Young Philanthropist Expands Study Abroad Opportunity with Planned Gift

Planning ahead is important to Monique Golden ’15 MA, ’21 Ph.D.

Dr. Monique Golden at the husky statue, on UConn campus in Storrs

Dr. Monique Golden at the husky statue, on UConn campus in Storrs, CT on July 18th, 2023. (Ashley Stimpson/UConn Foundation)

Planning ahead is important to Monique Golden ’15 MA, ’21 Ph.D.

Golden, 32, has arranged to leave a generous gift in her estate plan that will support students in UConn’s ScHOLA²RS House who want to study abroad. Her gift springs from her passion to give back to UConn and provide the transformative experience of traveling abroad.

Golden was inspired by a study abroad experience she had in Brazil when she was a graduate assistant at UConn. During the trip, she accompanied students from ScHOLA²RS House, a learning community in support of Black, male students. She watched the UConn students connect with students at other learning communities in Salvador and Cachoeira, Brazil as they learned about the history and struggles of Afro-Brazilians. She was thrilled to see how much the trip opened their minds as they began to see parallels in their own community.

“What I really enjoyed was seeing how students’ mindsets quickly changed in just the 10 days that we were there,” Golden says. “When they got back, they wanted to explore something different, do something different, be someone different. That’s what my gift is focused on: getting people to have an amazing experience in Storrs, but also to go somewhere else and build upon that.”

“I want to give students, first and foremost, access: access to passports, to travel, to taking a leap of faith, getting on a plane, and being a global citizen. That’s my hope and dream,” she says.

She hopes her gift will motivate others to donate to support study abroad programs as well.

Tadarrayl M. Starke, UConn associate vice provost for student success, is grateful for Golden’s support for ScHOLA2RS House.

“We strive to connect our students to life-transformative experiences that help them learn and grow beyond the classroom,” Starke says. “This gift will help us continue that impactful tradition and make the ability to study abroad a reality for students who may not otherwise have had the opportunity while at UConn.”

Golden grew up in Elizabeth N.J. and studied industrial engineering at Lehigh University as an undergraduate. She came to UConn to earn her masters in higher education and student affairs and a doctorate in leadership and education policy. She is grateful for the generous fellowships and scholarships she received to study at UConn and conduct research abroad.

“I just wanted to make sure I leveraged the opportunity and gave back in any capacity I could, from mentoring students to providing financial resources,” she says. “That’s what made it possible for me to be here.”

Golden is a technical lead in the Learning & Society domain at XPRIZE, the leader in prize competitions to accelerate breakthroughs that benefit humanity. She oversees the judging, field testing, and data collection for learning-based competitions, such as the $5 million Rapid Reskilling Competition and the $1 million Digital Learning Challenge, rewarding innovators who provide the next great workforce development and learning tools.

Golden lives in Hartford, Connecticut with her husband, Xavier Harrison, and her 2-year-old daughter. When she’s not working, she lets off some steam by playing rugby with the Hartford Wild Rose Women’s Rugby Club.