Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2013

laKeRS on the Move

’ AIM students ‘Conquer the Canyon’ Thirteen members of the mercyhurst community experienced the rich natural beauty and immense size of the grand canyon this spring while raising awareness for autism spectrum disorders. The group included eight students in mercyhurst s pioneering aim (asperger initiative at mercyhurst) program. The group, led by aim coordinator brad mcgarry, traveled through the sonoran desert to the red rock country of sedona, through oak creek canyon and to the grand canyon, and to wupatki national monument, sunset crater and walnut canyon national monument.

“ Faculty, students share tour of South Africa cady schneible describes her summer vacation as national geographic live and in person. ” “ andrew pruchinski put in this way: we witnessed the circle of life 15 feet in front of our Jeep. ” They were recalling the moment when a mercyhurst group on safari in south africa watched in awe as a lioness and her cubs attacked and killed a zebra just yards in front of them. even locals seldom get a chance like that. - The experience – captured here in a photograph by dr. heidi hosey, dean of international education – was just one highlight of a nine day tour for a half-dozen students in a course titled culture of south africa. They met weekly throughout the spring with english professors dr. Joanne mcgurk and dr. marnie sullivan to prepare for the trip by exploring the nations language, literature, visual arts, history and more. we wanted students to be able to get on the ground and understand what they were seeing, explains mcgurk. “ ” ’ “ ” “ The students learned to appreciate the struggles this very young democracy has endured. The country is still dealing with its race issues, like the u.s. in the ‘60s and ‘70s, trying to pave over the past and move forward, but it s hard, says mcgurk. The students are too young to have experienced the process, but they learned how nelson mandelas vision kept the country from dissolving into all-out civil war. ’ ” ’ ’ it s not just tourism, mcgurk stresses. it s really study, capped of with a trip. mcgurk says it s a chance for students to push themselves to try new things and be open to new experiences. once you do that, there s no going back. you can t retreat into xenophobia, she adds. it s a joy to share that with students. it s a life changing experience for the students, and there s a huge payof for the teacher. ’ ’ “ ’ ’ ” “ ’ ’ - ’ ” The south africa trip was the latest ofering from a signature mercyhurst initiative known as fsaT: faculty and student academic Travel. other faculty-student groups have visited destinations from Japan and china to italy and greece. upcoming destinations include Vietnam, ireland, guyana and paris.

“ less than one percent of those who visit the grand canyon explore it as deeply as we did, mcgarry notes proudly. ” “ on the horizon? maybe conquer the crater, a fve day excursion into the backwoods of iceland. ” - Their itinerary was developed and guided by conquer the canyon, a company that creates adventures for those whose lives are afected by genetic disorders, cancers, diabetes, homelessness and poverty. almost a year of preparation preceded the trip, including rigorous physical training, exercises in teamwork and communication, and fundraising, and it paid of.

Professor visits Turkey on cultural exchange

’ professor of Japanese keiko Takioto miller joined about a dozen erie residents on a 10- day trip to Turkey, sponsored by erie s Turkish cultural center to foster relationships between diverse cultural groups. Their itinerary took them across the country, from istanbul to izmir, to ankara and the konya plain, where they visited fatih university and

- several historic sites. They also shared home cooked meals with several Turkish families. hospitality is the way of life for these former strangers, she notes. They opened their homes, both humble and well-to do, to all of us americans. “ ” “ - ” miller, who teaches a course in cross cultural symbology, also enjoyed the opportunity to view historic calligraphic symbols. “ “ we need more dialogues among diferent peoples of the world, says miller. while we realize the difculty in continuing our friendship with those we met in Turkey, their vibrant spirit of openness and hospitality has rubbed of on us american, making us realize our further need to defy stereotypes and understand each other on a much deeper human level. ” ”


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