Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of listening to Lycoming senior Jacqueline Croteau speak to the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. Jacqueline’s words were a powerful testimonial to the transformational impact of the global experiences offered to students at Lycoming College. I was so intrigued that I invited Jackie to come to my office, and we spent an hour talking about her path to and through Lycoming College.
Jackie Croteau in Spain
Jackie’s journey illustrates in beautiful ways the idea that every student can craft a personalized journey at this college. A native of Long Island, Jacqueline first learned about Lycoming College when she used a search engine to identify colleges with undergraduate majors in archaeology. She came to campus for Scholar’s Day and fell in love with the idea that she as an undergraduate archaeology would spend time working an archaeological dig at the college-supported field stations in Cyprus or Israel — or somewhere else in the world of her choosing.
Lycoming College has allowed Jacqueline to realize her dreams. She decided to become a double major in archaeology and Spanish. She and her adviser worked closely to choose a study abroad program that enabled her to enroll the fall of junior year at the Estudio Sampere at their locations in Alicante and Madrid, Spain. With this experience behind her, Jackie then ventured to Guatemala with our Latin American archaeologist, Dr. Jessica Munson where she spent the summer doing field work preliminary to Dr. Munson opening a new excavation site in that country. In both countries, Jacqueline lived with families, and, as a consequence, greatly improved her language skills.
Jackie does not come across as someone who is unusual. She is your typical modest, unassuming Lycoming student. Like so many of our students, however, she is special in her openness to the world and her curiosity. Prior to coming to Lycoming, she had spent a total of one week outside the country and, as she told me, had not even traveled to Washington D.C. or Florida. Not surprisingly then, her global experiences have had quite an extraordinary impact on her.
Most striking is Jackie’s sense that her global experiences have enhanced her sense of self competence. She knows that she can navigate a Guatemalan village, or the Paris subways that she traveled on November 13 and 14, 2015. She also knows that she can learn complex tasks like identifying Mesoamerican artifacts. She has confidence in her ability to work independently. She has the confidence to communicate in a language other than English.
Jackie has also grown intellectually as a result of her global experiences. She understands that the idea of “security” is a cultural construct that is understood differently by Europeans and Americans. She experienced the power of having some of her preconceived notions about the world proven wrong. In conducting field work with Dr. Munson, she learned how to merge data in reaching conclusions.
Someday Jackie plans to do graduate study in Anthropologist. Her global experiences at Lycoming College have prepared her well for that future.
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