Ohio State Lima students on the move 2017
Students at Ohio State Lima have been traveling for very important, but very different reasons this season. One group headed to a cultural hotspot to perform at the highest level. Another went straight to the seat of our country’s political power. A third seemingly went everywhere else, learning about biodiversity in the process.
The Chorale at Carnegie Hall
The Chorale planned for more than a year to make their way on to one of the nation’s greatest stages – Carnegie Hall in New York. After raising more than $21,000 to take the 38 students to the Big Apple, the trip became a reality in May 2017.
The singers from Ohio walked onto a stage few have an opportunity to see from the audience let alone perform on. After three days of rehearsal with Dr. William Skoog and groups from Rhodes College in Memphis and the University of the Ozarks, the chorale performed with the New England Symphony Orchestra.
“Countless students commented on the amazing experience it was, and how much they grew as singers,” said Dr. Matthew Young, director of choral activities. “Probably the most rewarding experience was watching the students' reaction the first time they walked on stage at Carnegie Hall. Based on the number of updated Facebook cover photos of the auditorium from the stage, I imagine they will keep that image with them.”
Outside of their time at Carnegie Hall, the students took in the city in all its glory, visiting Top of the Rock, the Empire State Building, One World Place, Central Park, Times Square and countless Broadway shows.
Honors Trip to Washington DC
The first days after the closing of finals week for most university students and employees is a time to take a breath and a step back from the year. Not so for the group of 17 Ohio State Lima students and employees who took that week to visit the nation’s capital for an Honors Tour.
“I hope our students have an increased sense of confidence in themselves after a trip like this. Many students were surprised by their ability to navigate a large city, find restaurants/museums/activities that they thought were interesting and then get there independently,” said Dr. Margaret Young, honors director and associate professor of music. “I also hope they are able to understand how important it is to travel and experience new things. To meet new people, try new food, etc. – these are all essential if they are to become educated citizens.”
While the trip had many of the hallmarks of a traditional field trip – museums, monuments and new foods, it also incorporated elements of the new millennium. The group stayed at an Airbnb mansion that may, or may not, have included a ghost from the building’s former life as a hospital; and several groups got to use their first-time Uber user discount as they traveled the city.
“This was a great trip. Each group had different experiences” said Meredith Kincaid, coordinator of student engagement. “We had Meggie's group that walked and saw everything from sun up to sun down! How they still have feet, I will never know! Then there was Michael Reagan's group that tried different things like eating Ethiopian food and road the city bikes. Last, there was my group, who learned how to use Uber pretty quickly and stayed up later than anyone playing cards and learning to ballroom dance.”
Beyond the museums, memorials and monuments, students had a chance to spend time building friendships and peer groups that could last a lifetime. They could begin to see the “why” and “how” behind the “what” they are learning in the classroom.
“There is a quote that I use a lot and it says, ‘don't go to school to get a degree, go to school to get an education,’ ” said Kincaid. “That is exactly what these students got during their week in Washington DC. Trips like this really allow students to relax socially and get to know their fellow students. It allows them to augment their confidence and make a stronger commitment to our Honors Program and their own education. This is a trip that they won't be forgetting any time soon.”
Biology research trip
The winner of the most distance traveled goes to the biology research trip to the American West. Over the course of two weeks, students visited the Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Dinosaur National Monument, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mountain Research Station, and Konza Prairie Research Station. They drove about 4,800 miles through 12 states, including Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana.
“The goal of the class was to visit habitats across the American West and to use insect sampling to quantify differences between them,” said Dr. Jackie Augustine, biology professor and trip leader. “We sampled insects in eight habitats: wetlands, sagebrush, tallgrass prairie, three types of montane forest (lodgepole, aspen, and pinyon-juniper) as well as deciduous forest and cropland in Ohio. The most insect diversity occurred in the wetlands of Wisconsin.”
All those habitats in all those states added up to a whirlwind of a trip for the 10 students and two professors.
“To be able to visit just one of these places is an amazing opportunity. When I saw that this class included stops at all of these places, I knew that it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” said Olivia Green, a sophomore in Psychology. “The experience was indescribable and it is a little bit overwhelming to look back and realize that I visited all of these places within a two-week period.”
Dr. Augustine hopes the ideas and revelations the students found on their journey will resonate far beyond the summer travel season.
“I hope they view issues from a broader perspective and can relate to national events they see on the news, such as western forest fires,” she said. “For example, we saw the areas impacted by the 1988 forest fires in Yellowstone, and saw how disturbances might actually promote regrowth of healthy forests.”