Later this week, Genille Gordon of the Bronx and Primrose Nyahwai of Harare, Zimbabwe will be on a plane to China, bound for a first-hand experience of another culture that both Keuka College sophomores hope will be transformational in their personal and professional development.
Nyahwai and Gordon are the first recipients of the Dr. Anne Marie Guthrie Educational Fund Scholarship, which was funded by Dr. Michael Hwang, administrative chancellor for Keuka College China Campuses. Since 2002, the Keuka China Program (KCP) has enabled nearly 7,000 Chinese students to complete an American bachelor’s degree in business at one of four partner universities — Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Jimei University in Xiamen, Wenzhou University, and Yunnan University of Finance and Economics in Kunming.
Dr. Hwang established the scholarship fund in memory of Dr. Guthrie, who died in October 2013 after an extended illness. Dr. Guthrie served 12 years as dean of the Center for Experiential Learning at Keuka College, and the two worked closely together during the creation of the KCP learning model. According to Dr. Hwang, she was a “great supporter” of the Career Management and Experiential Learning course, a “highlight and unique part” of the KCP curriculum.
“I am certain that the Keuka China Program would not have reached its credibility and status in China without that course. And Dr. Guthrie was such a key part of making all of this happen,” Dr. Hwang said.
Experiential learning is embedded in the Keuka College curriculum and flourishes in Field Period™, conducted each year by undergraduate students who invest several weeks into hands-on learning experiences. A Field Period™ may consist of an internship in a professional field, a community service or creative project, exploration of another culture, or a spiritual exploration study such as a charitable mission trip. Diversity is also upheld as a key College value, and the marriage of experiential learning and diversity in the Guthrie scholarship represents another unique offering where collaboration results in powerful opportunities for student learning.
Nyahwai and Gordon were selected for the honor on the basis of their GPAs, personal leadership accomplishments, and involvement in campus clubs and activities, according to Dr. Anne Weed, vice president for academic affairs. Weed was commissioned to review candidates and select the first winners.
While Nyahwai hopes to study Chinese practices of recycling and sustainability, with the purpose of implementing what she learns at an elementary school back in Zimbabwe, Gordon hopes to develop skills in understanding and collaborating with those in China and ultimately, to raise awareness of the shared humanity of individuals, back on the home campus. Both young women also plan to study Chinese dialects and glean as much as they can of a foreign language.
“Cross-cultural experiences, such as those afforded to Genille and Primrose through this scholarship, provide a new perspective on the world and allow students to learn about cultural differences through direct experience outside the classroom,” said Dr. Wendy Gaylord, dean of KCP for the College. “This is a major goal of experiential learning, and we thank Dr. Hwang for assisting our students in this way.”
According to Dr. Gaylord, Dr. Hwang’s generous funding will allow both young women to meet Chinese students, learn about campus life in China, and experience Chinese culture, in addition to completing their Field Period™ projects. The interaction with Chinese culture will continue when they return to the home campus in Keuka Park, as the College hosts many exchange students from China, Gaylord said. (more…)
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.”
Where can a Keuka degree take you? This is the second in a series of snapshot profiles on members of Keuka’s Class of 2012.
Matt McFetridge ’12 graduated cum laude with a degree in political science and history and has been accepted to Tsinghua University (pronounced “Ching Wah”) in Beijing, China, where he will pursue a master’s degree in international relations, starting in September. Tsinghua is considered the “Harvard” of Chinese universities. The degree will be an extension of what McFetridge learned in Keuka classes, where he always tried to find a way to connect the material to China. Primary among his independent educational experiences was the semester-long study he conducted in 2010 as an exchange student at the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, one of Keuka’s partner universities.
Most doctoral history programs require some kind of “language influence,” he said, and exposure to the Chinese language as well as an up-close-and-personal view of activities in the capital city that serves as the hub of U.S.-Chinese relations will give him a distinct advantage.
“It’s a little less orthodox, but for what I want to do, it’s a step up and it may open doors not only to teach at a college, but perhaps lead to a job as an analyst, with the government or a think tank,” McFetridge said.
To explore what might be in your future with a Keuka degree, request more information.
In China, almost everything is different. There’s a premium on space, and the language is totally different, right down to the alphabet characters. But junior Matt McFetridge can’t wait to go back to China for his second semester as an exchange student.
While Keuka College has hosted several Chinese exchange students on its home campus in Keuka Park in recent years, McFetridge is the first Keuka student to study in China. McFetridge started classes Aug. 28, 2010 in what he calls the “Keuka corner” of the Yunnan University of Finance and Economics (YUFE) in Kunming, in the Yunnan province in the south central area of mainland China. YUFE is one of four Chinese universities that have partnered with Keuka College to offer Keuka business management degrees to Chinese students. McFetridge enrolled in business and marketing classes, where he found himself one of about 60 students and the only American student in the classroom. In his three other classes – Chinese history, comprehensive Chinese language, and a Chinese listening and speaking class – McFetridge was the sole student, something he relished because it forced him to improve at a new language, he said.
According to McFetridge, the “Keuka corner” of the YUFE campus has two academic buildings, an administrative building, and two dorms, all within the same amount of space as if between Lightner Library and Space Hall on the home campus. Beyond that area, however, the rest of the YUFE campus is “absolutely huge, five to seven times the size of Keuka,” he said.
At first, he would need Chinese friends to help him communicate with the locals, or to pay for a package of Oreo cookies in a campus store, for example. The fun really started when he ventured off-campus to explore nearby parts of the city.