Natalie Klackle, a Grand Valley political science major, was one of 12 U.S. students selected by the Saudi Arabian government to participate in a student fellowship program.
The Greenville native was chosen by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Higher Education to participate in a fellowship program in which students will attend formal meetings, official visits, and cultural experiences in the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This is a competitive opportunity for students who have participated in the Model Arab League simulation, which Grand Valley hosts every winter. The delegation was selected by the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations, based in Washington, D.C.
Klackle participated in MAL last year, representing Saudi Arabia at the Model Grand Valley hosts and United Arab Emirates when GVSU competed at the National Model. She received an award at the Michigan Model for representing Saudi Arabia on the Council of Environmental Affairs, and the Saudi Arabian delegation also won an award.
Majd Al-Mallah, associate professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies encouraged Klackle to apply. “It’s a great opportunity for our students to be selected for such international opportunities. I know Natalie will represent Grand Valley very well,” said Al-Mallah.
Klackle said: “I am most looking forward to experiencing Saudi Arabian culture first hand. Books only provide so much information, and this will be the first time I have left North America!”
She and others from the delegation will meet with government, university and nonprofit officials; they will also have opportunities to tour the country.
Zoe Kilbourne, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, has a passion for the medical field and public/community health and how they tie together. One of her main goals when she first started college was to study abroad. After some independent
research, she discovered a program in Denmark offering classes in medical/global health field. She currently in enrolled in classes such as Medical Consequences of the Western Lifestyle and Human Health and Disease: A Clinical Approach. Part of her studies will include field work in community health centers and hospitals associated with the University of Copenhagen Medical School. To help overcome the cost of the program, Kilbourne was awarded both work study and the Knud Helm-Erichsen Scholarship. The scholarship is for students who are the first from their home institution to attend Danish Institute for Study Abroad in at least three years. Kilbourne said, “The work study will allow me to work a little bit in Copenhagen and become further immersed in the culture. I have signed up to live with a host family and participate in volunteer opportunities as well as intramural sports with which the Danish Institute for Study Abroad is associated. I am most looking forward to the "memories of a lifetime" I will create by experiencing the health care situation, the academic life and most importantly the cultural/social life in Denmark and greater Europe. I foresee this as being one of the most influential semesters of my life.”
Rachel Kauff is the first recipient of a new fellowship at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute, provided by George and Barbara Gordon.
The Gordon Art Fellowship provides a stipend to an undergraduate art student and a faculty mentor to conduct a two-dimensional visual art project at the institute. Kauff's faculty mentor is Brett Colley, a printmaker and assistant professor in Grand Valley's Department of Art & Design.
An art and design major with an emphasis in printmaking, Kauff is from Arlington Heights, Ill., and is entering her senior year at Grand Valley. She will be able to spend 10 weeks this summer at the institute, completing a series of art projects inspired by the natural areas. Entitled, "Drawing from the Land," her projects will be an investigation of ecology and the human understanding of nature. Her finished work will be exhibited both at the institute and the Padnos Student Gallery on Grand Valley's Allendale Campus.
"I was excited for the opportunity to apply for this new fellowship because I have always been interested in natural science," said Kauff. "I see a lot of potential for interaction between the visual arts and biological sciences."
The Gordon's strong commitment to the arts and Grand Valley have previously included gifts to double the size of the George and Barbara Gordon Art Gallery on the university's Pew Grand Rapids Campus, which features the work of renowned Michigan painter Mathias J. Alten.
The institute, an environmental education center located near Hastings, Mich., is one of the few independently operated biological field stations in the country. It is not associated with one particular college or university, but rather, a consortium of 13 schools from Michigan and Indiana.
Debra Curtis Spends 10 Months in Tokyo
Debra Curtis, a senior English major, is currently spending the school year in Tokyo, Japan. Before traveling to Japan, Debra had never lived outside the US for more than a week. Yet she opted to study at the International Christian University where 90% of the students are Japanese. About her choice she says, “Many programs in Japan were at language schools where I would be surrounded by foreign students who spoke English. ICU, however, is an actual Japanese university . . . [at ICU] I'm able to take classes other than language courses (or even French if I want), join clubs, go to campus festivals, and live like an actual Japanese college student.” Certainly, living in Tokyo will prove a culturally dynamic experience. Debra explains that her first exams occurred on November 13 while she begins her classes again on December 3. Japanese schools run on a three-semester school year, the first semester starting in April. The major vacation occurs during the entire month of March during which Debra plans to explore continental Asia (South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, etc.).
Concerning her learning experiences at Grand Valley, Debra maintains that the junior seminar she took called Bioethics in Literature helped her to “further understand the huge difference in American and foreign culture. . .In Japan, many of the things that I ignored or scoffed at in America are thought of as the norm.” Debra’s experience highlights the Honors curriculum’s successful leap from the classroom to the outside world. After her 10-month stint in Japan, Debra hopes to pursue teaching English as second language and possibly a graduate degree in linguistics.
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