MDC Student Named a National Frederick Douglass Global Fellow

Andres Colmenares will travel to Cape Town, South Africa for a four-week study abroad program

Miami, FL. Nov. 20, 2017 – Miami Dade College (MDC) English major, Andres Colmenares, is one of only ten students selected from a national pool to participate in the prestigious Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship (FDGP) Program, awarded by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), in partnership with The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) and the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives.

FDGF is part of a three-year strategic partnership between CIEE and CMSI, designed to break down the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to make study abroad accessible to students from minority serving institutions. This year’s fellows will participate in a four-week summer study abroad program designed to enhance their leadership and intercultural skills next summer in Cape Town, South Africa.

Growing up, Colmenares didn’t have the resources to travel beyond the City of Hialeah. His parents, immigrants from Venezuela, worked hard to support their family. There was little time or money for luxuries, but they championed good grades and taught him work ethic to reach his dreams.

Colmenares is making the most of his education at MDC, where he has a 4.0 GPA and been a member of the Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa and part of the PEER Mentor Program. Now he’s ready to put those leadership skills to practice out in the world.

“One of the best opportunities any college or university can offer students is the chance to be able to open their minds and have exposure to a completely different environment,” Colmenares wrote in his application essay. “For students who may not often have the opportunity to travel, it is an experience that enhances communication skills that are essential for the workforce and for our civic life.”

MDC offers students study abroad in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Middle East and in 2018 will add Morocco, South Africa and Iceland to the list of destinations. Recently, MDC was ranked as the third state college in the country and number one in Florida for study abroad participation by the Institute of International Education.

FDGF’s are meritorious individuals who demonstrate high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership, and have a history of service to others. They will use their experiences to motivate other under-represented students to pursue similar opportunities. The program draws on the legacy of Frederick Douglass—the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and international statesman who lived, lectured and studied in London in 1845—and encourages students to use his life as a model to becoming bold, globally conscious and service-oriented leaders.

The program covers all program fees and travel costs for ten students each year who are selected from a diverse group of MSIs. The fellowship is awarded based on a combination of personal leadership attributes, academic achievement, and financial need. Read more about the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship program here.

About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions
The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from the nation’s Minority Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. Visit

About the Council on International Educational Exchange
CIEE was founded in 1947 to facilitate international exchange programs that help foster peace and understanding in our world and to open doors to such programs for students from all socio-economic backgrounds.  Today, CIEE serves more than 400 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and facilitates over 40,000 exchanges each year. CIEE serves as the leading sponsor for the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program (the J-1 visa program), promoting exchanges with over 100 countries. Additional CIEE programs include international faculty training, teach abroad, and various specialty and custom programs for secondary, post-secondary, and international students. Visit

About the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives 
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI) is an Abolitionist organization co-founded by direct descendants of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington. FDFI combines lessons from the legacies of Douglass and Washington. The mission of FDFI is to Advance Freedom through Knowledge and Strategic Action. FDFI has been a leader in implementing human trafficking prevention education curricula in classrooms nationally since 2007. Visit

About Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest, campus-based institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 165,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of Associate in Arts and Science degrees and awards more degrees to minorities than any other college or university in the country. The college’s eight campuses offer more than 300 distinct degree pathways including several baccalaureate degrees in biological sciences, engineering, data analytics, information systems technology, education, public safety, supervision and management, nursing, physician assistant studies, film and others.  MDC is the recipient of top national awards. As Democracy’s College, MDC changes lives through accessible, high quality-teaching and learning experiences.  It houses the Miami Culinary Institute, the Miami Animation & Gaming International Complex, the Miami Fashion Institute, the Eig-Watson School of Aviation, the Idea Center, the School of Advance Studies, the New World School of the Arts, to name a few.  MDC has been named among the nation’s “Great Colleges to Work For” by The Chronicle of Higher Education.  The College embraces its responsibility to serve as an economic, cultural, and civic leader for the advancement of our diverse global community. Its alumni and employees contribute more than $6 billion annually to the local economy, and MDC graduates occupy top leadership positions in every major industry.   MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair, Miami Film Festival, the MDC Live! Performing Arts Series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, the Tower Theater, Dyer Building, Koubek Center Mansion and Gardens, the Lynn and Louis Wolfson II Florida Moving Image Archives, a sculpture park and a large art gallery system.  MDC has admitted more than 2,000,000 students and counting, since it opened its doors in 1960.   For more information, visit