Our Story: Elaney Tedder wants to bring the world to community colleges

June 26, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 26, 2017) – Elaney Tedder has big plans for bringing international education programs to community colleges around the country—and it all started with her experiences at Tallahassee Community College.

Tedder, who graduated from Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas, moved to Tallahassee to attend TCC and participate in the TCC2FSU program.

“Florida State was my dream school, but I thought I couldn’t afford it and my SAT scores weren’t high enough anyway,” said Tedder, who struggled early on in high school with depression and anxiety that impacted her academic performance.

Fortunately, Tedder’s grandparents stepped in and offered her the Florida Prepaid plan they had purchased, and her father encouraged her to apply to TCC, where he had once attended. Though she knew she would still have to pay for all her fees and books out of pocket, the decision was easy.

“I buckled down, focused on getting to college and ended up graduating [high school] with a 3.5 GPA,” said Tedder, adding, “In many ways, it was all of our dream.”

During her first semester at TCC, Tedder was accepted into the Honors Program, where she was able to take advantage of benefits like early advising, Honors seminars and the popular Honors Lounge. She also got involved with the International Student Organization, which brings together students from all countries to share perspectives and promote international education on campus.

Tedder was soon excelling in and out of the classroom, and in 2016 was appointed to the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Executive Board as the two-year representative. That summer, recognizing her own global leadership interests, she decided to join a study abroad trip to Taiwan. It would prove to be a pivotal experience.

“I went to Taiwan and taught English to high school students there,” said Tedder. “The funny thing was, here were these students who really wanted to go to the college in the United States, but couldn’t because they couldn’t afford it. I related to that. If it weren’t for the Florida Prepaid plan, I don’t know if I would have been able to attend TCC.”

Tedder graduated from TCC with honors and the Global Gateway recognition in the spring of 2017 and then transferred to Florida State University as an international studies major. She was also accepted into the FSU Honors Program and was reappointed to the Florida Collegiate Honors Council Executive Board, this time as the four-year representative.

Though she just started classes at FSU this summer, Tedder is already focused on her future after graduation.

“I want to work with community colleges to develop international education programs that provide opportunities like I had in Honors and ISO, so that students can engage with global culture while earning an affordable college degree.”