What’s it like to take graduate courses at the “Harvard” of China?
Just ask Matt McFetridge ’12, who is settling into his second month of graduate studies in the international relations program at Tsinghua University (pronounced “Ching-wah”) in Beijing, China.
“I’m studying with some of the foremost scholars on U.S.-China relations,” said the Penn Yan native in a recent email interview.
In 2010, McFetridge spent the fall semester as an exchange student at Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, one of Keuka’s partner universities.
That experience set him on a new course: to incorporate connections to China into his political science and history degree, and future career. Exposure to the Chinese language and the city that serves as hub of China’s foreign relations could give him an edge if he pursues a doctoral program in history or works as an analyst, perhaps with the government or a think tank.
“I love the program, I love the school, and the intellectual community here is equally impressive,” he wrote. “It’s such a difference between Keuka where I was one of 1,000. Here, I am one of 31 in my cohort surrounded by 30,000 of the best minds from China and abroad.”
Richard Martin is keenly aware of the challenges adult students face.
Director of the Accelerated Studies for Adults Program (ASAP) criminal justice program and assistant professor, he is only six years removed from these same challenges himself. Martin received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice systems from Keuka in 2005.
“When I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree, I began to see the possibility of entering the teaching profession,” said Martin, who served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division as an active duty infantry team leader through Operation Desert Storm. He also served in the Army Reserves (drill sergeant), and National Guard, (transportation platoon sergeant).
Martin began his police career with the Village of Fredonia, moved to the Newark Police Department, where he worked with undercover narcotics and fire investigations, and then joined the Rochester Police Department (RPD).
Editor’s Note: In terms of “What’s new at Keuka College,” the newest are 174 Vietnamese students who began pursuit of management science degrees Oct. 3 at the University of Science, Vietnam National University—Ho Chi Minh City (HCMUS), ITEC (International Training and Education Center). Assistant Editor Rachel E. Dewey conducted an interview with six of them via Skype and email.
Twenty-one year-old Tran Thi Phuong Khanh (“Khanh”) found much to love in the first week of classes at HCMUS.
“The professors are so friendly, and that makes me feel comfortable,” she said. Tran chose Keuka in order to study in an international environment that would make her confident, and provide realistic experiences, not just pages in a book.
“Yesterday, I learned about international experiential education,” she said, referring to Keuka’s reputation as the national leader in experiential, hands-on learning.
Like a handful of other new HCMUS students, Tran would like to finish her Keuka degree at the Keuka Park campus. After graduation, she hopes to become a public relations manager, in addition to organizing and promoting events.
Reis Cunningham ’13 has always been interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at how Keuka College “works” because, as he puts it, “I’m paying for it.”
Fortunately for Cunningham, the College offers that opportunity to two students each year. Keuka is one of the few schools in the country where students serve on the governing board and Cunningham took part in his first Board meeting Sept. 30.
Cunningham was elected by his peers to the Board of Trustees and is serving the first of a two-year term. Senior Molly Flanagan is the other student representative.
Flanagan, in her second year as a trustee, told Cunningham that student trustees are expected to contribute; it’s not a ceremonial position where they sit and observe as others make recommendations and decisions.
An interest in teaching smaller classes in order to foster greater student interaction is part of what brought Ithaca resident Laurel Hester to a new post at Keuka College this fall.
The small-college feel got in the assistant professor of biology’s veins during her own undergraduate studies at Swarthmore College, where she double-majored in biology and history. As a graduate student, Hester discovered she had a love of teaching, especially teaching biology, and as she worked toward her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan, she began putting that passion into play. She went on to teach at the University of South Carolina, and later Cornell, where she taught as many as 400 students at a time in large lecture halls.
“The chance to teach smaller classes where I can really get to know the students and teach a wider variety of classes in a more interactive way is really what drew me here,” Hester said.