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Transatlantic teaching

By Savannah Hanford ’15

Teaching American history sometimes requires more than one perspective.

For Jared Morris ’03, this means having his middle school students collaborate

with their peers overseas.

Morris, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary social

sciences education certification, has taught at William Wetsel Middle School

in Virginia since 2007. He developed a program called Project: U.K. in 2011

to link students from the middle school with the St. Roberts of Newminster

School in northern England after being a participant in the University of

Virginia’s Transatlantic Teacher Scholars Program.

As part of the program, Morris worked with British teacher Lauren Winters

on a research project about the transatlantic slave trade in Barbados. The

two decided they could teach this project at a middle school level and use

technology to connect the students. The students also would be required to

publish a final project each year.

Project: U.K. is a team comprised of 15 to 20 students who are selected and

approved by teachers based on grades and disciplinary history and an essay

they write in which they describe the ways they will be a good addition to the


The program runs from March to May and culminates in a final physical

project, such as a film or mock newspaper. Meeting mostly during school-time

club periods, the students also come in on Saturdays to directly correspond via

video chat and blog sites with their English counterparts, whose team is titled

the America Project.

“The program is beneficial because students develop historical researching

skills and a deeper understanding of an important event or topic all while

collaborating with, and learning about, a different culture, that culture being

that of their British ‘cousins’,” stated Morris.

In 2011, the students’ project was an in-depth look at the Underground

Railroad. Project: U.K. members worked together to create fake “primary

sources” from various groups of people involved in the slave trade. These

sources were then sent to the America Project, where they created an

abolitionist newspaper.

Last year, Project: U.K. and the America Project worked together to create

a news broadcast about the Boston Massacre. Morris took his students on a

field trip to the Library of Virginia to view documents and artifacts firsthand to

prepare for their research and final project.

This year, the students will research John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry in

1859. The final project will involve the creation of a documentary put together

by both teams.

In March, he presented his work with Project: U.K. at the National Council

for History Education conference in Richmond, Va.

Spring Moore


was named the Williamsport (Pa.) Area

High School Teacher of the Year for

2012-13. The Odyssey of the Mind team

that she coached was Pennsylvania state

champions and advanced to the World

Finals at Michigan State University,

where they placed 12


out of 56 teams.

She teaches 12


grade British literature

and composition and is the Class of 2015



Charlene (Bartolotta) Sterphone

Elizabeth Brescia

(political science)

earned a master’s degree in nonprofit

management at Notre Dame of Maryland

University in 2012.  

Adam Makos



New York Times

best-selling author,

visited Lycoming’s Streeter Campus Store

on April 5 with his sister,

Erica ’07

, to

sign copies of his second book,

Voices of

the Pacific

. His first book,

A Higher Call:

An Incredible True Story of Combat and

Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World

War II

, was published in December. Adam

also held two book-signings later that day

at Williamsport’s Otto Book Store.

Jessica (Heckman) Reed


communications) is the manager of digital

and social media for the enrollment

management department at Syracuse

University. She is responsible for the

planning and implementation of digital

and social media strategies for the

undergraduate admissions office, the

financial aid office and others. In addition,

she serves as the publicity and online

media chair for the Central New York

chapter of the Public Relations Society of

America; on the advisory board for Social

Media Breakfast Syracuse; and as the

social media manager of the Central New

York chapter of Girls in Tech.


Jared Morris ’03 with his students from William Wetsel Middle School in Virginia

Adam Makos ’03 with sister, Erica ’07