AMAZING Study Abroad in China

I am home and adjChina 1usted to being back in Lafayette after a 3 week Maymester study-abroad trip to China! It’s hard to briefly sum up my experiences there but it was AMAZING! The class was titled “Child and Youth Development” and could be taken either for Human Development and Family Studies or Psychology credits, so our main focus was visiting kindergartens and primary schools, as well as universities with Early Childhood Education programs, and learning through observations and interactions with teachers and students about the education system in China. MaChina 2ny similarities exist between education in China and in the US, but some of the main things that are different in China are increased emphasis on group work at the pre-school and kindergarten level, the universal learning of a second language (usually English) in primary school through high school, and a very different system when it comes to preparation for and acceptance into college. I was part of a group which studied how the One-Child policy affects families and children, and it was interesting to learn about the history of the policy and how it has changed and recently relaxed quite a bit. And of course we did a lot of sight-seeing and touring, including visiting the Great China 3Wall, the Forbidden City, and the beautiful Yangshuo countryside just to name a few. It was hard for me to be away from my family for that long, especially my son, Jack, but I had a great support system encouraging me and I am so glad that I did it; there is no way to learn in a classroom setting China 4many of the lessons you can get from a trip like this, and as a senior here at Purdue graduating in December it was the perfect way to round out my last year and do something totally different. I believe this trip is going to be offered on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, so anyone who could use either a Psychology or an HDFS class and wants to go on an eye-opening and world-view-altering adventure should absolutely do it!

–Erin McConnell, Senior, Psychological Sciences

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Summer Study Abroad – en Espana!

This time next week I will be in Madrid, Spain starting my 7 week study abroad program! I will be living with a host family to get the full experience of the Spanish culture and will be taking two classes to help me finish up my Spanish minor. They are classes that transfer back to Purdue even though I will be taking them at la Universidad de Nebrija with other Spanish students. I will be taking Culture & Civilization as well as El Prado Art. I am most excited for the art class because it means that I get to go to the museum, El Prado, every week and see paintings by Velázquez, Goya, and other famous artists.

Classes are only Monday to Thursday, which leaves our Fridays for excursions. We’ll be traveling to Toledo, Salamanca, Segovia, and Granada. We also have two free weekends, which means I can travel to wherever else I want like Barcelona or Valencia. Our program ends after our trip to Granada, but a few friends and I are staying a few extra days to stay for the Running of the Bulls festival in Pamplona!

In just 5 days I will be headed to Madrid and I am so excited and lucky to be able to spend my summer abroad! One of my favorite quotes is “The world is a book, and those who don’t travel only read one page” by St. Augustine, so I would definitely encourage all of you to study abroad! With the scholarships that Purdue has to offer, it is definitely something manageable, all you have to do is find a place to go!

– Priscilla Gaona, Senior, Movement & Sports Sciences

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Mansfield Mushroom Festival

millThis past Saturday I went with my family to the Historic Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival! It is that time of year when mushrooms start popping up all over Indiana, and Mansfield was a great place to go to kiJ and J Millck off mushroom season; they host an organized mushroom hunt, a contest for the largest mushroom, and a live auction for buying and selling mushrooms. The festival is centered around an old 3-story roller mill full of milling machinery from the 1800s, which was really cool to walk through, especially when accompanied by a machine-obsshadesessed toddler (my son, Jack). Mansfield is about an hour and fifteen minutes south of Purdue, and pretty near Shades State Park, so we stopped off there and did a little hiking as well. It was a great way to spend the day, and a good breather from my end-of-semester studying and paper-writing finale. Summer break, here we come!

–Erin McConnell, Senior, Psychological Sciences

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Extremely Thankful for Study Abroad

I have been in New Zealand for almost 3 months now, and not a day goes by that I am not extremely thankful I made the decision to study abroad. I have learned more than I ever imagined I would be learning here, and the experiences of living across the world have shaped me in so many different ways. While it would be impossible to share everything I have done, I want to highlight 3 of my absolute favorite experiences since being here. 3 moments that will I will always cherish!

lakemarian1. Lake Marian, Milford Sound:  7 of my friends and I packed up our things for a weekend quest to Milford Sound, on the West Coast of the South Island. Spellbound by the beauty of the sound, the mountains that climbed higher than the clouds, and the beautiful reflective pools of water around us made every day a new adventure. Lake Marian though… wow. Words cannot describe the magic of this place. Driving through the sound and searching for a short hike, we came across a DOC sign for Lake Marian. In the spontaneity that seems to be defining my life here, we decided to give it a go and began the track. First crossing a sparkling blue river on a swinging bridge,  then climbing through the lush forest of the west coast, we tramped along. A couple hours of hiking up the intense slope was a recipe for exhaustion and dehydration. Would we ever reach this lake? Our breaks became more frequent and we were questioning if this hike would really be worth it. Yet, we carried on.. we were committed to seeing this place! Finally, at the peak of the mountain, the trees began to open up and I spotted water. We had reached it! And was it ever so worth it! We walked further to see this huge lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains so tall we couldn’t see their peaks. The clouds and mountains reflected perfectly off the water creating a mirror image divided only by the water’s surface. It was an absolutely breathtaking place. There was nobody there–our private little getaway. Everything around us was so still and silent. None of us had words to speak. Just looked, just took in the surreal beauty of this place. Hands down, Lake Marian will forever be one of my favorite places on earth. Absolutely magical. A hidden gem in the peaks of the southern Alps, I would recommend anyone who visits New Zealand to check it out.

okainsbay2. Okains Bay, Akaroa:  Nestled near French Bay, Akaroa is the magic that is Okains Bay. After a day of hiking in Akaroa (reaching the summit of Stony Bay Peak which is also absolutely breathtaking), we scanned the map for a place to camp our van.. and the first and closest place we found was Okains Bay. We arrived at the campsite, a family friendly site in the woods with lots of space, and parked our van in an open spot. We could see the light of the sunset coming through the trees, and ventured out unaware of what was beyond the trees. Turned out to be this beautiful bay–a soft, sandy beach tucked between the lush green land of Akaroa. So quiet and still, the bright blue water crashed peacefully on the shore leaving ripples in the sand and reflecting the purple and pink hues of the sunset. Such an amazing surprise–what we thought was a random campground in the woods turned out to be such a beautiful place. What I can’t share in a photo, but I could never forget, is that night laying on the shore of Okains bay and staring at the constellations. The stars were SO bright and clear. I layed there, nestled between Carly and Peter (two great friends I have met down here) and just took in the expansive wonder of the sky. Some people tried to take pictures but no camera could ever capture how intensely beautiful that sky was. Laying there, warmed by my friends, with sounds of the ocean water crashing beneath us, and lit by the kaleidoscope of light above us, was one of the most peaceful and comfortable moments of my life. Just one of those moments when the reality of life–the reality that I am on the other side of the world, so far away from everything I know, completely detached from the familiar–the reality that here I am, just one person on this earth, and so incredibly small in relation to the universe. I left a piece of my heart in Okains Bay.

glowworm3. Glow Worm Caves, Waitomo:  There is a reason these caves appear on most travel sites’ recommended places to see before you die. They are amazing. The photo is of me, abseiling 37 meters below ground into the cave, which stretches beneath Waitomo for almost 4 miles. Abseiling was an adventure in itself–propelling my body below ground secured only by a rope and harness–a moment of adrenaline and excitement. The real wonder of the caves, though, was not getting in it. It was what lined the cave itself. Our guide, Jay, led us through the cave, swamping through the stream of the cave floor. A few meters into the cave, he asked us to turn off our headlamps. Just as we did, the roof of the cave illuminated with thousands of lights which looked like stars. Glow worms! Simply magical. I cannot put into words how amazing these caves are. The worms (which are actually maggots) have a glowing tail end which attracts flies. They then create silky strings which hang from their bodies, trapping and paralyzing their prey. Definitely the most beautiful maggots I have ever encountered. It was such an incredible experience to walk through the caves, headlamp off, guided by the glow above us. For a part of our excursion, we got to lay on inner tubes and raft through the waters of the cave, again, only lit by the glowing light of the worms. My favorite part of seeing the caves was just the realization that these caves, these beautiful creatures, and the whole wonder that is Waitomo caves, is BELOW ground. Our earth is beautiful, inside and out :)


–Mallory Rotondo, Senior, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

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My Psychology Research

The end of spring semester is always a crazy time but since I am now in my last semester at Purdue research1finishing up is even more exciting!

This past month I finished up the work for my senior thesis and presented at the College of Health and Human Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium. It was really fulfilling to see the research that I’ve worked so hard on the past couple of years be completed and to be able to present about it. If you are interested, the title of my project is “The Effects of Stress on Alcohol-Intake in Mice Lacking the Stress-Related Fkbp5 Gene.”

For those who are entering the field of Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience – anywhere, but especially Purdue – get involved in research!!! It’s so important in a number of ways – from building connections, providing valuable experience, expressing youresearch2r interests, and so on and so on. The department of Psychology here at Purdue does a really great job of providing these opportunities for undergraduates so it’s very important that you take advantage of them.

In fact, I would credit these opportunities, such as my senior thesis, as a huge factor in why I’m officially going to graduate school next year at Virginia Tech. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see four years of hard work here at Purdue pay off and I’m so excited to move to Virginia and get to work on my PhD!

–Alicia Kerr, Senior, Brain and Behavioral Sciences

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Spring Fest At Purdue

Spring at Purdue is probably one of my favorite things. As soon as campus starts getting nice out there are just so many awesome events and activities that Purdue has to offer. This past weekend on campus provided not only beautiful weather but it also provided many different activities that I mentioned are offered in spring. One of my favorite events of spring semester at Purdspringfestue is the Spring Fest and the Bug Bowl! One of the amazing things that Purdue offers every year is for the Agricultural department to host what is called the Bug Bowl. This is a two-day event every spring where students and families can come and experience different aspects of the Agricultural department. They offer different activities such as cricket spitting, learning about different plants and crops (you can even buy some!), a petting zoo, where you can pet different farm animals, and they even have a cow where they let you feel the inside of one of its stomachs! I even got to hold an adorable little duckling! They also have really cool displays on different bugs that have been collected and preserved over the years. There’s even a booth that lets you buy chocolate covered crickets! Other colleges here at Purdue also have their own set ups around campus, offering different foods, crafts, and games, as well as other cool educational information. It’s such a great time to be outside with friends and family. Purdue also had their annual spring football game that’s free for all students, where you can meet some players and watch them scrimmage. Needless to say after such a harsh winter this year, spring fest was a great relief and a great opportunity to spend some quality time on Purdue’s campus!

–Alyssa Major, Senior, Psychological Sciences

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Fun And Free Activities At Purdue!

spring concertFinally! Spring has arrived at Purdue, and with it, some amazing free events. One of the greatest things about a college like Purdue is the free events different organizations put together to entertain the students. This past weekend was filled with a ton of them! On Friday night, PSUB (Purdue Student Union Board) put together a carnival on Engineering Mall. It was decked out with classic carnival games, food, and bouncing obstacle courses. I got to eat cotton candy and delicious hamburgers all for free! I haven’t played some of the games, like a potato sack race, since I was in elementary school. The kid in me really came out and I had an amazing time! On Sunday night, Cary Quad sponsored a free concert, normally on Slater Hill, but because of weather it was moved indoors to Elliott Hall of Music. The concert opened with local band The Clutter, followed by House of Heroes, and finishing with Hellogoodbye. I haven’t heard any of Hellogoodbye’s songs for quite a while, so it was a great throwback! It was a great concert to unwind and relax before a hectic week of tests and classes.

–Mary Jacobs, Senior, Nursing

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The Last Stretch

Hi Everyone! I can’t believe I am in the last stretch of my junior year! It’s crazy to think I’ll be graduating in just ONE semester. I still feel like a fifteen year old so it’s weird to think of myself in the the REAL world. Ahh! Let me fill you in on this semester. I expected my schedule to be really intense and busy because I was taking seventeen credit hours but to my relief, it has actually been one of my most relaxing semesters thus far! I’ve been working at the Miller Laboratory School, right across from Earhart Hall, for about a year now but my schedule has been so busy that I haven’t been able to do many hours. Since my schedule is really relaxed this semester, I decided to take on a few more shifts at work to make a few extra bucks. I’ve always loved working with kids so I absolutely love my job. I get paid to run around and play with kids all day. How much better could it get? : ) I work so often that the kids finally know my name! I know it’s really not that big of deal but it makes me so happy! The extra money has been really nice too, although, I think 90% of it has gone towards Chipotle and Red Mango. (I should probably start saving up sometime soon…) I would definitely recommend students having a job. I’ve found that the busier that I am, the better I do in school. I know that sounds bizarre, but the more free time I have, the more I procrastinate. When I’m busy, I’m so much more productive with my time and actually get work DONE. Also, having a job you actually enjoy makes it so much easier to want to work. I always count on going to work as my escape from the stress of school. Sometimes I get so tied up with classes and exams that it’s nice to just let loose and play duck duck goose with kids.

As far as summer plans, I’m not 100 percent certain what I’m doing. I have my apartment for the rest of the summer so I may stay at Purdue and work at the daycare or go home and find a job there. All I know is that I definitely want to travel! One of my really good friends is from Puerto Rico so I’m really hoping I can visit her sometime this summer. My plan is to save up enough money in the beginning of the summer so I can visit sometime in August! Other than my traveling plans, I will be studying for the GRE, shadowing a speech pathologist and of course, spending time with my family.


– Serina Thottichira, Junior, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

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The Purdue Fashion Show

Fashion Show 1The Purdue Annual Fashion Show was so exciting for me this year, it was my first year putting garments on the runway and it was very rewarding to see all my late nights in the lab and all the stress of getting pieces perfect finally pay off. Ever since I was in the fourth grade I wanted to become a fashion designer and this year was the first time I felt that I could finally call myself a real designer. It felt pretty unreal to see something I created actually come to life; and this has been one of the best things that has ever happen to me thus far. This year I had the responsibility of telling the models when to go on stage and Fashion Show 2communicating with the DJ to “Q” the music. Even though I wasn’t able to go out and watch the show I had a rewarding time backstage and felt honored to be given this position by my two professors. Since I am a sophomore I was required to make two looks, but I also wanted to make my own outfit for the show. So for my first outfit I created a crop top and high-waisted shorts in the same lining material and a very beautiful printed kimono to go on top. For my second outfit I created a baby-doll dress with a pleather bodice and a chiffon skirt and a black and white stripe bandeau to go underneath. And for my outfit I created a strapless sweater top, silky high-waisted pants and a kimono as well. I love working with black Fashion Show 3because I feel the color is sliming, complements every skin tone, and is very sophisticated. I also consider myself to be a minimalist with my designs; I prefer to have simple silhouettes, but experiment with a variety of textiles. I already have a thousand more ideas for what I would like to create for the next fashion show and can’t wait until then!

– Sierra Powell, Sophomore, Apparel Design and Technology

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Meeting the Donor Of The Scholarship I Received

Being an ambassador forretro pete the College of Health & Human Sciences has provided me with rewarding networking opportunities and one event that I particularly enjoy volunteering with is the annual HHS Alumni Board Luncheon. I’ve met outstanding alumni that have accomplished great work in the field of health and human sciences. In particular, I’ve even met the donor of a scholarship that I received when I graduated high school. Dr. John Knote (’59) is distinguished alum in our college and he actually graduated from my high school. He and his family donate a scholarship each year in honor of his mother who was a school teacher for many years at Eastern High School in Greentown, Indiana. Currently, he is a radiologist in Indianapolis and serves on the Purdue Alumni Board of Directors. Another interesting fact was that he was Purdue Pete during his time at Purdue in 1959.

Ever grateful, ever true!

– Courtney Wisher, Senior, Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences

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