April 30, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
PASSHE Summer Honors Program selects two from SRU
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Seth Sykora-Bodie, a senior political science, geography and French major at Slippery Rock University, and Jennifer Kreps, an education major, will spend part of their summer studying in Egypt as part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education's Summer Honors Program.
Sykora-Bodie of Harrisville and Kreps of Lincoln University, are both participants in SRU's Honors Program and were selected as this year's campus representatives.
The annual statewide program, this year organized by Clarion University, is open to all students enrolled in an honors program at a PASSHE institution who will be returning as students the following fall semester. This year's course "Digital Mapping of Place and Space in Islamic Cairo" taught by Yasser Ayad and Laurie Occhipinti, both associate professors at Clarion, runs May 9-27.
"In the course, we will examine current ethnographic perspectives on Egyptian culture. We will focus on religion, urban and rural culture and gender," Ayad said. The objectives of the course are to explore the wide variety of monuments of Islamic Cairo, a historical time that is usually overlooked, but has shaped modern Cairo, and to document those monuments and the historical events associated with their geographic places using tools of geospatial technologies and databases.
Students will make extensive use of Geographic Information Systems as part of their course work in the three-credit program.
"This will help understanding the relationship between the contemporary use of space and place and its historical significance," Ayad said.
Participating students will spend four days at Clarion University for introductory work. In Egypt the group will visit the pyramids of the Giza Plateau and other sites associated with ancient Egypt. A visit to the CultNat Institute will expose students to research in modern Egypt and set the agenda for the next several days when students engage in intensive study of the central Cairo district, Occhipinti said.
The group will also visit the Sinai Peninsula to explore other aspects of Egyptian culture. The St. Katherine Monastery and Mt. Sinai are part of the tour along with the Ras Mohammed National Park, an area with important ecological and environmental significance. As part of the return, the students will also visit Alexandria.
The program began in 1985 and annually visits a different country as part of its overall goal to encourage dedication to the pursuit of human excellence.
Sykora-Bodie, was recently honored at SRU's Academic Honors Convocation as a co-runner-up for the 2010 Syed Ali-Zaidi Award for Academic Excellence presented by PASSHE. He received $500 and a certificate of recognition.
The annual award, established by Ali-Zaidi, a charter member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education board of governors and a strong advocate for the system's universities, honors students who excel in the pursuit of knowledge. The award was inspired by Ali-Zaidi's memory of his grandfather, Mir Wilayat Husain.
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.