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Feb. 27, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab


SRU students spend break learning abroad      

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University students will be studying new media in London, health practices in Spain, pre-Columbian art in Peru, sales management in Italy and a host of additional topics in other nations during their spring break.

           A dozen SRU classes include an international component that will take them to 10 different countries as part of their standard coursework. Spring break runs March 11-18.

           “This year, we have about 210 students participating in the academic class segment,” said Pamela Frigot, director of international services. “As part of their spring semester, students studying in regular campus classes use spring break to focus on the topic in the host country.’

           Another 10 SRU students will interact with student leaders in Scotland.

           The 10 will participate in workshops, meeting with students involved in student government and student programming at St. Andrews and Edinboro universities. Constance Foley, SRU vice president for student life, and Brad Kovaleski, director of SRU’s Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, will lead the student leadership trip.

           “We think it is important to help students connect their SRU coursework with global perspectives and practices, and what better way than to visit a foreign country and meet with professionals in the field, ” Frigot said. “We think it is great to study Irish history in Ireland, music in Paris and dance in Italy. The seminars provide our students with a more robust and valuable education.”

           Specific programs included this year are:

           Amy Walters, assistant professor of communication, will lead 20 students in her “Communication Age” class to London to focus on communication technologies and cultural applications, including privacy, surveillance, data collection and distribution –  all hot topics in the wake of the ongoing controversy that resulted in Rupert Murdock closing his 168-year-old News of the World newspaper. Employees of the paper were accused of engaging in phone hacking that included members of the royal family, police, politicians and everyday citizens.

           Walters’ students will meet with Metropolitan Police, Bloomberg press officials and the Press Complaints Commission in London.

           Students will tour the Tower of London and attend a “Women in Black” theatre performance.

           Kim Smith, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences, will lead 19 students to Madrid and Barcelona to focus on how wellness promotion and programming is practiced in Spain. Students will visit the Sports Council of Madrid and the University of Barcelona Sport Science Program. A rumba and flamenco class is included in their itinerary.

           Nancy Shipe, assistant professor in the School of Physical Therapy, and her 17 students will visit Barcelona to learn how physical therapy is practiced in the European country.

           The SRU contingent will meet with University Foundation of Bages students and faculty and visit a local hospital. A bike tour of Barcelona and a daytrip to Montserrat are planned.

           Kurt Pitluga, assistant professor of art, and Thomas Como, associate professor of art, will discuss pre-Columbian art with their 24 students in Peru. While in Lima, the SRU group will visit the National Museum as well as the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology. They will also visit Machu Picchu.

           Sixteen students in Rachela Permenter’s class will focus on the Italy of American writers during their visit to Rome, Venice and Florence. Permenter is a professor of English. The group will also visit the Vatican and the Uffizi Gallery.
           Bruce Orvis, associate professor in SRU’s School of Business, will help his 22 SRU students learn about marketing and sales management from an Italian perspective when they visit Rome, Florence, Pisa and Venice. The SRU group will tour the Laguna Murano Glass Factory, Castello Da Verrazanno Winery and the Galleria Porta Di Roma Shopping Mall.

           Twenty-two students in Nola Nolen-Holland’s dance class will see a performance at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in Rome and participate in various classes, including hip-hop and traditional Italian folk dance, as part of their spring break studies. Nolen-Holland is an assistant professor of dance.

           Jodi Katsafanas, assistant professor of special education, will lead her 22 students to the Netherlands where they will visit schools in Amsterdam, Leiden and The Hague. The trip will include a visit to the Anne Frank House and a day-trip to Belgium.

           Alice Del Vecchio, assistant professor of professional studies, is taking her 12 “Non-Profit Leadership” students to the Czech Republic and Poland where they will visit Prague, Warsaw and Krakow. Piotr Plewa, a 1999 SRU graduate now living in Poland, will lead the students on tour of a number of non-governmental organizations and an orphanage. The visit will also include a visit to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and Prague Castle.

           A history of Ireland trip, led by John Craig, professor of history, and Lia Paradis, assistant professor of history, will include a wide range of historical sites for 22 students in their classes. The joint-group will visit Blarney Castle, Muckross House and the Cobh Heritage Centre.

           Nanette Kaplan Soloman, professor of music, will take 14 students to Paris to hear performances by the Orchestre de Paris. The students will tour the Paris Opera and Ravel Museum.

           “In all, the students will undoubtedly come away impressed, informed and better educated, not only about their specific class subject, but about the cultures and people in other countries. They will bring back insights and experiences to share with fellow students and their discussions will enrich the classroom and campus environment. We believe these spring break seminars provide an invaluable opportunity for our students and one that certainly makes a positive impression on potential employers reading their resumes,” Frigot said.


 Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.