Dean’s International Study Grant

Created in 2006, the Dean’s International Study Grant program was started by the VCUarts Dean’s Office to fund students’ international exploration. That first year, six $1,000 grants were awarded to students. Today, up to ten $2,500 grants are awarded each year as the Dean’s Office continues to strive to support international travel and enforce the importance of a global perspective on creative and scholarly endeavors.

The mission of the Grant is to help fund international travel that is not in conjunction with any credit bearing coursework or faculty led programs affiliated with the University. Although proposals for support of non-VCU faculty led programs will be considered, they are not encouraged. The Dean’s Office seeks proposals for independent travel that inform a student’s research and will provide an experience in relation to their creative or intellectual trajectory.

The application deadline is February 5, 2018.

Students applying for the Dean’s International Study Grants must meet the following criteria:
  1. A declared VCUarts undergraduate major enrolled full-time and considered a continuing student at the time of travel and travel reimbursement.
  2. A current sophomore or junior in terms of credit hours earned (not including current in progress courses) at the time of application as described in the Bulletin here or have at least one semester of required VCUarts courses to complete after the return from your proposed trip.
  3. Have a cumulative VCU GPA of 3.0 and 3.50 in your major. This can be found on DegreeWorks.
  4. Travel between the dates of 5/12/18 and 8/22/19.
  5. Travel independently for academic and/or creative research outside of faculty led, credit bearing programs.

Keep in mind you can not save a partially completed application.  If you do not receive an email confirming your submission or if you have questions, please contact Jody Symula at

  • Must be a current sophomore or junior in standing, which regard to earned credit hours as described in the Bulletin: or have at least one semester of required VCUarts courses to complete after the return from your proposed trip.
  • Please enter a value between 0 and 4.0.
    You must have a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 to apply.
  • Please enter a value between 0 and 4.0.
    You must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 in your major to apply.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.
    Please put your name on the top of your document. In no more than 100 words, summarize your trip. This will be used for advertising your grant on our website if chosen. Include where you will be traveling, when, and what you hope to accomplish.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.
    Please put your name on the top of the document. In 400 words or less, describe how the travel will inform your educational/creative goals and relates to your area of study and research. If the research you will be conducting is not explicitly related to your major, touch upon any additional skills or interests you may have to help clarify the connection between your major and this research grant.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, xls, xlsx, .
    Using the template provided here download and complete the spreadsheet of all assumed costs for your travel. This includes flights, meals, lodging, entry fees and other transportation. Do your homework, and keep exchange rates in mind. A $5 hamburger in the United States most likely won’t cost $5 in another country. After you have completed your budget, upload it back into your application. It is understood that this Grant may not cover all of your costs. Be realistic in your numbers.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, mov.
    Please upload additional materials that directly relate to your proposal that may help create a convincing argument for the validity of your research. Items may include a letter from your overseas supervisor if you are participating in an internship (strongly recommended), documents outlining courses (for non-VCU coursework that has content not offered at VCU) and workshops, or a letter from a host/host family verifying your travel. These materials are not mandatory, but may better assist you in telling the story of your planned research. This field will accept .doc, .docx or .pdf only.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Past Recipients

2014 - 2015

Yushan Sun – Craft/Material Studies

Yushan had a gallery showing in Richmond with art pieces made by VCUart students and local artists that focused on a disappearing technique of traditional Chinese art. She then traveled to China, bringing with her pieces from the show in Richmond, for another show in Beijing in order to revive the craft and research ways to improve passing down traditional craft techniques to younger generations.

Kara Robertson – Dance + Choreography

Kara traveled to Vienna, Austria. She attended ImPulsTanz, the 2015 Vienna International Dance Festival where thousands of dance artist convened from across the world to study and investigate contemporary dance.

Anna Shcherbakova – Graphic Design

Anna compared public spaces in Reykjavik, Iceland to Richmond, Virginia by mapping out daily routes in one city, overlaying them on a map and retracing the steps in another. The resulting maps will become part of a larger book of diagrams produced by Studio Zaterdag and will release Fall 2015.

Michael Walker – Graphic Design

Michael spent two weeks in Amsterdam to study contemporary poster design, specifically cataloging techniques used by designers to grab the attention of iPhone savvy bikers, boaters, and pedestrians. He then created a series of posters that explain how Dutch commercial posters differ from informational posters on VCU’s campus.

Danielle Deneys – Interior Design

Danielle traveled to Denmark to study the elements of forest kindergartens that increased children’s learning. Through photographs and interviews with children and educations, she hopes to bring inspired, affordable interior designs to schools around America, bolstering our children’s cognitive ability.

Meredith Brindley – Kinetic Imaging

Meredith recorded the sounds of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. She then created sound art using the recordings, to contribute to our understanding and knowledge of coral reef environments and to serve as a record of the natural history of the reef.

Kotone Deguchi – Sculpture + Extended Media

Kotone took an immersive trip to Japan to expand her artwork that focuses on cultural disconnect, loss of lineage, and westernization as a Japanese immigrant raised in America. When she returned she started work on a solo gallery show, directly responding to her experiences traveling.
Lauren Terry – Sculpture + Extended Media

Lauren traveled to the small village Shipton-under-Wychwood in the English countryside to explore her family’s heritage and to see the the miniature villages that the village is known for producing.

Aria Roach – Dance + Choreography

Aria traveled to the ImPulsTanz Festival, Europe’s largest contemporary dance festival, which takes place in Vienna, Austria during summer 2015. She was able to experience an unparalleled multitude of contemporary styles while exploring her own personal movement language.

Keith Boylan – Kinetic Imaging

Keith spent two weeks in Tokyo exploring the iconic neighborhoods of Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. He studied the romanticized vision of Japan adopted by the visual aspect of American music culture and left to see if that has any bases in reality while also seeing if Japan as a similar distorted perception of the United States.

2013 - 2014

Alex Barton – Communication Arts

Alex spent a month in Cumbria, England painting the historic monuments and lakes that earned the area the title “The Lake District.” He created detailed oil landscape paintings that exposed him to the dedications of painting en plein air without modern conveniences and distractions.

Liesa Collins – Photography and Film

Using Medium Format film, Liesa traveled to Scotland to photograph her eighteen-year-old god sister to examine the universally shared values, ambitions, and relationships teenagers create for themselves no matter the country.

Elizabeth Anne Forrester – Photography & Film

Elizabeth traveled to the small village of Pichanaki in Peru to work with a local community outreach program and to create an abstract documentary presentation that explores the way multi-languages exist within a place.

Jenna Holton – Art Education

Art Education major Jenna traveled to Finland to attend the International Summer School arranged by the Teacher Education College of JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä to connect with various students and professionals from around the world. She learned about different educational theories about creative learning and teaching and then gave a presentation about Finnish education for VCU students and faculty when she returned.

Kaitlin Kobs – Graphic Design

Kaitlin was interested in gaining a better understanding of the methodologies used in Dutch Design, so for two weeks she traveled to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Breda. She visited design academies, museums, studies, and met professionals to study and discuss the dutch design culture, methods, and theory.

Ryan Martin – Sculpture + Extended Media

Ryan traveled to Berlin to attend the Berlin Biennale, a prominent international contemporary art exhibition that is held every two years. She also visited the Node Center for Curatorial Studies where she gained some insight into the career path of becoming a curator.

Leah Schmidt – Graphic Design

Leah traveled to Zanzibar, in Tanzania, Africa to learn from artisans who design and create handcrafted fabrics rich in graphic patterns which embody generations of cultural traditions and philosophical meaning. She spent six weeks studying and documenting the patterns and their meanings.

Anna Shcherbakova – Graphic Design

Anne spent two weeks in Bayonne, France to research what factors shape letterforms to their cultural context. She lived with a french family and fully immersed herself in French culture and connected with the spirit of French lettering.

Erin Warner – Craft/Material Studies

Erin visited the LLadró Factory and the José Martínez Gimeno Factory in Valencia, Spain to take tours and workshops. These two ceramic studios have a history of producing figurines and utilitarian objects through a process called slip-casting.

Jessica Lipsett – Sculpture + Extended Media

Jessica joined a group of volunteers in Eastern Europe for Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program to participate in a multiple-day build, providing housing to families who desperately need it. She learned traditional home-building methods of the area and how to apply them using native resources and then presented a lecture to the VCU community about her experience.

2012 – 2013

Wade Angeli – Communication Arts

Sandra Whittington – Photography & Film

Rachel Van Liere – Craft/Material Studies

Madeleine Zimmerman – Sculpture + Extended Media

Lee Ahlskog – Graphic Design

Jose Henriquez – Photography & Film

Inga Schunn – Photography & Film

Haley Garvis – Art Education

Connor Vaughn – Art History

Alyssa Kelly – Art Education

2011 – 2012

Youngyoon Chung – Painting & Printmaking

Sean Donlon – Craft/Material Studies

Jordan Fust – Interior Design

Bethany Gingrich – Craft/Material Studies

Jennifer Guillen – Painting & Printmaking

Emily Herr – Communication Arts

Weston Lowe – Sculpture + Extended Media

Inga Schunn – Photography & Film

Rachel Van Liere – Craft/Material Studies

2010 – 2011

Jaime Barnett – Art Education

Ginnie Driggers – Art Education

Cory Martin – Art History

Catherine Gellatly – Craft/Material Studies

Eleanor Doughty – Communication Arts

Byerly Young – Communication Arts

Anne Lantz – Kinetic Imaging

Youngyoon Chung – Painting and Printmaking

Virginia Wade – Photography and Film

2009 – 2010

Grace Manno, Communication Arts

Gina Kang, Graphic Design

Roxanne Baer, Music

Vreni Michelini-Castello, Painting and Printmaking

Justin Moore, Photography and Film

Alexa Leister-Frazier, Sculpture + Extended Media

2008 – 2009

Jessica Ferey, Art History, Internship in French museum/photograph hidden architecture in Paris

Maureen Elswick, Craft/Material Studies, Glassmaking in Murano, Italy

Roberto Celis, Craft/Material Studies, Wood sculpture, Uruguay

Alexandra Barao, Sculpture + Extended Media, Peruvian textile techniques

John Ziol, Sculpture + Extended Media, Japanese culture

Emily Rosko, Theatre, Operafestival di Roma