By the time Ellen Tyra ’19 (Louisville, Kentucky) graduates from Centre College, she will have traveled to a total of 10 countries on seven abroad trips, including England, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, Morocco, Myanmar, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand. Several of the locations she’s been to more than once.
Tyra, a Brown Fellow and international studies and French double major, took her first trip with Centre in the summer of 2016, and she will take her last trip with the College during CentreTerm 2019.
Throughout her time at Centre, Tyra has participated in semester study abroad programs, short-term trips and international internships.
Prior to coming to Centre, Tyra traveled abroad frequently, taking her first trip at the age of three.
“I’m very thankful that my parents have always supported my international education, even when I was young,” she said. “They have encouraged me to explore the world and to expand my knowledge through travel.”
Prior to coming to Centre, Tyra had already visited a dozen countries: Andorra, Austria, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Northern Ireland, the Netherlands, Scotland and Slovakia.
Tyra said that an international education is becoming increasingly important in a globalized world, and that cultivating an understanding of people from completely different backgrounds and areas of the world is crucial to creating peace for future generations.
“Since I was very young, being a global citizen was instilled in me by my parents as a value,” she added. “It is something that I have pursued in my academic studies, my choice of college, my career plans and my internships along the way. I knew that Centre was perfect for me because of the emphasis it placed on global citizenship.
“As a student at Centre,” she continued, “I have the opportunity to travel, to make a positive impact on communities around the world, and to establish friendships on multiple continents that I believe will last a lifetime.”
Throughout her time at Centre, Tyra has been supported by Kyle Anderson, director of the Center for Global Citizenship.
“Dr. Anderson has been my mentor, encourager and contact person for building relationships with people around the world,” she said. “He has helped me make key contacts with people in Myanmar, recommended me for international internships and encouraged me to take advantage of every opportunity while abroad.
Tyra sought out Anderson right away when she heard about his work in Myanmar, where she had always dreamt of going. Further conversations with him led her to applying for the CentreTerm course in Thailand, which had an optional component week in Myanmar.
“Most distinctly, I remember on the flight from Bangkok to Yangon, Dr. Anderson switched seats with me on the plane so that I could have the window view as we flew into Myanmar,” she continued. “As the plane touched down in Yangon, he congratulated me on accomplishing my dream. I believe that this is thanks to Centre and the many people who have made an experience like this possible, especially Dr. Anderson.”
Not only has Tyra been mentored by Anderson throughout her entire Centre experience, she is currently interning with him at the Center for Global Citizenship, where she is working on several projects, including research about improving and expanding study abroad opportunities for students.
“I learn something new from him each time we have a discussion,” she continued. “Knowing that there is a faculty member who cares about my interests is incredibly reassuring. Dr. Anderson gave me the chance to travel to Asia for the first time and continued to steer me on my path to a career. I know he has inspired many students in their careers and enriched their lives through his passion for study abroad.”
Anderson said that Tyra is a consummate professional and researcher who has the focus, drive, skill and graciousness to accomplish any task.
“Every employee (staff or faculty), wait watchfully and anxiously for a talent like Ellen to cross the threshold of their doorways,” Anderson said. “When Ellen is around, things are getting done, and they are getting done accurately and thoughtfully. I enjoy working with her—it improves my own work tremendously.”
Anderson added that he hopes prospective and current students observe Tyra and see what is possible for them, as she sets the bar high for what students can achieve at Centre.
“I am immensely grateful for the opportunities that I have had at Centre to travel and for the Centre faculty and staff, the Brown Foundation and my family that have given me the resources and support to make the most of my time at Centre as a global citizen,” Tyra concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 9, 2018