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London Calling

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of features on recipients who received Field Period™ scholarships. Junior Emily Michienzi received a Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

From a young age, junior Emily Michienzi’s mother instilled in her a desire to see the world and expand her horizons. That is why she has always believed that travel is one of the greatest forms of education.

And the Lake Pleasant resident will get the chance to do both as she travels to London during her January Field Period™. Michienzi intends to learn about the social problems plaguing England’s capital city as a participant in Comparative Social Issues, a sociology course offered through Cayuga Community College.

“As a sociology and political science/history major, this trip will greatly enhance my education,” said Michienzi. “In my sociology courses, we often discuss culture. One concept that is foundational in sociology is cultural relativism. This concept is when we see another culture and its practices in its own right, rather than using our culture to judge another’s as right or wrong.”

By traveling to London and experiencing a new culture, Michienzi intends to use cultural relativism “in a more practical manner and then translate that practice into my classroom discussions and other course requirements.”

This trip also appeals to Michienzi’s interest in history.

“America’s history with Great Britain frequently comes up in my class conversations and readings,” she said. “We always compare our government to Great Britain’s since our government was influenced by theirs. One of our day trips in London will be to Downing Street, the British seat of government. I will be able to see their government up close and learn, while on site, more about their government. By seeing this, I will be able to understand how our government is similar and different from Britain’s and then share that knowledge in my classes.”

In addition to visiting Downing Street, Michienzi intends to visit the British Museum, Parliament, and Windsor Castle, among other sites.

“These sites will show us not only the history of one of the world’s super powers, but also the culture and issues the country has faced over time,” she said. “From Britain’s era of serfdom to their current struggle as a world power, we will learn how Britain has changed and impacted the lives of its citizens and the world.”

Added Michienzi: “This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will change the way I think, and understand the world and my classes here at Keuka College.”

Gaining Understanding of the World Through Travel

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of features on recipients who received Field Period™ scholarships. Senior Mackenzie Ellis received a Judith Oliver Brown Memorial Award. The award, named after the late 1963 Keuka graduate, is supported by Brown’s family and the Class of ’63. It is designed to assist students who pursue a culturally-oriented Field Period™.

For senior Mackenzie Ellis, Keuka College has always encouraged and promoted diversity, challenging students to see the true value in a global mindset.

Ellis, a biology major, says she has been “blessed” with the opportunity to experience other cultures through the people she has met on campus and by attending the various programs offered by the College.

“This is a commendable portion of my education at Keuka College,” said Ellis, a resident of Owego. “However, the knowledge and understanding I have gained can only be further enriched by visiting the places I have learned so much about. My favorite was always Africa. With no travel experience to date, the first country I would like to check off my long list of places to experience is South Africa.”

By visiting South Africa during her Field Period™, Ellis believes she will not only enrich her college experience, but also the experiences of those with whom she interacts after she returns to campus.

“South Africa boasts a plethora of well-represented cultures and religions, which will allow me to continue to be globally minded,” said Ellis. “By traveling to South Africa, I will inevitably acquire a refreshed world view, in addition to firsthand experience with other religions and societies.”

And Ellis will take advantage of her Field Period™ opportunity by engaging in a variety of activities which will allow her to see the various facets that make up the culture as a whole.

“I plan to meditate at a Buddhist temple, visit a Hindu temple, and volunteer at orphanages,” she said. “I also plan to visit a an Apartheid museum, and speak with those who experienced Apartheid before its collapse. By doing so, I will develop a more personal understanding of the challenges and suffering facing minorities. I believe that through understanding our mistakes in the past, we may improve the future.”

Ellis also intends to visit an animal reserve; tour Cape Town and Cape Town University; go to UShaka Marine World; enjoy the Durban Botanical Gardens; and visit the Phansi Museum, host of one of the biggest and most spectacular collections of African arts and crafts in the world.

According to Ellis, she also has the “rare” opportunity to partake in a traditional Zulu wedding, “a treat not normally extended outside the Zulu culture itself,” she said. “This unique experience will allow me to celebrate life and happiness in a different way, to complement my new understanding of oppression and pain.”

Added Ellis: “Traveling is an essential part of becoming a well-rounded adult in today’s global society. In order to fully appreciate and succeed in the world, we must take the opportunity to immerse ourselves in other cultures and ways of living. By traveling to South Africa, I will develop beyond my current experience thus complimenting and completing my education here at Keuka College in the most effective and memorable way possible.”

Seeking the Answers to Life’s Biggest Questions


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of features on recipients who received Field Period™ scholarships. Senior Julian Díaz received a Spiritual Exploration Field Period™, which challenges students to work either in an overtly spiritual or religious organization such as a church, church camps, or religious charities. Students can also choose to work in other organizations in which the student clearly demonstrates that this Field Period™ will engage his or her own spiritual beliefs in a demonstrable and clear way.

Like many people, Keuka College senior Julian Díaz wants answers to some of life’s biggest questions, like ‘who am I? what is the meaning of life? why am I here? and how should I live my life?’

“These questions led me all over the spectrum of intellectual discovery for answers,” he said. “Growing up in a family that did not have strong religious or spiritual traditions, I was keen to explore different ways of evaluating the big questions of human experience from an early age.”

Díaz will have the opportunity to seek those answers as he completes his Field Period™ at the Rochester Zen Center (RZC) later this month. The biology major from Keuka Park has been accepted into the center’s residential Zen training program, where trainees are expected to participate in a rigorous, full-day schedule of many sitting meditations and lectures by senior members.

“We will also have private instructional meetings with the center’s Roshi, Bodhin Kjolhede, who is the abbot and director of the RZC, as well as help with domestic work in and around the RZC and surrounding community,” said Díaz.

The RZC was one of the first Zen Buddhist establishment in the U.S., founded in 1966 by the late Roshi Philip Kapleau. Kapleau was an influential figure in bringing Zen Buddhist ideology to the west, most notably by his publication entitled The Three Pillars of Zen, which was the first book in English to provide a detailed and intimate view into the highly disciplined and esoteric world of Japanese Zen practices.

This Field Period™ will not be the first time Díaz will participate in the Zen experience at the RZC. Two years ago, he attended a full-day Zazen (sitting meditation) workshop where he was introduced to the basic principles of Zen.

“I was given basic instruction on how to practice the sitting meditation that is central to the Zen monastic lifestyle,” said Díaz. “To date, this experience is one of the most spiritually profound I have ever had. I have been very eager to return to the RZC to continue learning and practicing this lifestyle.”

According to Díaz, what he has lacked the most in his spiritual journey “was actually practicing, and more importantly testing the validity of, the teachings I was trying to take to heart,” he said. “Outside of my formal education, I have spent the last five years studying eastern traditions and philosophies. In particular, the teachings of Taoism and Buddhism have resonated with me the strongest.”

Added Díaz: “Through this Field Period™, I want to continue my study of these spiritual practices and customs. I hope to gain a deeper connection and awareness of myself, and of the deep-seeded desires and suppositions that subconsciously dictate my thoughts and behavior. I hope to cultivate stronger self efficacy, self respect, self discipline, as well as stronger appreciation and compassion for the outside world and all its inhabitants.”

Seeing Italy Through New Eyes

Venice at sunset (photo by Melissa Newcomb)

In the digital age we live in, the Sistine Chapel isn’t farther than a quick Google search away. Photographs of the ceiling there have richer detail than ever before, information about Michelangelo is available at one’s fingertips on a multitude of websites and inside a plethora of books. But is seeing it on a screen or on a page really the same?

Not if you ask Ann Tuttle, professor of management and one of three faculty members who supervised a group Field Period™ to Florence, Venice and Rome the week after Commencement for 16 Keuka College students.


“It’s not the same to read about it as to experience it,” Tuttle said, contrasting the biweekly meetings members of the group held over months of preparation, to learn history, art, culture, and language with the 10 days the group spent in Italy itself.

“Seeing the things we’d learned about for ourselves was so much better and more meaningful than I could have imagined. Immersion in a culture is fulfilling and moving, it helps you to understand there is more out there than what we know,” Tuttle said.

Shawnee Brown tries her hand at making pasta.

Students and faculty who experienced the wonders of Italy together will share their experiences Monday, Sept. 29 from 5-9 p.m. at the North Education Conference Center, and will also serve refreshments. All members of the college community are invited to come and see the culmination of the trip, much of which was coordinated through Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Denise Love. Last year, Love coordinated a group Field Period™ to Vienna, Prague and the Slovakian cities of Nitra and Bratislava along with Dr. Klaudia Lorinczova, assistant professor of education, and Melissa Newcomb, assistant professor of art. Newcomb returned for this year’s trip, and the group also welcomed Dr. Jean Wannall, professor of occupational therapy, and her husband, Nathan Wannall, who helped serve as group Field Period™ leaders too.

Following the pattern set last year, students again kept online journals and blogs detailing their personal reflections in words and photographs.

The beauty of Capri

“I imagined Michelangelo spending all of his time in there, working on the perfect detail,” wrote Kelsey Harmer ‘15, after visiting the Sistine Chapel. “At first I was a little disappointed that we couldn’t take pictures, but it made me appreciate the artwork so much more.”

For her part, Newcomb said she was “overtaken with emotion looking at a masterpiece I had only seen in a photograph or video. I could have stayed there all day.”

The trip was educational for her too, even as a professor, she said, especially since she has always dreamed about seeing Rome after studying so much art history.

“I can now say I have seen real masterpieces. I can share the experience and passion with my students. I can reach out to students in a different way now that I have walked through Italy.  Passion will definitely be present in the classroom,” she explained.

Ann & Haley Tuttle ride an Italian gondola.

The group was able to experience making real Italian pasta, riding on gondolas in Venice, visiting Pompeii, and enjoying the beautiful waters surrounding Capri. Of course, some experiences don’t always go according to plan. For example, authentic Italian cuisine is entirely different from the Italian-American food most of the students were expecting, as Brittany Gleason ’15 discovered at an Italian restaurant where, under pressure, she ordered pizza with sausage on it.

“A few minutes later they brought out a large pizza with sliced hot dogs on it. So, today I also learned that ‘sausage’ here means our hot dogs,” Gleason wrote.

Guided daily by an Italian native named Mario, both students and chaperones wrote about their newfound love for gelato, Italy’s slightly more intense version of ice cream. While in the city of San Gimignano, the group was able to get gelato at the famous Gelateria di Piazza, which many consider the best in the world.

According to Kayla Hall ’15, they weren’t kidding.

Kayla Hall '15 gives her gelato a "quality control" test.

“I thought the other places were good,” Hall wrote. “Did you know that the best way to tell if a gelato is of good quality is to hang it upside down? If it falls off you have a lame gelato, but if it stays on, it is one of the good ones. This one stayed on!”

In addition to its rich history of food and art, Italy is also known for its considerable architectural achievements, dating back to the ruins of ancient Rome. Perhaps best-known is the four-level Coliseum, or Flavian Theater. Built of concrete and stone, the stadium was used for animal fights, staged sea battles, and the famous gladiator matches.

“When you look at the Coliseum today the floor is removed, so you are able to see where the slaves were kept before they came up for battle,” wrote Jenna Bird ’15. “This was pretty surreal to experience because we were able to see exactly where slaves were kept essentially before they were sent to their deaths.”

Excavation now reveals formerly hidden layers of the Coliseum (photo by Alyssa Ange)

“Pictures don’t do any place justice, especially when it comes to the scale of architecture,” described Newcomb. “It’s overwhelming but wonderful at the same time.  It makes you really appreciate the experience of how something so massive and beautiful was created, how all the tiny details were created by hand. Each part tells a story, and you could study it for days.”

“Even though we saw so much and maximized our time, there could never be enough time,” Tuttle said, “It made me want to go back, to see more someday.”

The Pantheon in Rome, with its citation honoring Marcus Agrippa, original founder.

“I want to say thank you to Keuka College and all of those that have supported group Field Period™, because it is a life-changing and life- enhancing experience,” Tuttle said. 

Additional students who participated in the group Field Period™ included Alyssa Ange, Shawnee Brown, Amber Callahan, Marina Kilpatrick, Brittany Kuhn, Brianna Longwell, Brooke Reynolds, Anna Tomasso, Haley Tuttle, Justin Merrill, Lakwan Alleyne-Hall and Ian Wentzel.

Snapshot of a Graduate: Dung Hoang ’14

Editor’s Note: Where can a Keuka College degree take you? This is the fourth in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2014.

Dung Hoang came to Keuka College from a partner school in Hanoi, Vietnam to pursue a degree in management with a minor in accounting. After graduation May 25, she moved to Anaheim, Calif. where she is now working as an accounting assistant for Business Expo Center, an events company.

Hoang’s student visa permits her a limited time after graduation to work in an off-campus job related to her field of study.

“Honestly, I feel that I am so lucky to get this job,” she said, adding her excitement at the chance to apply what she learned from her classes and gain even more experience in accounting. 

Her duties include processing and reconciling payments and other business transactions using a system based on the QuickBooks software, a popular accounting tool she’d never heard of until introduced to it in her Keuka College classes. Hoang conducted a Field Period™ with the California company over winter break and credits the real-world internship experience there for leading to her job offer.

“I love the way Keuka College requires us to take the Field Period™ every year, because we can apply what we learned from college in a real working environment, we support our future career,” she said, adding her thanks to her academic adviser, professors, Field Period™ supervisor and many friends who helped “lead me to the right way for my future.”

“I am so thankful for what I have today,” Hoang said. “I love the education here and I grew up a lot from this environment.”

To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka College degree, request more information.