima Seck,” said Jonathan Earle, dean of the Rodger Hadfield Ogden Honors College. “We’re talking about the massive movement of people and cultures between continents – one of the biggest stories of the last millennium that happens to have a huge impact to this day.”  

In addition to this experience, LSU secured a grant from the Institute of International Education, to cover the cost of passports for 25 PSA scholars. This award removes any financial barrier these students may face when applying for a passport and further encourages them to consider studying abroad while enrolled at LSU.  

“An international experience is one of the most valuable educational opportunities that any student can have,” said Roy Haggerty, LSU executive vice president and provost. “I am proud of LSU for offering this opportunity to these exceptional students.” 

The PSA cohort, joined by LSU’s senior international officer and three deans, will be leaving March 10 and returning March 19.