Happy Birthday to Dean San Francisco. Being so smart must make you look younger. Here’s to many more wonderfully full years!
USE YOUR SUMMER TO APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIPS!
A gentle reminder that fall scholarship deadlines will come up faster than you anticipate.
Internal deadlines for Fulbright, Rhodes, Marshall, and Mitchell are all early September.
FULBRIGHT: Fully-Funded Year Abroad for Research or English Teaching Assistantship (open to U.S. citizens)
RHODES: funds up to three years of graduate work at Oxford (open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals) http://www.rhodesscholar.org/
MARSHALL: fund up to two years of graduate work at a British university (open to U.S. citizens) http://www.marshallscholarship.org/
MITCHELL: funds one year of graduate work in Ireland (open to U.S. citizens)
GATES-CAMBRIDGE: funds up to three years of graduate work at Cambridge (open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals)
Honors Alumna, Jaclyn Canas-Carrell, receives the honor of being named and Integrated Scholar.
Well done, Dr. Canas-Carrell
My reasons for taking a service learning class were rather selfish, truth be told. I wanted to do something to lessen the guilt that comes with being a privileged expat brat (I guess you could say I was more interested in the service than the learning). Call me an easy mark, but when I travel, I constantly feel like I should apologize for resembling the wealthy tourists who walk around like they own the place à la Rudyard Kipling. Don’t get me wrong, I had always known my family was doing better than some, but hadn’t realized exactly how well until I started going on trips without my parents. In Phnom Penh, our Habitat group built houses for people who had previously lived in the city dump. As in, called the dump home. In Bali, my friends and I had to weave our way through crowds of 10-year-olds who had just been released from their shift at the manufacturing plant. In Ho Chi Min city, we listened to translated stories from the orphans we were working with about hawking cheap souvenirs to help pay for food. All of these people try so hard and have so little, while I have the time and ability to do so much more. I saw this class and figured, service, cultural credit, and FYE all in one? Score!
I don’t really know what I expected from the class, but I certainly enjoyed both the class and the service. I chose to do St. Benedict’s, which did not exactly line up with my vision of a soup kitchen (mainly because there was no soup). Again, I didn’t really expect much, so I suppose you could say the experience exceeded my expectations.
Perhaps the most eye-opening part of the whole experience was being able to interact with the clientele as though class wasn’t an issue. They’re people just the same as the rest of us, but sometimes it feels like society assigns them a status akin to that of the untouchables in the Indian caste system. While that seems like an extreme comparison, very few people talk to or even make eye contact with these people on the street; in fact, many go out of their way to avoid them. St. Benedict’s gave me a chance to bypass those social barriers and actually talk to some of the people.
I feel like this didn’t so much alter my perception of the poor but my future actions towards them. Abstractly, I’ve always known they’re just people with less money. In practice, however, I could never make my actions mirror those thoughts; in other words, I was one of those people who never looked at the poor while walking down the street. I believe my personal experience will make it easier for me to see them as people and not a label, and treat them as such.
Here, to whet your appetite, is a selection of commencement quotes from writerly types. If you like what you read, there’s plenty more where that came from.
A few photos from this weekends’ commencement ceremonies by Susan Tomlinson
Congratulations to all of our Spring 2014 Honors College graduates.
We are so proud of you and are extremely excited to see what you do as you enter into the next phase of making your dreams a reality.
Erin Van Pelt
Honors College Faculty and Staff End of semester Celebration
The Ukraine is not the most likely place to run into Honors College alumni, but in July of 2013, alumnus Connor Threlkeld participated in the State Department-funded Ukraine Media Partnership Program(UMPP), which sent him to Ukraine for 10 days. He tells us that if not for his Honors College experience he might have missed the opportunity, stating, “I think the biggest way my time at Texas Tech and the Honors College helped me was by preparing me to take on a challenge like the opportunity to travel to Ukraine.”
He explained, “Before college, I was rather introverted and conservative, and there is no way I would have been confident enough to say “absolutely, let’s do this!” The idea of traveling 5,500 miles to a former Soviet Republic, without knowing the language, the cuisine, or any of the people I would be meeting would have terrified me into turning down the opportunity. (If it was Paris or London, Rome or Beijing, it would have been an easy sell, but the 9th largest city in Urkaine?) But the challenging academic environment provided by the Honors College made me more confident in myself and my abilities and turned my primary fear of the uncertainty involved into a fear of missing the opportunity of a lifetime if I stayed home.”
Connor’s journey actually began in December 2005, when he graduated from the TTU Honors College and began a career in the newsroom of The Augusta Chronicle, the daily newspaper in Augusta, Georgia. The Chronicle is owned by Morris Communications which also owns over 30 other newspapers, including theLubbock Avalanche Journal and the Amarillo Globe News. “The August Chronicle was the third newspaper of the Morris Communications newspaper chain to take part in the Ukraine Media Partnership Program,” Threlkeld said, ”At the time, we had a couple of Romanians on our online staff, and it was believed having a couple of Eastern Europeans available to participate would be helpful. The paper was accepted for the program, but our Romanians left the Chronicle prior to the start of the exchange. So then it became a task of finding the best staff members who were qualified to speak on the subjects of interest to our partner newspaper, and who were willing to travel to Ukraine.”
Unlike the paper, Threlkeld did not apply for the program, he was invited. He states, “I was aware that two members of the newspaper staff had gone to Ukraine in May, and I knew they sent people back here a month later, but I was not aware the program would continue beyond that. I had not heard very much about it. Three weeks before I left on my trip, my boss called me into his office, asked if I had a passport, and asked if I was willing to go the Ukraine. He told me they had a lot of questions about online work, and said I was the best person to send to answer their questions.
"It was completely out of the blue, and while I was rather intimidated by the whole idea (having never traveled beyond a couple of cross-border trips a few miles into Mexico and Canada); I knew I would regret passing it up for the rest of my life if I did not go. Three weeks later, I was on a plane.”
The plane was headed to Kiev, and from there his journey would take him to Mykolaiv, also known as Nikolayev.
In local tradition, recently married couples place a lock on the swan statue, then throw the key down the hill, as a symbol of their love and commitment.
Threlkeld with, “my Ukrainian artist friend, Sergei.” They were touring a theater in Nikolayev, where Sergei designed some of the costumes and sets.
Threlkeld told the Weekly, “The main mission of the UMPP is to have American media outlets work with partner news organizations to strengthen their operations. In Ukraine, there was no independent media during the Soviet era, and even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was not until the Orange Revolution in 2004-2005 when media gained some of the basic freedoms considered essential in the United States. So there are a lot of small, independent media outlets in the country with only a few years of experience, and who compete against the much larger, long established, more powerful and better funded state-run newspapers that still exist. Most of them do not own their own presses, so they rely on the state-run paper in town for printing services. Our partner newspaper, Nikolayev Novosti, was established in the early 1900s, and is one of five competing newspapers in a city of 500,000, with a total staff of around 15 and a number of freelancers. So the goal is to determine where their weaknesses are, and teach them best practices to improve their operations.”
When asked if he foresaw the current conflict in Ukraine, and our alumnus said, “I honestly knew very little about Ukraine prior to my trip. It’s just a part of the world that unfortunately doesn’t get much attention unless something bad is happening, like Chernobyl, and most of the attention from the Euromaidan did not come until after my trip. By the time I accepted the invitation to go, I had two weeks to prepare, but a previously planned nine-day family vacation to rural Pennsylvania and little internet access limited what I could learn in advance. I was reading state department advisories and travel guides on my tablet while on the flight over.”
In 2014, Threlkeld returned to Texas Tech University to share his Ukraine experiences with his former journalism professors. He tells us that the IREX group, which runs the Ukraine media Partnership Program either already has or has plans to offer media programs in Azerbaijan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Jordan, Macedonia, Iraq, Moldova, Mozambique, Russia, Rwanda and Somalia. Some programs have been shut down due to conflicts in the region.