|Students Fill Summer with Study, Travel, Work, and Fun
July 10, 2007
Contact: Bill Giduz
Davidson students were found across the country and around the globe last summer engaged in a wide variety of activities. Here are some of their stories. Share your summer experience.
Meena Sangar ‘10
Despite many travel warnings I decided to go back home to Afghanistan this summer,. This would be my first trip there in about eight years. Being an American citizen, I wrote down the American embassy’s number in case for emergency. Little did I suspect when I left that I would get guns pointed at me by the American army instead.
|Sangar (center) is greeted in Kabul by her grandmother (r) and aunt (r).|
I stayed in Kabul for about a month, meeting family members I hadn’t seen in more than a decade. But it felt like I had never left at all. Afghan families are very close and huge, and I was living in a house with 21 other people. It was strange to feel so much at home in two completely opposite worlds.
Effects of the ongoing thirty years of war were everywhere. The air was laden with sulfur, and the ruins of old Soviet tanks were scattered along the roads. I met one man who was rebuilding his house for the fifth time in eight years. Regardless of the poverty and destruction, the Afghan people are hopeful, and ready for a normal life.
But the current Afghanistan is anything but normal. The increased amount of new weapons being used and tested in Afghanistan has drastically increased the number of cancer cases, and the years of war and instability have affected the mental health of the people. When the American army invaded in 2001 it was seen as a possible source of peace, but now that the army has began bombing villages and killing hundreds of innocent people, it is viewed like all the other warlord groups fighting to gain control of the country. Since the suicide bombings began, the army has announced that any car or person approaching an American convoy will be shot with no questions asked. One time this summer the American guns were pointed at me when for a brief moment our car filled with many little children and elderly came near an American car. When we saw the soldiers pointing their guns from the windows, we swerved away to avoid them.
Focusing on all the problems of Afghanistan would have left me depressed, but being surrounded by family and friends I was able to enjoy the natural beauty of the countryside. Natural springs and gushing water streams down mountains and valleys all around Kabul.
It was an amazing trip. I am hoping to raise awareness of Afghanistan’s plight in Davidson, and possibly do a fundraiser to open a clinic in Kabul or raise funds for an animal shelter in Kabul for the thousands of suffering animals caught in the middle of man's war.
Stapleton/Davidson Summer Interns
You needn’t venture far from Davidson to find poverty. A short hop down the highway will land you in Charlotte, where five of us spent the summer getting to know our homeless, hungry, and jobless neighbors. As Stapleton-Davidson Urban Service Interns, we had the opportunity to work closely with the urban poor while exploring social issues in the context of Christian faith.
|Stapleton/Davidson interns pose with program founder Don Davidson. They are (l-r) Jeremy Snyder '09, Mejin Leechor '08, Davidson, Sarah Coffey '09, Katie Greenfield '09, and Darren Morgan '08.|
On weekdays, we went our separate ways to different social service agencies. At Crisis Assistance Ministries, Jeremy interviewed clients seeking emergency financial assistance to pay bills. Sarah worked nearby at the Urban Ministry Center, whose services for the homeless range from a soup kitchen to street soccer. Across town, clients consulted Darren for resumé critiques and mock interviews at Jacob’s Ladder Job Center. Katie divided her time between Loaves and Fishes, a hunger relief program, and McCreesh Place, an apartment community for formerly homeless men with disabilities. Mejin worked at Friendship Trays, a meals-on-wheels program, and at the Salvation Army Center of Hope, a homeless shelter for women and families.
Once a week, we all convened with staff from Davidson and churches in Charlotte to share our experiences and discuss readings. The stories that surfaced during these meetings put a human face on urban poverty. The hopes and struggles of those we interacted with daily spoke louder than statistics ever could. We became accustomed to unanswered questions. We never stopped feeling overwhelmed.
We leave the experience a bit humbled, a bit shaken up, with eyes wider open. We’re grateful to those who made our internship possible – to our mentors from Davidson and our host churches in Charlotte, to the families that graciously invited us to live in their homes, to the agencies that took us under their wing, and to the internship’s creators, Don Davidson ’39 and the late Ann Stapleton Davidson. Above all, we’re indebted to our neighbors in Charlotte, whose lives are quietly extraordinary.
Vy Drouin-Le ‘10
Thanks to the Bonner Fund, here I am in the town of Versailles, also known as “The little Vietnam of New Orleans East.” This predominantly Catholic Vietnamese-American community is absolutely unique for its history and its solidarity.
|Vy with Father Luke|
I have gotten to know the charismatic and activist Father Vien, the Mary Queen of Vietnam Church’s main priest. He likes to say that for his people, “Evacuating and returning from Hurricane Katrina was no big deal. They had done it several times before.” They fled the communists from North to South Vietnam in 1954, then lived in the Mekong delta where floods are a fact of life, and finally immigrated to the United States as boat people in 1975. So Katrina was not such a big deal…
I work for the MQVN Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization dedicated to rebuilding this community and improving the people’s quality of life. The plan includes building affordable housing for seniors and working families, a charter school, and an urban farm. It also includes a language access campaign, rejuvenation and development of small businesses, promotion of environmental justice and facilitation of access to social services.
I am working with a young, brilliant and dynamic team. My job is to build a media archive of still photos, news articles, and television news and documentary reports concerning the Vietnamese community of Versailles. This community’s ability to mobilize and rebuild has captivated the media in the past two years.
While working on the archive, I’m also interning for S. Leo Chiang, a filmmaker working on a documentary entitled, “A Village Called Versailles,” which will portray how the Katrina experience served as a catalyst for people here to find their political voice.
When I obtained the Bonner grant for a community service project, I had no idea what I was getting involved in. Now I am learning so much about media, documentary film, and the non-profit world. But I’m also learning about racial and socio-economic tensions, Catholicism and Asian-American identity. Living in a so-called unsafe neighborhood also makes me question something I always took for granted at Davidson—freedom of movement. It makes me realize how lucky we are to be able to walk or run in the streets at anytime of day or night.
Darryl Ratcliff '08
I’ve been working with 75 college students from across the country as ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program interns. The internship places talented students who have an interest in the non-profit sector at nonprofit agencies in North Texas.
|Ratcliff and fellow interns created an impression posed as a large group of community service volunteers.|
I’m a grant writer for Choristers Guild - a national nonprofit that nurtures the spiritual and musical development of children and youth. In June, I attended the Calvin Institute of Worship Renewal Grant Colloquium in Grand Rapids, Mich., where I applied for $1.2 million dollars in grants for Choristers Guild. We can't wait to see how many are successful!
In addition, I’ve enjoyed the larger ExxonMobil CSJP intern program. In recognition of the collective impact of all the interns, we have been selected to appear as "Clarice's Hometown Heroes" by Fox 4 TV award-winning news anchor Clarice Tinsley. They will shoot the segment on August 1 as we conduct a service project at the North Texas Food Bank, and I’ve been selected as one of the interns to represent the program.
I’ve also served on the program’s social committee, planning fun events such as SpeedZone, gallery movie night, and a Texas Rangers game. The summer has definitely been a rewarding mixture of great work and great fun, and I can't wait to start my senior year at Davidson!
Larissa Hohe ’08 and Marissa Stewart ‘09
Our summer included trains, zlotys, amber, and bones. Lots of bones!
|Larissa (l) and Marissa (r) with a friend from the program, study a skeleton from the collection.|
We were in the industrial city of Poznan, Poland, with 15 other participants in a Field School in Mortuary Archaeology and Osteology.
That means that we spent four weeks in a little town called Giecz (pronounced “Gee-etch”, population 80), learning from lectures about the medieval culture of the area 1000 years ago, and conducting first-hand research by digging up bones in its medieval cemetery. It was a preservation effort in many ways because hundreds of years of plowing the site had left some of these important pieces of history in bad shape.
Every morning we got up for a 7 a.m. breakfast at the Mayor’s house. Our days revolved around eating three of four meals a day there. It was always sandwich fixings, except for one daily wonderful homemade feast of warm Polish cuisine including pierogis, soups, meats, and lots of potatoes.
At 8 a.m. we divided into two groups. Half of us headed to the field, while the others stayed in the lab to clean and label artifacts them. We also sometimes practiced our new knowledge by laying out the remains of individuals in anatomical position, and identifying and siding the bones. We learned a few unique tricks. For example, to side the capitate (a wrist bone which looks like Darth Vader… we hummed the Imperial March every time we saw it!), we looked for “Ugly Rapunzel” and the side on which her hair fell.
We also examined features of the bones to determine likely sex and age of the individual, and examined for pathologies that plagued them. One man had a very obvious broken collar-bone that had healed wrong, while an old woman who had lost all her teeth had a terrible under-bite that would have been very obvious while she lived.
After a short first lunch break, those in the lab would head out to the field with their trowels and paintbrushes to take the trench down layer by layer. We began by removing a few feet of topsoil that was of little use because it had been repeatedly plowed. As we got closer to the level of the graves, we worked more slowly. As we uncovered human remains, we prepared them for photography and drawing before removing them for cleaning and labeling.
When not working, we spent time with our newfound Canadian and American friends, traveling to nearby towns, or further to the northern port city of Gdansk (the amber capital of Poland), or south to Krakow. This summer was an opportunity to explore what may become our careers: not grave-digging, but bioarchaeology!
Matt Baum '10
The first International Jugglers Association festival that I ever attended was the organization’s fiftieth annual festival in Pittsburgh, Pa. As a bright-eyed nine-year-old I thought I was hot stuff because I could juggle three balls. As I walked into the convention center I got my doors blown off. I saw people doing amazing tricks, and things with four and five balls, rings, clubs, and props that I had no idea were even possible. I will never forget the feeling of awe and wonder in that moment. I turned to my mom and asked in a feeble voice, “Mom, can we go home, now?” I was totally overwhelmed. She said, “No.”
|Baum (back) works on a hat routine with friend Steve Langley.|
A full ten years later, I spent a week of this summer at the IJA’s sixtieth festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. As a veteran now of these crazy, creative, conventions, there is no doubt in my mind that this was by far the best festival that I have ever attended.
“The gym,” as jugglers refer to it, is the general floor where jugglers congregate, talk, exchange ideas, and juggle. In addition to “the gym,” the convention center had six to eight large rooms for workshops. Also as a veteran IJA convention-goer, I knew I wanted to learn some tricks, moves, and what-have-you from the great jugglers who teach the workshops. So before the convention even started I printed out a list of workshops that interested me, ranging from hat manipulation, to advanced cigar box tricks, to dance for jugglers, and choreographing a routine. I also took a workshop taught by the director of a top-notch circus school in the Ukraine. It met for three hours for three consecutive days, and by the conclusion, all of us noticed drastic improvements in our juggling and performing ability.
Each night there was a show at a nearby theater. But going to a show with jugglers is unlike any other theatrical experience in the world. Jugglers can’t just sit quietly and wait for the show to start. They bring along hundreds of long balloons to shoot through the theatre, large, colorful, inflatable cubes to bounce around, and someone even had a sling-shot “flying monkey” that was whizzing through the air. All that interactivity, plus a constant stream of chatter and hyena-like laughter, and a crowd of smiling people happy to there... It was a summer experience of pure enjoyment!
Audrey Pomeroy ‘09
Hello from Seattle! I have spent the summer immersed in the international community as an intern at the World Affairs Council. We work with the Department of State to facilitate citizen diplomacy—the exchange of ideas among international guests and their professional counterparts here in Seattle. Our office works with over 1,200 visitors annually from 120 different countries. As an intern, I help brainstorm and write proposals for itineraries, do the paperwork on final programs, and (best of all) attend meetings with visitors once they arrive in Seattle.
|Pomeroy (r) with an Eritrean guest (c) and translator (l).|
It has been inspiring and humbling to work with these international professionals. Our visitors are at the cutting edge of business, politics, and society in their home countries, and they are very eager for innovation and discussion.
One woman from Eritrea is starting a farm using sustainable techniques and employs 60 women, a unique enterprise for that region. A journalist from Venezuela met with local media to learn about investigative journalism and the freedom of expression. More than once that day, he noted that quotidian American articles on government, policy, or the economy would bring fatal consequences in his own country. A group from Tunisia and the Philippines came together to discuss environmental protection for marine environments suffering from heavy industry byproducts. We cruised around the Port of Seattle on a Coast Guard clipper and listened to a Dutch harbor patrol commander share ideas on improving harbor security against weapons and human smuggling. Though no meeting has been devoid of friendly jest and banter, conversations always return to a serious central theme: learning from each other to make the world a better place through justice, efficiency, and cooperation.
I’ve come away from these meetings with a sense of optimism. International relations are always complex and never perfect. Yet during these meetings, among the shaking of hands, the laughter, and the earnest exchange of advice and anecdotes, I am convinced that citizen diplomacy is one of the best tools of successful international relations.
It has been an amazing summer. I’ve gained experience handling logistics, preparing information, and representing clients in the professional world. I also have pictures and memories of meeting with people from all over the world, moments I’ll never forget. There is a World Affairs Council-type organization in most major cities, and I would certainly recommend other Davidsonians to consider it as a future summer internship!
Josiah Rich ‘09
In 2005 the allocation for dental health care was 0.0016 percent of the total health care budget for the developing country of Kenya. With so many oral diseases treatable in the early stages, I recognized the need for help with education and treatment, and spent eight weeks in Kenya working as a volunteer with a non-government dental clinic.
|Rich (blue shirt) works on a patient under the supervision of Dr. Tajiri|
I worked as a volunteer about an hour outside Nairobi at the Kijabe Dental Clinic, which is part of the larger Kijabe Hospital complex. The clinic offers very affordable care. An extraction is just over $3 and a filling is just over $10. Patients come from all over the country as well as neighboring countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan. I assisted the two staff dentists with common procedures including check-ups, cleanings, extractions, and fillings. In addition, I worked with the lab technicians making dental appliances.
It was a great experience, and I learned a lot about dentistry and providing health care in developing countries. Part of my work included giving injections and filling cavities. I remember the first filling I did. The drill starting going around and I thought, “Wow, this guy really thinks I know what I’m doing.” But after I was done I thought, “Hey, I actually helped this guy from a problem he’s had for weeks.” It was rewarding to see such immediate results of the care I was giving.
The experience also involved traveling to a remote tribe in eastern Kenya where there is no regular access to dental care at all. Under the supervision of the staff dentist I diagnosed and treated patients, many of whom had been in pain for years. Most of the teeth were so rotten and decayed that the only solution was to extract them. It showed me that even though oral health in Kenya has come a long way, there are still many people who have absolutely no access to dental care.
Throughout the eight weeks I came to a better understanding of many of the problems associated with providing health care in developing countries. I was also able to provide treatment to many of patients.
Owen Bussey '08
As a premed student and Spanish major, I was excited beyond my wildest dreams by the opportunity to make my first European trip this summer, traveling to Spain to enjoy the wonderful culture and history, and to observe medicine and surgery in a local clinic. Adrenalin kept me up all night during the flight from Greensboro to Madrid.
|Bussey (c) framed by two other clinic workers.|
I looked forward to being with the Davidson College group there and then travel to our primary city of Cadiz. I started out in a youth hostel which was nice, but I'll never complain about the size of a dorm room again! I then signed in at the National University Museum for privileges to research my senior thesis on Miguel de Unamuno’s masterpiece book, “San Manuel Bueno Martir (The Good Martyr).”
I met the Davidson group and we spent a week in Madrid visiting the royal palace, the central plaza, the stock exchange, the Congress and the Senate. We also traveled to Segovia and Salamanca. The small port town of Cadiz is a world of its own, with some of the most unique history in Europe. Centuries of occupiers built upon each other are visible in three story archeological digs. The outdoor market in Cadiz is the oldest in Europe, and the town boasts the only examples of Phoenician granite sarcophaguses outside of Greece. Cadiz was one of the cultural centers for Carthage during wars with Rome.
We attended classes in the morning and early afternoon in grammar, composition, art, history and “the beach.” We also stayed with house parents in their apartments. My parents, Raphael and Charo Louro, are welcome in my home anytime!
As a premed student in the U.S. I had observed hundreds of hours of surgeries, rounds, and office visits. I received permission before the trip to do the same observations in the clinic of Nuestra Señora de Salud. The doctors were somewhat hesitant at first because I was an undergrad and Spanish students at my age were already doctors.
The experience became the medical trip of a lifetime! I saw about 45 surgeries during 75 hours of observation, and attended their emergency department as well, several privileges that I could not have received in the United States. Many of the surgeries were new to me, including cesareans, hysterectomies, hernias, and the removal of veins.
After my group left I spent another nine days touring Cadiz and observing surgeries. I will spend two more weeks in Spain researching my thesis, so while one trip is ending, another is about to begin! s.
Amy Jendrek ’08 & Ebony Harley ’09
So, we may not be in another hemisphere, or even in a different country. We are not saving puppies from floods or curing the ebola virus. Not yet, anyways.
|(l-r) Jendrek and Harley at the office|
But from right here in Davidson, N.C., on the fourth floor of the Alvarez College Union, we are changing the world.
Amy says… While abroad in France, I was panicking. I had no money left in my bank account and no way of getting a summer job from so far away. I had thought to interview for a position in the community service office before I left, but chances of getting this “dream job” seemed low, and I wasn’t sure what I would do with myself for a whole three months with no job. One day, an e-mail arrived—I had gotten the job! I would be starting a week after I got back from my European travels, and I was so excited to get to be back on campus, even if no one else was going to be there.
So, I arrived, still a little jet-lagged, and I walked in and saw this loud, funny, ridiculous girl working on the computers outside the community service office…Ebony. Little did I know, things were about to happen.
Ebony says…Here I am, a second semester sophomore, in dire need of a summer service placement. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to go, but I did know that I needed and wanted to serve. So, I thought to apply for the Community Service summer intern position. I would be at Davidson for the entire summer, which didn’t seem so bad because I had spent the previous summer here as a Freedom Schools servant-leader intern.
After my first two weeks, my counterpart, Amy, finally arrived. I was like, FINALLY! I was beginning to get lonely, and now, we could begin to wreak havoc in the newly named “Annex” of the Community Service Office, also known as the fourth floor of the union.
Since that first meeting, we have been working on so many different projects to prepare for the coming year. From recruiting new Bonner Scholars to organizing the New Student Orientation Day of Service, we have had our hands deep in the shaping the future of the community service office.
It is important to both of us to spread and share our love of serving others, and this is the perfect opportunity to do that right here at Davidson. Ninety-two percent of Davidson students participated in community service projects last year. That’s a pretty good number, right? Well, not good enough! We want to catch that last eight percent and open their eyes to all the good they can do (and all the fun they can have!) by working a few hours at a non-profit organization.
Preparing for Engage for Change events and publicity for the office, we have learned about working in an office and doing all the background tasks that can inspire and lead to new things. They say that you should “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” but as the ladies behind it, we have been preparing for the arrival of new students and the encouragement of returning ones, and having a blast doing it.
Michael Auriemma ´10
This summer I found myself a long way from my old job as a cashier at the local supermarket in rural Pennsylvania. Instead, I finished my exams, packed my bags, and moved to Erlangen, Germany, for the summer, where I rented an apartment and am working two full-time jobs with Siemens Medical.
|Auriemma and his parents touring in Germany.|
During normal working hours I am employed by the Image Knowledge Management division, the group responsible for keeping track of the huge number of images and data collected during medical procedures (like an MRI). I was assigned to research image management within the pharmaceutical industry and to contact the heads of the various Siemens Medical divisions for information on their business activities within the pharmaceutical market. I reported my research to my boss in a presentation, and we’ve been working since then on a marketing strategy for image management technology for the pharmaceutical market.
In the evenings, I work as a translator for Siemens MED in Malvern, Penn. I’m kept busy well into the night translating computer software descriptions and operating manuals between German and English.
On the weekends, though, I’m taking full advantage of being on my own in Europe. With the help of the Deutsche Bahn, I have traveled all over Germany. Experiencing traditional Bavarian culture as well as modern Germany, I’ve visited old cities like Nürnberg, Regensburg, and Heidelberg, and the post-WWII cities such as Munich, Stuttgart, and Berlin.
I also enjoyed a week-long visit from my parents, whom I had only seen for two weeks since Christmas break. (I guess an 18 year old can miss his parents once in a while!) Their visit allowed me to enter tourist mode and take a real vacation from the office with a trip highlighted by the Neuschwanstein Castle and the German Alps. Before I head back to the U.S., I’m planning to visit Prague. But if that doesn’t work out, a weekend in the heart of Bavaria never fails!
With my final three weeks in Germany approaching, I’m trying to envision a way to bring home the street-side sausage stands and local breweries. That won’t work, of course, but the experiences I’ll be bringing home from this summer—work-related, personal and cultural—are far more valuable that a summer spent behind a cash register.
I owe thanks to my boss and colleagues at Siemens, who have made me feel at home and showed me what Germany has to offer, and also to my mom, who somehow managed to cut the strings and let me do this.
Allie Coker ‘10
Thanks to the Bonner Scholar summer stipend, I am doing a “summer of service” in Ashford, Conn. I am grateful that the Bonner Program’s objectives accommodate my work at my favorite place in the entire world, and that the program helps me acquire the means to get here.
|Allie Coker '10|
What is there in Ashford exactly? Well, there is a trucker restaurant, a gas station, a small bakery...- Oh yeah, and a place that revives children’s souls. That’s right, here at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, we take care of seriously ill children twenty-four hours a day. I came here to be part of a team, and now that I am honored and privileged to be part of a talented, spirited, and huge-hearted one.
You may ask what exactly are we doing? We are letting our campers fling pudding in our faces as much as they want. We are letting our campers come on stage and burp and walk off. We are letting our campers do pretty much whatever they want so long as everyone here at camp feels safe, respected, and loved.
We are also watching them grow, learn, bond, and, literally, survive against the odds. Ask the campers. Ask the staff. Ask the staff who used to be campers (I’m one of them!). This place is LIFE.
Chris Pross ‘10
What does the word “Vattenfall” mean? That was one of the questions asked during my telephone interview for a summer internship. Fortunately for my summer plans, I knew the answer! It is the Swedish word for “waterfall.”
|Pross stands in a train station underneath the company logo.|
It’s also the name of Europe’s fourth largest electric power utility, with headquarters in Berlin—the city where I wanted to live this summer. I sought an internship with Vattenfall because I would gain valuable work experience, learn about the interesting German/European energy sector, and live an exciting life in one of Europe’s most electrifying capitals.
I am working in the “Politics and Society” department for Vattenfall Europe, a subsidiary of the Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall AB. My department advises the board on political, economic, and social issues, and sustains a network of important players in politics and business.
I have visited a coal mining area in eastern Germany, and worked with new CO2 emissions trading legislation that recently passed the German Bundestag and Bundesrat, the two houses of the German parliament.
I attended parliament when the proposed legislation was debated, which was very interesting since I had immersed myself in the topic and understood the arguments. Once or twice I felt the urge to shout out something, but such behavior is unwelcome, so I disapproved by shaking my head.
At the moment I am helping finish several working papers and accompanying PowerPoint presentations for the department. One concerns the United States energy market, focusing on electricity and heat generation, which are the sectors where Vattenfall Europe conducts most of its business.
This is an interesting summer for Vattenfall and the entire energy sector in Germany and Europe. During the first half of this year, Germany held the leadership positions of both the G8 and the Council of the European Union. This gave German Chancellor Angela Merkel guiding influence in European and world politics, and one of her primary issues was climate change. Necessarily, companies like Vattenfall Europe paid close attention to her initiatives, such as curbing CO2 emission, energy efficiency, and increased usage of renewable energy sources. It was very interesting for me to participate in the discussions internally and externally from the viewpoint of an energy company.
Soon I will leave Berlin behind and depart for a semester in Peru. The next great experience is just around the corner!
Doug Grunwald ‘07
As a recent alumnus, I am still programmed to periodically check the Davidson website for school news and updates. Browsing the home page, I noticed a link to summer stories from current students, who wrote so candidly and passionately about their summer work, travel, and play. Although an ’07, I, too, have a summer story to share. The trip takes place in La Romana, Dominican Republic for one week in early July. However, the temporal and spatial details of the trip are irrelevant, as poverty and hardship are so universal.
|Grunwald and children in the Dominican Republic.|
John Steinbeck once said, “We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip, a trip takes us.” The church mission trip that took me to the DR did not span many weeks or even years nor did I endure any great duress besides muscles aches and dehydration. However, this quote aptly describes the impact that the sights, sounds, and smells of the DR had on me. In retrospect, two decisions that I made took the most contemplation. First, there was the decision to jump on a plane, fly three hours to a foreign land, and work tirelessly in the blazing heat and tangible humidity. In previous years, my travels have taken me to other third-world countries, so I understood the hardships that I would undoubtedly face while there. I knew that the water would be unsafe to drink, that the electricity would be a coin-flip, that the toilets rarely flushed, and that any luxury was itself a luxury. So with a little trepidation, but also excitement, I, along with a group of almost 70 volunteers, left NYC for Santo Domingo.
After spending a week in La Romana, the second hard decision that I faced was simply leaving Santo Domingo on a plane back to the United States. Simple, right? Such an event, while written clearly on the trip itinerary, was one of the hardest to execute: I had seen too much in the DR to ‘simply’ pack up and leave. How could I just forget the faces of the starving children in the poor batays occupied by Haitian sugarcane workers? How could I forget the one-room makeshift homes, the distended bellies, or the orphaned children? As I reflect on my trip, I realize that I will never forget. The small amount of time that I spent in the Dominican Republic was not futile. I helped construct a school, build a hospital, and distribute vitamins to malnourished children. More importantly, I hit some boys a baseball, gave away my beloved Red Sox hat, and made the people smile. Just by being there, I have done much. And now, I have told you my story. Kyle Konrad '10
In mid-July I returned to civilization from my Bonner Scholarship summer commitment in the jungles of the Mache Chindul Ecological Reserve in Ecuador.
|Konrad and a native jungle dweller.|
I had spent five weeks at Bilsa Biological Station in Ecuador as a volunteer with the Jatun Sacha Foundation. I helped with seed collection, reforestation, and community development work to increase awareness of the importance of reforestation and primary forest preservation.
It’s a six hour bus ride from Quito to Quinindé, and another three hour truck ride across a gravel and mud road to La Yé de La Laguna. The trip to Bilsa is impossible in one day, so I spent a night marked by torrential rains at La Laguna with a family on a mud-soaked hill with beautiful views.
In Bilsa, I learned about the injustices of wood companies, who arrive during the three-month dry season when the mud road turns hard. These companies buy a 100-year-old Tangueray tree, considered the mahogany of South America, for $45. The company can then sell it for more than several thousand dollars. The companies depart as quickly as they arrive, leaving local citizens with just enough money to spend at the local bar, and not enough to send their children to colegio in Quininde.
The day I left Bilsa was one of the saddest of my life. I had become so accustomed to the sound of rats crawling on the floor and mosquito netting, and so in love with the people, that I’m finding it difficult to readjust to my regular life.
It’s been a life changing experience. I found a different rhythm to life, happiness, and an appreciation for precious gifts that few ever come to understand.
Jessica Eisenberg ‘08
I felt as though nothing could come close to the excitement I experienced during four months with Davidson’s Classics Semester Abroad last spring. We constantly traveled, exploring sites I only imagined I would visit some day.
|Eisenberg at her boss's desk at the Manhattan Institute.|
In January, a few days before the Classics odyssey began, I found out that I had been accepted as a summer intern at the Manhattan Institute, a market-oriented think tank in New York City. As happy as I was to secure an internship, I was unenthusiastic throughout the spring about the prospect of starting work only a week after I returned to the States. Rather than being outside examining ancient ruins and learning about history and architecture, I would have to sit at the same desk for eight hours a day, five days a week. I assumed the summer experience could never measure up to the exhilaration of the Classics trip.
Looking back, I can’t believe what I was thinking! Even though my internship travels have only consisted of moving from office to office as regular staffers came and went on vacation, I fell in love with the Manhattan Institute within my first week. I have never found an experience to be so rewarding and such a privilege.
I am working with the Center for the American University (CAU), an initiative in its inaugural year that seeks to promote intellectual pluralism on American college campuses. There is a widespread belief that many large universities are dominated by professors who indoctrinate students, teaching them what to think rather than how to think. The CAU seeks to change the face of the university from the inside out by finding and funding professors willing to create campus centers that promote open dialogue and debate.
It is truly rewarding to see how CAU positively influences higher education in America, giving more students an opportunity to engage in well-balanced, open dialogue, and enjoy discussion-oriented classes in a liberal arts atmosphere rarely found at large universities.
I had always been certain that after Davidson I would work for a few years somewhere in the “business realm” in New York City. I now hope to work at a think tank, and eventually make a difference in America. Interning at Manhattan Institute has taught me to open my mind and care about something beyond my comfortable “bubble” in life. The sheer brain power of Manhattan Institute staffers is amazing. I can almost see bright light bulbs constantly popping up over everyone’s heads. They are regularly putting new ideas into action.
The Manhattan Institute inspires me to be more aware of the world around me, to take action and succeed, implementing its mission of “turning intellect into influence.”
Kim Gorie ‘09
Thanks to grants from the Dean Rusk Program and Community Service Office, I spent two months working in an orphanage in the town of Sipe, Sipe, Bolivia, helping with medical care for the sixty-four boys living at the Bolivia Life Center. I assisted in oral surgery, tested their vision, and treated them for lice, warts, and other infections.
|Kim Gorie and Marcelino Garcia|
I also did manual labor at the center, including painting, laying cement, and digging irrigation trenches, worked as night staff in the boys’ dorms, and built relationships with Bolivians that I am maintaining now from the States.
I also hiked in the Andes mountains with ten boys to a beautiful waterfall, ate chicken heart, and learned how to break-dance from the oldest boys. I read “Where the Wild Things Are” in Spanish over and over to the same five-year-old, traveled to villages of unbelievable poverty, made up silly songs with atrocious grammar to wake up the boys in the morning, and bought meals for street children. I welcomeed a new boy off the streets into the Life Center, bringing him the first clean clothes he had worn in over a year, and tucked him into bed his first nights.
I spoke in front of more than 1,000 people at the local church, held the hand of a nine-year-old as he was given stitches in a deplorable hospital, bought birthday gifts for junior high girlfriends, and taught a former street child to write his name.
In between living at various homes, they survived on the streets together before coming to the Life Center three years ago. Joel is now 13 and Marcelino is 10. Joel has the highest grades of any boy at the Life Center, and has dreams of being a doctor. We are currently discussing that, because he wants to live in the US, and I want to live in Bolivia, and we both want to be next-door neighbors!
I am sponsoring Marcelino through Children's International Network, and feel blessed to be a part of both boys’ family. Saying goodbye to them was the most difficult thing I've ever done, but I am thankful to have begun a beautiful relationship with two new brothers!
Please visit the CIN website to learn more.
Emily Hassell '10
I attended the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Wash., for two and a half weeks this summer, learning to blow glass. The campus is an hour north of Seattle hidden away in the lush mountains of the Pacific Northwest where you are able to ignore distractions and let your creativity flourish.
|Hassell in the glass blowing studio.|
It’s a community of about 100 people who produce glass art using a variety of techniques. Founded by the renowned artist Dale Chihuly, Pilchuck is the largest international glass school, attracting people from countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Czech Republic, and Korea.
My beginner class was made up of just ten students from 18 to 77 years old, and was reminiscent of the close interactions between students and teacher at Davidson. Every morning we met in the hot shop, an open-air workshop where instructors showed us how to gather molten glass from a 2000-degree furnace (hot!!!), and made sure we were using our tools correctly.
I made a variety of objects such as paperweights, cups, vases, and sculptural animals. When I was not in the hot shop, I was polishing my work in the cold shop, brainstorming ideas in my sketchbook, and enjoying a gorgeous view of Puget Sound framed by evergreen trees. One of my favorite activities was talking with other students. Meeting people from so many backgrounds was not only enriching, but also helped me to communicate better in the hot shop. A glassblower always has an assistant, and teamwork is vital. I also got to watch educational and entertaining demonstrations by some of the best glassblowers in America.
When I was accepted into the school, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no previous experience, and was among the youngest students there. I just knew I liked art, and wanted to explore a new medium. Luckily I left with only a few cuts and burns, a price well worth the knowledge I acquired of a new and growing art form. I also gained confidence to throw myself into unfamiliar situations. You never know when an adventure might be waiting for you, and it’s never too late to find out.
Rachel Heidmann '08
|Heidmann explores Germany on two wheels.|
Today is my 352nd day abroad as a participant of Davidson’s study abroad program in Würzburg, Germany. Last year on July 28 as I waited to board the plane in the Charlotte airport, I expected that this year would be a good one, but I never expected that the time would go by so quickly.
Now I only have two weeks before I am back in North Carolina with my family, and only six weeks before the next semester at Davidson begins. Summer semester in Würzburg began April 16, the same day I submitted my web tree selection of courses for next semester at Davidson. As I typed in my selections online, I still was not sure what I wanted to take during my final semester in Germany.
While Davidson friends were taking exams in May, I was still trying to remember which room I had to go to for which class, and I wasn’t halfway through the semester when I started to receive e-mails from friends with summer contact info.
I have stayed busy this semester with lecture classes: Tradition and Modernity in the anthropology department, 19th Century French Literature, East European Studies, and a French language practice group. I also participated in a weeklong anthropology excursion to Belgium and the Netherlands.
I’ve also been traveling during the last few weekends to say goodbye to friends throughout Germany. The goodbyes are always hard, but the visits have been great. Highlights include accompanying Eva, my best friend in Würzburg, to her aunt’s birthday party and getting to meet her entire family; visiting friends in Hermannsburg I met two years ago while traveling on a Dean Rusk Program Grant; finding the perfect coffeehouse while visiting friends in Hildesheim; and learning about Hungary from Hungarian friends who fled in 1964 during a visit at their home in a small city in Baden-Wurttemberg.
Now I am starting to plan how to fit my belongings into one suitcase, slowly dismantling my room, and saying goodbyes in Würzburg. It’s hard to focus, but I want to enjoy the last moments here. I am sad to leave, but I am trying not to view it as the end. I remind myself that I have many reasons to return! In the meantime I am excited about seeing family and friends in the US, and adjusting to life at Davidson.
Charlotte Myers '10
At the age of 10 my older sister was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that is characterized by severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and growth retardation. Watching my sister’s struggle with the debilitating illness has motivated me to pursue a career in medicine.
| Myers in the laboratory.|
Last March I applied to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) for funding to conduct summer research on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), a general term that refers to two chronic diseases: Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In May I received a $2,500 Student Research Fellowship Award from CCFA to research growth failure in children with IBD.
I have spent my summer working in Dr. Robert Cooney’s lab in the Department of Surgery at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Penn., studying circulating insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) produced in the liver.
Previous scientific studies have shown that inflammatory substances called cytokines block the production of IGF-I in children with Crohn’s disease, so IGF-I may play a major role in causing impaired growth in these patients.
I have worked to test this hypothesis by studying transgenic mice that overexpress circulating IGF-I, trying to learn whether they will be less susceptible to inhibited muscular and skeletal growth caused by IBD. If the results show that normal growth is restored by correcting the deficit of circulating IFG-I, future therapies that address the issue of IGF-I can be developed.
The research is ongoing, and we have reached no conclusions so far. But I hope to return to Dr. Cooney’s lab next summer to continue the research. Ultimately I hope to attain a better understanding of the effects of growth hormones and liver and muscle cell resistance to help in the development of more effectual treatment methods for pediatric IBD.
Aaron Couch ‘09
Plenty of travels for me this summer! I recovered from exams with a European vacation with my family. We visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Switzerland, Paris, and London. (Switzerland was my favorite!) After a couple of days at home in Wheeling, W.Va., I came back to Davidson.
|Couch in Bolivia with a young friend.|
Dr. Greta Munger of the psychology department and her husband Dave recruited me as the summer intern/administrator for their popular psychology web-blog, Cognitive Daily.
I was in Dr. Munger’s “Psychology Goes to the Movies” seminar in the spring, and one of our class projects was learning to write about psychology research “blog-style” – that is, in a language that everyone can understand, with clear illustrations and references to original research. Many of our compositions were accepted for posting to Cognitive Daily. I posted those to the blog, contributed many of my own posts and comments, and kept blog-spammers at bay.
In July, I had the awesome opportunity to travel on a mission trip to Cochabamba, Bolivia, with a group of 25 amazing people from Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, NC. We spent 10 days at the Bolivia Life Center, an orphanage for boys, working on construction projects, playing with the boys, and visiting impoverished villages to reach out to children there through ministry, games, songs, and skits.
There is a lot of need in Bolivia, and our efforts and prayers truly made a visible impact. Even more so, it was a life changing and humbling experience for everyone on our team. Also working at the Bolivia Life Center this summer as interns are Kim Gorie ’09, and Jon Wolf ’09.
Besides that, I’ve worked full time on campus for ITS, mainly in the ResNet office. I primarily communicate with incoming students and their parents to help ease their concerns about computing needs for the fall. There’s also a lot to take care of in networking the computers of students on campus for the summer.
I’ll continue working with ResNet until mid-August. When the fall semester starts I’ll be a hall counselor on Third Watts, and I’m excited about finally meeting my residents and getting to know them—and helping them get to know Davidson.
Leslie Buechele ‘08
Hi from D.C.! I’m interning in the publications department of the Pan American Health Organization, the oldest public health organization in the world. I’m among 26 summer interns at PAHO, including people from all over the globe— India, Afghanistan, Brazil, Haiti, Madagascar, Canada, Liberia and Colombia. They also represent all walks of life. Some are married with families. Many have already obtained MDs, PhDs, and masters degrees. There are several Fulbright Scholars. And then there’s me: a US undergraduate hoping to learn as much as I can.
|Buechele, with red hair, and other PAHO interns pose for a group photo at a reception in their honor.|
Every morning I step into an office filled with some of the kindest and brightest people I have ever met. We all share a common vision—one that transcends nationality, language and age. We want the horrible inequities in this world erased. We want women to enter the workforce without fighting discrimination. We want the pangs of hunger to subside. We want diseases treated. We want the violence bred from instability to end, and crippled health sectors fixed. We want normal life expectancy rates and clean water and healthy, fruitful lives for every citizen in the 45 nations and territories in the Americas.
The publication department addresses these issues by placing vital information in the hands of the health care workers and individuals that need it most. I’ve been working on Health in the Americas, a two-volume, quinquennial publication considered the most important and most highly consulted book produced by PAHO. Volume I is an analysis of the health conditions from a regional perspective, and Volume II breaks down the same topics by individual country. Both are heavy with graphs and figures, and contain commentary from prominent figures in public health on current conditions. I’ve been re-creating figures and graphs for the typesetter and synthesizing quotes and themes for text boxes. I also have a project of my own: to create an academic study guide for Health in the Americas to be used as a classroom tool in graduate programs of public health. The idea is to make the publication more accessible and place it memorably in the hands of future doctors, government officials, and public health care workers.
Besides contributing to the publication, I’m participating fully in the intern program itself. I’ve attended hearings on cervical cancer in the Capital, the launch of the ONE campaign, and briefings at the IDB, IMF, State Department and World Bank. I’m also helping plan and orchestrate a panel discussion on culture as an instrument to health to benefit ServeHaiti. We have health specialists from the Ministry of Health in Brazil and Canada, Georgetown and NIH serving as speakers, and a host of special guests.
Although DC is wonderful, I miss Davidson. See you in the fall!
Josh Carson ‘09
Having survived the barrage of spring semester exams, I found myself in Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, about to leave the United States for the first time in my life. At that point, I didn’t know the amazing experiences that awaited me on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
|Carson in a masked performance at the Accademia dell'Arte.|
For eight weeks this summer, thanks to generous grants from the Dean Rusk Program and Fujita, I studied physical and masked theatre at the Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy. It was quite different from anything in my limited prior theatrical experience. We were thrust onto a stage where words were prohibited. Always, we wore masks that negated facial expression, losing the part of our body most crucial to communication. Our job was to make our mask animate with a subtlety that would cause an audience to wonder if the mask grinned, frowned, or gasped.
And we failed. Many times. Our guest instructor, Luciano, quite often told us exactly how we had failed, to the point of exasperation. He was blunt about it. As a result, we gained a new found (and profound) appreciation for the painstaking exactness, detail, and skill inherent to commedia dell’arte. When working on one particular scene, we spent at least twelve hours choreographing just the first six lines.
But the ultimate result of our hard work became one of the most rewarding times of my life. At the end of our eight weeks, we performed in the Arezzo International Festival in front of an international audience. Each of us composed a five-minute physical piece, sans speech. Performing my creation at the festival was one of the most thrilling and novel experiences I’ve ever had on a stage.
Aside from the challenges and delights of class, we had ample opportunity to explore the amazing country of Italy, a nation rich with regional cultures, artistic and architectural wonders, and (perhaps most importantly) amazing food.
Highlights included seeing the Statue of David in Florence, cruising Venice’s Grand Canal, entering St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and tasting the best tiramisu I’ve ever had in a trattoria in the Tuscan town of Cortona. Moments such as these made this trip wonderful, memorable, and hopefully the first of many more great ventures abroad.
Joel Fineman '10
I’m taking two semesters of general physics at Harvard University this summer. Although I chose to attend a small liberal arts college for my four-year college experience, I was curious about Ivy League, large, metropolitan universities.
|Fineman in costume for "The Great Debater."|
After being here for almost four weeks, I can safely say that I made the right choice by attending Davidson. Although it’s fun to hear reactions when people learn I’m at Harvard, I miss the safety and comfort of Davidson. For fear of theft I’m always doubling back to my spot in the library to collect my belongings for a quick trip to the cafe outside, and I don't like walking twenty minutes to class. No one says hello as you pass, either.
Also, the swarms of tourists make the campus seem like an amusement park instead of a school. My bird's eye view of the physics professor from my seat halfway up the auditorium just doesn’t compare to the sitting a few feet away from Dr. Nutt in G10 (the largest classroom in the chemistry building).
Despite all that, I am enjoying myself. I had an opportunity to appear as an extra in the Denzel Washington movie, “The Great Debaters.” And since my class is so easy, there’s lots of free time to explore Cambridge and Boston with my international friends. I have to admit that Boston does have a couple of legs up on Charlotte!
I’ll be happy to return to Davidson, my home, in August as a warm place where people look happier!
Cherita Jeffreys ‘08
This summer I am interning with the Fire and Rescue division of the Department of Insurance in the North Carolina State Fire Marshall’s office. The best part of my job are the office’s “Car Seat Safety Check” events. Each month our SAFE KIDS NC van travels to different counties to inspects car seats for parents who bring them in. I have learned that a majority of parents are improperly buckling their kids in car seats, and such mistakes have cost children their lives during bad car accidents.
|Jeffreys and the van.|
But certified car seat checkers in the SAFE KIDS van show parents the correct way to install car seats, and help prevent infant deaths. In addition, if a particular type of seat has been recalled for safety reasons the seat checkers may donate an approved seat to the family. This was really cool and noble to me!
Will Kuchinski '08
In my previous summer work at Food Lion, a bank, and Habitat for Humanity, I never had the experience of teaching and dealing with kids. This summer I decided to give it a go, and left the blue collar workforce to spend ten weeks outdoors in the state of Maine as a counselor.
|Will Kuchinski '08|
I am at a coed camp for children nine to fifteen years of age, teaching rowing—the sport I have grown to love at Davidson. I’ve rowed for Davidson College Crew for five semesters, and wanted to continue enjoying it during the summer instead of daydreaming about it in some office.
It’s rewarding to share my joy for crew with others. It’s almost mind-blowing when a kid with no previous experience tells me that crew is his favorite activity after rowing for only one week. A lot of these kids are at the top of their class in school, and may some day be rowing for Ivy League schools and other top programs in the nation. That makes my Davidson crew experience even more rewarding. Crew is my perfect sport and I love sharing its perfection to others.
|Photo of a Buddhist monk and teacher in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, taken by Amy Killian.|
Amy Killian '08
Thanks to a generous research grant from the Dean Rusk Program, I have spent the past two months studying Buddhist political movements for human rights and democracy. Moving between Thailand, India, and Cambodia has kept me on my toes. Each country has a new culture, people, and history to discover... not to mention new and interesting cuisine. Deep-fried spiders, anyone?
Between bus trips and train rides I have met some amazing people working for social justice. They are lay people, monks, men, women, Thai, Khmer, Tibetan, Indian, Vietnamese, young and old. They are motivated by strong Buddhist convictions of compassion to work for equality and self-determination. Their religion may be different from ours, but their hope for their people is very much the same.
Oddly enough, one of the biggest challenges is trying to explain what I'm doing. Upon telling a fellow American traveler about my experiences, she asked whether I was working on my master's or doctorate degree. I explained I was still an undergraduate and she was shocked. "What college funds undergraduate research?" she asked, amazed.
I keep forgetting how rare it is to have a college support, both academically and financially, for experiences like this one. I look forward to returning to campus and hearing stories from classmates who were scattered elsewhere around the world, studying, interning, volunteering, with Davidson support. Thanks to Davidson for this amazing opportunity, and see you in August!
Katie Eastland ‘08
You know you're a dork when you receive an email entitled “Amazon.com recommends New Latin Syntax and more." Am I supposed to laugh or cry at this? Does Amazon think I should see what "more" than Latin they recommend? Is this a subtle attempt to tell me that there's a world beyond declensions and conjugations and--gasp!--the passive periphrastic?
|Katie Eastland posing with Washington's "Metro Elephant" before heading home to her books.|
Well, whatever your intention, dear Amazon, I must tell you that Latin is alive and strong where I live. On the days I don't go into the office, I spend my hours with Latin lexica as I wade through two pet projects given me to enjoy and complete by two of my pastors.
The first project is the translation of a minor work, fifteen pages, penned by Reformed theology superstar and hypochondriac Zacharias Ursinus. The second is the review of the premiere English translation of Sacra Theologia by Dudley Fenner, a sixteenth century English Puritan.
Should you be reading my words, Amazon, rest assured that I am doing other things too. On some days, I even border on being cool with my shiny silver stilettos, which are from Rome.
During the weekdays I take the metro to Farragut West, from where I walk to my place of internship: the offices of The Weekly Standard. At this front-running conservative magazine, I do all kinds of things--mailing, faxing, editing, working the phones (or, in the words of Tom Wolfe, talking into the "electronic doughnut").
On a more creative note, I write art reviews and make illustrations of literary figures for print. Earlier this summer I went on the appropriately week-long Weekly Standard cruise to Alaska, where I met a real person named Hunky Dory.
Much to my delight (and possibly to Amazon's chagrin), a knowledge of Latin comes in handy at the office. Exemplum gratia:
One Friday night, I proofread a sentence that recalled the famous opening of Caesar's Gallic Wars: Omnia Gallia in tres partes divisa est ...All of Gaul is ...is ...divided in three parts! I remembered the joy I had when translating this, my first line of Latin literature, in seventh grade. But the sentence I proofread only halfway recalled Caesar's words. So, I sculpted it with a few red pen edits to make it better parody the Latin.
Later that night, the author stopped by my cubicle to say he liked my changes. He even thought they were "funny." And then, I realized that all those so-called impractical things I'd learned and been made fun of (ahem, indirectly taunting email from Amazon.com) had a separate and golden advantage. They were tiny diamonds I could pull out of my pockets from time to time, gifts I had collected from classrooms and books and teachers. Their inclusion in the so-called "practical" world of publication may seem like a small step; but, for this Classics major, it was altogether lovely. As you can see, dear Amazon, life may be short, but Latin, like art, is long.
Suzie Eckl '09
In the sixth grade I wrote a persuasive letter to my parents explaining the benefits of owning a dog. In class I received an “A” for my efforts, but my parents were not swayed.
|Suzie and Al go grocery shopping.|
But this summer, finally, I became a pet owner. “Al” is his name, and making someone’s life easier will someday be his game. He is a black lab-golden retriever mix, a Future Guide Dog, sent to us from the Guide Dog Foundation in New York. He even has his own business cards!
Al has definitely boosted my spirits, but his presence in someone else’s life will mean so much more a year or two down the road. Before I return home from school next summer, Al will be returned to the Guide Dog Foundation to undergo final training to assist a blind owner.
In the meantime, my family teaches him the basics, and he goes where we go. Everywhere. The supermarket. The bank. The movies. The mall. Baseball games. Church…
At less than four months old, Al has command of a human vocabulary that would make any dog proud. Within two days, he knew “sit.” A few more days and “down” was a cinch. Now he knows “come,” “stay,” “leave it,” “under,” “outside,” “inside,” “about,” “forward,” and “release.” And, of course, “No!” Al is even learning to relieve himself not only outside on concrete, but on command. That’s impressive!
I love watching people smile when they see Al. We make instant friends wherever we go. Spotting Al in his yellow cape that bears the Foundation’s logo, people flock to pet him and ask us about the experience. I’m surprised at how many say that they’ve always wanted to be volunteer trainers, and even more surprised by comments like, “I just think it’s amazing what you guys are doing,” or “You’re really making an impact on someone’s life.”
The public reaction reminds me of why we have Al in the first place, and those reminders will make it a little easier to eventually say goodbye to him.
Less than 50% of dogs pass all of their tests to become guide dogs. The best become breeders and guide dogs, while those that flunk return to their original families. Those in between may serve in other capacities, like comforting wounded soldiers in Iraq.
Wherever Al ends up, I’m sure he’ll continue to make people smile. It’s impossible not to. He’s the most handsome dog you’ve ever seen, and I tell him so every day! It’s too bad his blind owner won’t get to see him, but I’m sure that he or she will find more to love about him than even I have.
Andrew Gorang '09
I am spending my summer back home in Utah working for Mayor Peter Corroon of Salt Lake County, Utah, a job very much involved in statewide politics. The county includes 40 percent of Utah’s population, and the largest city in the state. It employs over 7,000 people at places as diverse as the Sheriff’s Office and six public golf courses, and recruits over 33,000 volunteers annually to help on community projects sponsored by organizations like Meals-on-Wheels and Big Brother/Big Sister.
Working in an office that coordinates the operations of such a large organization has taught me to appreciate the civil service. Working for a Democrat in one of the most Republican states in the Union has taught me the value of diplomatic negotiation.
|Mayor Corroon takes a phone call while posing with Gorang (r) and other staffers prior to the start of a July 4 parade.|
My official job title is “Assistant to the Intergovernmental Affairs Specialist,” but that does little to explain what my internship actually entails. Since joining the Mayor’s staff, I have done everything from buy sandwiches for lunch meetings to write policy papers for the Mayor, to sit in on meetings with the District Attorney and the County Council, and voice my opinion on important issues.
Lately, my main focus has been public education, since the state’s two largest school districts (which fall within the county) are considering dividing. The issue is both controversial and complex. In my attempt to learn more about it, I’ve read feasibility reports and polling data, legal opinions and academic studies. I have spoken with teachers, constituents and legislators. I’ve made multiple trips to special legislative meetings at the State Capitol, and I’ve sat in on closed-door sessions with the County Council.
My work has led me to conclude that public service is difficult. There have been times I’ve felt like pulling out my hair while discussing an issue with someone whose beliefs or motivation are obstinately different from my own. Yet I have also realized that my job is incredibly rewarding. The “thank yous” from persons whose lives have been bettered by the services the government provides, and the realization that the daily actions of the county help to affect positive change, makes the long days and stressful schedule worthwhile.
When I return to Davidson, I foresee having an increased ability to balance a schedule of classes and extracurricular activities, as well as increased ability to understand the views of others. Working for the county government has given me cause to be thankful for a political system that allows everyone to share their views to reach effective consensus. And I believe my summer internship has strengthened the preparation Davidson has given me to live a life of leadership and service.
Kate "Poppet" Graham '08
I have had a lot of summer jobs, doing everything from catering to construction. But this summer I received an opportunity of a lifetime—to spend my summer as a swashbuckling pirate on the Chesapeake Bay!
My brother Benjamin "Scruffy" (his pirate name ) Graham ‘08, has been working on the Sea Gypsy IV for the past couple summers, and finally a spot opened up for me to join his motley band of pirates. Seven days a week and six trips a day, we paint our faces, dress kids up like pirates, and set sail to battle the evil Pirate Pete with water cannons in order to find the hidden treasure in the Chesapeake Bay.
| Graham casts off the Sea Gypsy IV|
I get to yell and scream and play with kids all day, and get paid for it! As someone who wants to work with children after college, this is a great opportunity to discover my strengths and weaknesses. Even more rewarding is the opportunity to foster young imaginations. Instead of sitting in front of a video game, the kids are outside exercising their creativity.
I may end up talking like a pirate for the rest of my life, but that’s OK, because this is truly the best summer job I have ever had!
Nicole Keroack ‘08
After a long semester living out of a suitcase on the Davidson Classics Semester Abroad, I decided to continue my travels with the help of the Stephen Keller Memorial Scholarship—an independent scholarship founded by some Davidson grads. I traveled to Germany, Greece and Switzerland. In Greece, I met up with the Grecian branch of the Keller family.Stephen Keller, a Davidson grad and best friend of the men who set up the scholarship, met and fell in love with a Greek woman before he passed away. The scholarship was established in his memory.I met his widow and his children, and immersed myself in the culture and delicious food!
Germanywas an entirely different experience. Finally alone after months of communal living, I learned to enjoy solo traveling. I spent about 3-1/2 weeks in Germany and Switzerland, studying architecture and art history, and visiting some of the world's best art exhibitions and museums. It was an eye-opening experience.
|Keroack at the Bauhaus school in Dessau, Germany.|
I am now gratefully situated in my home in Gainesville, Fla., where I raid the UF libraries for information relating to my thesis research on stadiums. I am a Cultural Studies major, my self-designed program deals in art, archaeology, and architecture—all things well covered at UF.Next week I will be traveling up to Boston to do some additional reading buried in the archives at Harvard. After that, it’s a few more weeks at home before I return to volleyball preseason, and then school.
I had never really traveled much before this summer, and I am relishing the opportunity to see other countries and cities in the States, as well as the chance to see so much fabulous art and architecture. This is truly a summer to remember!
Caroline Curtiss '10
This summer rivals my busy lifestyle at Davidson! My days typically begin at 5 a.m., rising for work as a barista at Starbucks. I’ve also been staying in shape for another year on the Davidson swimming team, and have been practicing in the evenings at the end of the two classes I’m taking at the University of Colorado-Denver.
One is an easy, boring lab science course with 80 students who don't really want to be there. Some are students from other prestigious colleges and universities just filling distribution or core requirements.
One day recently the professor gave us a take-home portion of a test. I read the instructions and noticed that it said nothing about being open-note or open-book, or not being so. When I asked the professor if it was open-note, she and the entire class responded with laughter.
“Of course it's open note! It's take home,” she replied. “Like I would be dumb enough to give a class a non-open note take-home. Everyone would cheat. What would you do, say it was on your honor?"
I responded with "Yes, actually." She looked at me incredulously. I started to explain that that’s the norm at the school I attend the other nine months of the year. Other students looked at me in confusion.
I gave up explaining as they continued to laugh or toss comments such as "On a take-home it is assumed that you use every means possible to get the answers." The girl sitting next to me asked again a few minutes later: "So, do you sign something saying that you didn't cheat?" I began explaining that we sign a lot of things saying that. She didn't get it, and I gave up explaining it to her. It’s another example of how our Honor Code is unique.
But the summer hasn’t been all work. I love the outdoors and exploring the Colorado mountains, and have been camping in the wilderness with friends. During the first weekend in July, I hiked in the shadows of several “fourteeners.” I'll also be traveling in August on a sailing trip in Vancouver with family. We'll be sailing all day and enjoying restaurants along the coastline. The rest of the summer looks promising, too, but I'm stoked for another year at Davidson!
Audrey Cundari ‘08
Greetings from sunny and hot Concord, N.C. Geographically, I’m only 10 miles east of Davidson, but for all intents and purposes, I’m worlds away from classrooms and labs.
I’m working for Evernham Motorsports. We build engines for the #9, #10, and #19 cars on the NASCAR Nextel Cup Circuit (that’s Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs, and Elliot Saddler), as well as for Petty Enterprises.
|Cundari in the engine room.|
Life at the shop is exciting, to say the least. I’m only the fourth female employee in a shop of 86 men, all of whom have a profound love for anything with an engine capable of reaching RPMs and horse powers far exceeding those of my modest Honda CR-V. The drone of engines undergoing durability testing, the clank and buzz of power tools, and the aroma of motor oil and gasoline welcome me to the shop each and every morning, and leave with me in the evening.
I was hardly prepared for the job. I couldn’t distinguish between a camshaft and a crankshaft, let alone name more than a handful of race drivers. Thankfully, my boss understood that, although my physics background would serve me well at research and development meetings, what I really needed was some hands-on experience with these 500-lb., 800+ horsepower hulking beauties.
My first assignment was in “tear-down,” learning about the inner workings of engines as they are meticulously disassembled, cleaned, inspected, and documented before there are eventually re-built and shipped out for the following week’s race. A time-consuming and expensive process indeed!
Upon completion of my “break-in” period, the engineering department has put me to work documenting engine failures and investigating their causes, as well as writing up test reports on new experimental research engines.
This summer job has afforded me with the opportunity to see science applied to the max. As a result, I hope to pursue a master’s degree in engineering after Davidson. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying the purr of engines that cost nearly as much as my college education, and the excitement of knowing that I’ve contributed to something that millions of race fans enjoy each and every weekend.
Jessica Givens ‘10
Anticipating an English major, I was determined to gain insight into the world of journalism this summer. In May, I got the opportunity to begin interning at “Learning Matters” in New York City, a PBS division that uses media to encourage and enrich public dialogue about politics and education.
|Givens at the Peabody Award ceremony.|
I began by assisting researchers in composing documentaries, and by helping producers with assignments like filming interviews, digitizing audio tapes, and working alongside John Merrow, a renowned journalist who reports about youth and education.
I was also invited to the George Foster Peabody award ceremony, which recognizes excellence in radio and television broadcasting. Although I was amazed to have met accomplished people such as Billie Jean King, Spike Lee, Bob Costas, and Aaron McGruder, the Peabody Award invitation was astonishing. I was honored to witness this important event that brings together creative forces from many professional fields dedicated to using media for the greater good. Many of the attendees at the Peabody Awards talked about their experiences in writing, producing, and reporting, and inspired me to find my own passion in the field of journalism.
My experience has taught me more than just the importance of journalism. After constructing documentaries on the subjects of America's public schools, bilingual education, healthcare for children, and the No Child Left Behind Act, I have a newfound respect for people who use their passion to emphasize the importance of issues that are being ignored.
It is essential for college students to confront and discuss these issues. My experience has made me appreciate what so many Davidson students commit themselves to do—using their own passions and talents to improve the community of Davidson and world beyond.
Susan Rockwell '08
It has been an international summer for me! After spending a week in London to see my Dad’s rock band play, I headed to Athens, where I’m studying with New York University for six weeks.
|Rockwell (r) at the Parthenon with her friend Zenobia.|
The first several days were brutally hot. Athens was recorded as the hottest place on the planet one day, at a blistering 116 degrees. Luckily, the heat wave broke so we are free to be outside and explore the city, which is a beautiful combination of the ancient and modern.
We visited the Acropolis in the first week and had a private guided tour of the Parthenon, which is closed to the public due to a large restoration project. We also got a chance to visit the excavation site at the ancient Agora (the original marketplace) and spoke with the archeologist heading up the project.
On the weekends, we usually head out of the city to see other ancient sites. We visited the ruins at Mycenae, the archeological site at Delphi (home of the Oracle of Apollo), and saw Antigone
Still to come? As a reward for finishing midterms this coming week, we are taking a five-day trip to the isle of Santorini. We’ll wrap up the trip with two free weekends to travel around the islands at our own pace.
Because of the gorgeous weather, Greeks stay up late enjoying the cool evenings, eating outside at local tavernas or going out to the open-air movie theaters. There are about 35 students on the program, and everyone is fun and enthusiastic about being here!
Trevàn M. Rankin '08
My summer as a participant of the UNC-Chapel Hill Medical Education Development program has not only exposed me to a rigorous medical school curriculum, my first human dissection, and advanced clinical shadowing, but has given me a fresher perspective of my role as an aspiring physician, a student at Davidson College and a leader in my community.
This experience was unique in that I had the opportunity to be surrounded by aspiring students like myself who are not JUST minorities, but are minorities pursuing careers in medicine. My confidence level as a young doctor has been elevated, and I’ve been motivated to initiate a Future Professionals group at Davidson to recruit, maintain, and inform students (with a strong emphasis in minority populations) of how we can change the dynamics in Davidson and elsewhere.
Moreover, for this group is open to all students who are going through (or will soon be going through) the medical/dental/pharmacy/graduate school process. Issues such as the MCAT/DAT/PCAT, how to effectively utilize AMCAS (the application service to apply to medical school), what to expect in a medical/dental/pharmacy/graduate interviewing process, etc. are topics for discussion!
Posted By: Bill Giduz