Monday, April 25, 2005

Through the Student Affairs/Student Government Travel Scholarship Program, 10 Fairmont State students have been selected to receive scholarships for a study tour experience sponsored by the West Virginia Folklife Center.

The July 4-18 "Roads to Appalachia" trip to Scotland, Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland will explore the roots of Appalachian culture. The trip is arranged by National Travel of Morgantown and Portland, Ore., in collaboration with Globus Special Tours, as a custom tour created by the W.Va. Folklife Center at FSU.

The Student Affairs/Student Government Travel Scholarship Program is a competitive program in which students apply for travel scholarships, write an essay and go through an interview process. The 10 students selected were chosen to be part of the "Roads to Appalachia through Scotland and Ireland Study Program." The scholarships help the students cover two-thirds of their travel expenses.

Students are preparing for the travel study by taking a pre-tour class, Folklore 3399, the Scotland and Ireland Study Program, offered this semester. In the class, the students research, analyze and present the history and culture of the sites and areas to be visited on the actual tour. The students will continue their course while on the tour through extensive journal writing, photography and artifact collecting. When they return, they will serve as culture ambassadors for college and community organizations. Each student is creating an oral presentation of an aspect of the travel experience.

"Travel is the ultimate equalizer and educator," said Dr. Judy P. Byers, Director of the W.Va. Folklife Center. "The trip brings together people of many interests, ages and opportunities. The students are gaining valuable knowledge not only about travel, but also about the cultures of Scotland and Ireland. This comparative study is meaningful to our students because many of the cultural influences in the language and social patterns in Appalachia have their genesis in the British Isles."

Students receiving scholarships are Leslie Bledsoe of Fairmont; Terri Boyce of Grafton; Michael Hayes of Farmington; Caren McCormick of Fairmont; Ashley McDaniel and Andrea McDaniel of Newburg, W.Va.; Johnny Piscitelli of Fairmont; Jason Pitzer of Hambleton, W.Va.; Michelle Robertson of Myersdale, Pa.; and Miranda Webber of Fairmont.

Another component of the program is a GEAR UP Teacher Institute for teachers from the Fairmont State GEAR UP Grant Partnership service area. The teachers will be preparing units, lessons and other teaching resources to present to their students during the 2005-2006 academic year. They will be a part of a pre-tour Teacher Institute that will be held June 23-24 at FS. The FS scholarship students will also be a part of the institute.

Participating teachers are Guy Linda Moyer of Taylor County Middle School and Grafton High School; Rebecca Nicholas of Taylor County Middle School; Eileen Poling of Tucker Valley Middle School; Amy Reynolds of Tucker Valley Middle School; Patricia Schumacher of Doddridge County Middle School, Erica Wilson of Doddridge County Middle School and Carolyn Wotring of Preston High School.

For more information, call Dr. Judy P. Byers at (304) 367-4286 or (304) 367-4403 or e-mail her at jbyers@fairmontstate.edu.