CeeJay Scott
Global Education

Global Experience Transforms Student’s Future

When Kent State alumnus Carlton “CeeJay” Scott Jr., ’23, returned from his 2023 Spring Semester abroad as an exchange student in Cairo, he brought with him a transformed vision for his future as a filmmaker. He had originally planned to make movies in the U.S. - maybe locally, or New York or California - but after being immersed in Egyptian culture for four months, CeeJay knew he wanted to see more of the world and have similar experiences. He realized he wanted to be a travel filmmaker.

CeeJay took every opportunity to film while he was in Cairo - and he took classes that would expand his skills as a director and filmmaker, including acting and producing. But he also wanted this experience to go beyond academics. He took Arabic to engage with his new environment and the people there on a deeper level, an effort that he found was greatly appreciated. He ate Egyptian food, dressed in traditional attire and visited neighboring cities and landmarks.

“It's about expanding your horizons and getting out of your comfort zone by having these conversations. You have to be willing to talk to somebody because they're a person just like you're a person.”

Studying in Cairo was the trip of a lifetime for the Cleveland, Ohio, native, but if it weren’t for his tenacity and some additional support through scholarships and from university staff, it may not have happened at all.

When CeeJay started exploring education-abroad opportunities, he found that there were a lot of options from which to choose, but all of them required additional funds beyond normal tuition. It was a serious concern for him. He consulted his advisor who directed him to the Office of Global Education, where he connected with Molly Papay, M.Ed. ’19, MBA, senior education abroad advisor. She told him about scholarships he might be eligible to receive that could defray some of the cost.

CeeJay Scott Jr '23

Following Papay’s recommendations, CeeJay applied for and received several scholarships, including $5,000 from the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA). This nonprofit organization supports greater diversity among U.S. students studying abroad by providing support to students of color, community college students and first-generation students who demonstrate financial need. CeeJay is the first Kent State student to be awarded this scholarship. He received support from the Project Passport Fund, which is distributed by the Office of Global Education and meant to assist students with obtaining and renewing their passports. He also was the recipient of the Dennis G. Cipriany Endowed Scholarship in Journalism and Mass Communication and the James C. and Cynthia J. Schrum Scholarship for College of Communication and Information.

These additional funds transformed his dream of studying abroad into a reality. The trip to Cairo was his first time traveling outside of the U.S. and in December 2023, CeeJay, who is the youngest of three, celebrated another milestone when he became the first in his immediate family to earn a college degree.

His experience was transformative, and he encourages his fellow students to follow his lead, even if it seems like something beyond their reach. At one point, CeeJay felt the same way. Now he’s envisioning an exciting future with endless possibilities.

“It's a goal of mine to have a career where I can travel abroad and be able to make exciting and inviting content for others and to tell other people’s stories, whether that's somebody in India or Munich or just somebody down the street,” CeeJay said. “I want to be an outlet for those individuals to have exposure and know that somebody sees them.”

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