Campus Visit: Bluefield State University

Cameron Teaney (left) and Melanie Winters (right) posing with the old Bluefield College logo in the Student Center

This February, Global UGRAD Program Officer Melanie Winters and Senior Program Associate Cameron Teaney had the pleasure of visiting Bluefield State University (BSU) in Bluefield, West Virginia. During this visit they toured BSU’s campus and met with the friendly and hospitable staff supporting the four Global UGRAD students studying there this semester.

BSU is one of only two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in West Virginia. BSU is the fastest-growing public college or university in West Virginia and offers great student diversity with over 31 countries represented in the total undergraduate population of 1,163 students. Three of this semester’s Global UGRAD students are the first citizens of their countries (Malaysia, Laos, and El Salvador) to attend BSU.

View of Mahood Hall (School of Business) on BSU’s mountainous campus

BSU is known for its program offerings in nursing, radiologic technology, engineering, and computer science, as well as high-quality resources on campus that provide students with hands-on experience in their fields of interest. In addition to academics, sports teams are a large part of the BSU community and are even included in the institution’s educational mission – underscoring its multifaceted commitment to student development. The BSU athletic program, also known as “Big Blue Athletics,” offers 19 sports options, including their top programs, women’s basketball and men’s football.

Flags displayed in Bluefield State Student Center

Throughout Cameron’s and Melanie’s visit, it was evident that the tight-knit campus community at BSU is dedicated to supporting students holistically, and there is a heavy focus on international initiatives across campus programs. Global UGRAD students are directly supported by Dr. Sudhakar R. “Jammy” Jamkhandi (Director of International Initiatives, Honors College, and Service Learning) and dedicated staff in the Office of International Initiatives. The students on campus enjoy small class sizes (less than 15 students per class!) which allows for increased engagement and individualized support. The current UGRAD students shared that there are always activities to do on and off campus. This semester they have filled their schedules with diverse activities including skiing, bowling, and campus bingo!

The students’ most memorable event thus far was their recent visit to Bluefield High School where they spoke to over 500 students at their Black History/Multi-Cultural Day assembly. Though they were initially intimidated to speak to such a large group, they were pleasantly surprised that the high school students were engaged and eager to learn about their home countries, and their visit was featured in the local newspaper. Each Global UGRAD student shared their appreciation for the above-and-beyond care that Bluefield staff have shown them since arriving in the United States and for the strong relationships they have formed with their new American friends.

Dr. Sudhakar R. “Jammy” Jamkhandi (left) pictured with Cameron Teaney, Phoutthasone Phomsimone (Laos), and Melanie Winters

We are grateful to BSU for serving as an exceptional host campus and for their care and support of our students!