Students study identity and culture in Ireland

Students study identity and culture in Ireland

PHOTO CAPTION: (from left to right) Back row: Amy Rogers, Alexa Bowman, Josh Gildea, Carly Rogers, Andrew Squires. Front row: Emily Weaver, Kathryn Ryan, Amanda Wisolmerski, Megan Kearns, Kelsey Harsham, Sally Butterfield.

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Eight Lycoming College students recently traveled to Ireland for the “Being Irish: an exploration of identity and cultural issues in Irish and Irish-American people” May term course. During their 10-day trip, they explored several towns in Ireland, including Bective Abbey, Trim, Rath Cairn, Loughcrew and Tara.

“The purpose for the course was for students to see and gain an appreciation of other cultures and identities,” said Amy Rogers, Ph.D., professor of education. “My favorite part was watching the students have those ‘ah-ha’ moments as they learned more about the culture. They really became a community while we were there.”

Prior to leaving for Ireland, the students spent a week on campus studying identity theory and learning about all aspects of Irish culture, specifically the history, modern education and criminal justice system. Students focused on their specific areas of interest, evaluated their itinerary and were able to select a personal research topic based on what areas of Irish culture interested them the most. A few of the topics students chose included the social scene, sports, traditional food, churches and religion, and the equality movement.

In order to conduct their research, the students focused on applying identity and cultural theories to Irish culture by conducting personal interviews with Irish locals.

“Overall, the May term trip to Ireland was an incredible experience,” said Emily Weaver, a rising junior with a major in psychology from Pen Argyl, Pa. “I think that having a research topic to focus on and learn more about while there gave me the ability to not only be a sightseeing tourist in Ireland, but also to really be able to learn about the country and its people. It was a learning experience unlike anything I've ever encountered!”

Students took iPads provided by the Lycoming College Information Technology Services Department to photograph, take notes and blog about their experiences during their time in Ireland. The iPads were provided through the Lycoming College Innovation in Teaching with Technology grant.

They visited variety of sights and locations, including an active archaeology dig at Trim, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, Cliffs of Moher, Kilmainham Gaol, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Dublin Castle. The students also received a personal tour and speaker presentation at University College Dublin.

The trip was organized and led by Rogers and Kathryn Ryan, Ph.D., department chair and professor of psychology.

Along with Weaver, the following students attended the May term: rising seniors Kelsey Harsham, with a major in psychology from Hamilton Square, N.J.; Erica Spero, with a major in psychology from Chantilly, Va.; rising juniors Amanda Wisolmerski, with a major in psychology from Florham Park, N.J.; Alexa Bowman, with a major in criminal justice from Ambler, Pa.; Joshua Gildea, with a major in psychology from Center Valley, Pa.;, Megan Kearns, with a major in archaeology from Ellicott City, Md.; Andrew Squires, with a major in biology, ecology from Milford, Pa.

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