Students share benefits of the Academy for Future International Leaders


The Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL) is a year-long undergraduate program in which students learn about leadership in global issues. Open to all majors, it is best suited for those with little or no international experience.

The AFIL program includes a mentoring program and an international leadership challenge program, both of which begin in the fall semester. In the spring, AFIL holds a 3-credit hour seminar based on international focus, which meets on Thursday evenings. AFIL students are encouraged to participate in optional international experiences at any time throughout the year, such as study abroad. The idea behind the program is that students will benefit from learning about global issues, as an international view is becoming more and more important in the 21st Century.

AFIL senior in the college of geosciences, Matt McMahon, became a part of AFIL after beginning a diversity certificate program. McMahon says AFIL has shown him “the importance of striving for success as a student leader.” He said, “Every international mentor and speaker who we’ve had the privilege to speak with did just that to launch into their prosperous careers.”

McMahon hopes to work in the environmental geology field, travel extensively, and work with nuclear waste containment or environmental contamination. McMahon advises students interested to apply as soon as possible and to make sure that their spring class and extracurricular schedule isn’t too busy. He said, “With hard work the international challenge project has a lot of potential.”

Junior, and AFIL Class of 2013 member, Ming Liu is working on a project with his partner and fellow AFIL member, Grace Davis, that “brings domestic and international students together to reduce social stereotypes and increase cultural comfort.” Through AFIL, Liu has also participated in Aggies for Global Education which traveled to Costa Rica over spring break to teach local students, and an internationally-focused book club started by AFIL’s Maggie Beecher and Gus Blessings.

Liu, a business major, hopes to go into the management consulting field after graduation, and eventually start his own company. He advised students interested in AFIL to “come into this program with a genuine interest for international affairs.” Liu said to be sure to “spend time on your application and be yourself during the interview.”
For more information on The Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL), please visit . Applications are due April 26 and finalists selected for interviews will be notified in July.


Contact: Hayley Cox,


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