Page 14 - 2012 Lycoming Summer Magazine

Art, culture and
the Great Wall
By Casey Spencer ’05
By Savannah Hanford ’15
hen Lynn Estomin, professor of
art, began the department’s May
Term abroad program in 1995, she as-
pired to take students to China to climb
the Great Wall. “As a photographer, the
place I dreamed of photographing was
the Great Wall,” she said. That trip, out
of reach at the time, was finally realized
this May as 24 members of the College
community spent 15 days in the country.
The travelers, which in addition to art
faculty and students, included Lycoming
alumni, an emeritus faculty member,
a professor of theatre and a librarian,
journeyed by plane, train, bus, cruise
ship, dinghy, gondola, rickshaw and
foot, meeting people and experiencing
Chinese art and culture.
Highlights of the trip are almost too
numerous to list. The course took the
group to the former military factory
complex that is now Art Zone 798 in
Beijing, M50 contemporary sculpture
center in Shanghai, Tiananmen Square,
the Forbidden City and the terra-cotta
The tour, which Kelsey Conahan ’14
called “the most enjoyable two weeks
of culture shock ever,” included lunch
with a family in the Hutongs historic
district of Beijing, riding
horses and bikes on the
ancient city wall in Xi’an,
cruising the Li and Yangtze
rivers past gorges and rice
paddies, a tea ceremony at
a lush green tea planation,
spicy food, bustling markets
and a panorama view of
the Shanghai skyline from
Jinmao Tower.
Estomin and Howard
Tran, assistant professor
of art, taught many of the
same courses traditionally
offered on campus, including
drawing, painting and
photography, in addition to a survey class
on the art of China.
Students enrolled in the abroad
course had the opportunity to not only
study art, but experience a different
culture, meet artists from another
country, actually visit historical sites
that they have studied in art history
classes and explore the contemporary
art scene abroad,” said Estomin. “These
are experiences that are impossible to
replicate in the classroom. Students of
past abroad classes have described the
experience as life-changing.”
Proving that it’s never too late to take
advantage of Lycoming’s May Term
opportunities, the 2012 course boasted
outstanding alumni participation. Joining
the course were Lois (Gilbert) Brown
and husband, Curtis, Katie Ely ’01,
Erin Girio-Herrera ’02 and husband,
Leonardo, Amanda Mills ’06, Alison
Lubold ’11, Ashley Lubold ’11 and recent
graduate, Meggie Adams ’12.
Both alums and students echoed fond
memories of some once-in-a-lifetime
experiences. “We were able to meet
and get the signature of the farmer that
discovered the terra-cotta warriors
while digging a well on his farm,” said
Ashley Lubold. “The intense, detailed
soldiers were breathtaking; it was hard to
imagine so many of them were created
by hand.”
igning up for Dr. Mel Zimmerman’s
tropical marine biology May Term
course includes more than just
three weeks of note-taking, studying and
tests during the first month of summer
vacation. The professor of biology has
taken more than 200 Lycoming students
to the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico
and Central America as part of the
This year, 16 students abandoned
textbooks and tanks to spend a week
on the island of Roatan,
Honduras, at Anthony’s
Key Resort in bungalows
overlooking tropical reefs.
While studying at the Roatan
Institute for Marine Science
RIMS), a private teaching
and research lab, they played
with sea creatures, learned
about local customs and
had the time of their lives in
Those 16 students—
including recent graduates
Steve Wanner ’12 and
Brittany Buckley ’12—
were enrolled in the field-
oriented class which focused
Another neat experience was that
some of the group met the past emperor’s
nephew at the Forbidden City,” she
continued. “He actually does calligraphy,
so we were able to get a piece of his
artwork handmade in front of us.”
And yes, Estomin was able to take
students to climb the Great Wall. “This
May, climbing to the clouds and looking
down on thousands of steps, gateways,
watchtowers and battlements stretch-
ing as far as one can see was a mystical
experience,” she reflected. “Although it
is not true that the Wall is visible from
the moon, it is easy to imagine that one
could see this seemingly unending struc-
ture from space.”
The Lycoming group pauses for a photo in Beijing