When Kelly Mallari was a student at UNC Greensboro, she studied abroad at the University of Westminster in London in 2010 and later lived in London from 2012-2015.
She has traveled to Mexico, Brazil, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Spain, France, Norway, Turkey, Belgium, Italy, Japan, China and India. Moreover, she and her husband have a home in Chelsea, London, which she visits once a year.
Needless to say, it’s easy to see why Mallari is a good fit as director of Bennett’s Center for Global Studies.
“Kelly Mallari represents the Global Studies program to internal and external audiences, while planning and advocating for growth,” said Sylvia Nicholson, director, sponsored programs and Title III. “She builds upon the program’s current success and develops a vision for its future.”
Dr. Michelle Linster, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Mallari’s passion for travel and her appreciation for other cultures is evident when she discusses the benefits of traveling abroad to Bennett Belles.
“Kelly’s past experiences with international travel and in various cultures has instilled in her the values to guide her in her work here at Bennett College,” Linster said. “She is an asset to our Institution.”
Since joining Bennett’s staff, Mallari has worked diligently to ensure Bennett Belles are afforded travel abroad opportunities.
“Since February 2018, I have successfully secured five MOUs for Bennett College,” Mallari said. “I continue writing grants to ensure our students have trips abroad. I have written two NSF (National Science Foundation) grants in conjunction with Virginia Tech and a Capacity Building grant through World Learning. I have also started a fundraising campaign with the help of Mr. LaDaniel Gatling to ensure our students can enjoy meaningful learning experiences abroad with little to no cost involved.”
During a typical week, about 30-40 students stop by the Center for Global Studies to inquire about going abroad, with inquiries about cost, eligibility, passports and what foreign language courses are offered on campus.
Mallari said if given a “magic wand,” she would ensure every Bennett student could study abroad free of charge. Of course, she possesses no such wand and is well aware that less than five percent of international travel is done by students of color. Likewise, the percentage of African-American women traveling outside the country has plateaued in the last four years and continues to remain stagnant – which she attributes to a variety of factors including funding, fear and a lack of flying experience.
“It’s my hope that in the next five years we’ll combat the preconceived notions people of color have about studying abroad through informative sessions, panel discussions and shared experiences from other sisters of colors,” Mallari said. “Study abroad is a quintessential experience for college students. Studying abroad affords opportunities to learn, grow and experience a new culture. Our students often return to their studies and tell us that not only did they learn a plethora of new things, but they’ve grown emotionally and professionally.”
Mallari holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Composition, International and Global Studies and Religion from UNCG and a Master of Arts from UNCG in Global Studies. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Higher Education Administration at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
When she’s not working, studying or writing papers, the native of Boone, North Carolina, enjoys reading, writing and, of course, traveling.