News@Gettysburg Latest news coverage from Gettysburg College Crabbing in the Seychelles with Cody Kiefer ’17 Spending eight weeks on a tropical island seems like the perfect way to spend a summer, but for basketball player Cody Kiefer ’17 it was more than just an opportunity to put his toes in the sand.

Many students at Gettysburg study abroad, but as a competitor in a sport that spans both semesters, Kiefer didn’t want to sacrifice valuable time on the court. Instead, he waited until the summer and signed up to do an internship with Global Vision International (GVI) on Curieuse Island, one of 115 islands that make up the Republic of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

“I really wanted to do something that was going to get me some experience,” said Kiefer. “I didn’t want it to look like just a two-month vacation.”

Kiefer’s experience was far from a vacation. After traveling by plane, bus, taxi, and boat over a span of three days, he waded through the waves with his luggage above his head onto the sandy shores of Curieuse, a small granitic island covering an area of just over one square mile.

Kiefer, along with a dozen other volunteers, stayed at an abandoned leper colony which had been cleaned up by GVI. There was little in the way of electricity and running water on the island, and he reserved what little phone service he had for weekly calls home to his parents.

“There was no one on the island except us and a couple park rangers,” recalled Kiefer. “That was half the fun for me. It was a much more laid back way of life.”

Cody surveying brown land crabsThe GVI volunteers worked closely with the Seychelles National Park Authority in keeping track and maintaining the thriving ecosystem. Kiefer and crew surveyed local populations of sea turtles, lemon sharks, and a rare species of palm tree called the coco de mar, which features the heaviest seed pods in the world and only grows on Curieuse and Praslin Island to the south.

Kiefer took the lead on a specific project involving the brown land crabs. He studied the population dynamics, including male-to-female ratio and overall size distribution. This study was the first of its kind conducted on the brown land crabs on Curieuse.

“I thought it would be cool since I have a lot of family in the Maryland area and crabs are a big thing down there,” said Kiefer. “It was all hand catching. It was pretty intimidating at first, but once you got used to it, it was pretty fun.”

Kiefer discovered nearly two-thirds of the crab population was male and generally the crabs caught were older, mature adults. His study will lead to future research to better understand the population of the crustaceans, who play an integral role in the balance of the island’s ecosystem. 

“This was the part of it that made me feel like I was getting experience I could use in the future,” said Kiefer. “The volunteer stuff was awesome and gave me experience, but this was really my own project and I was able to take the lead on it.”

Cody Kiefer '17 playing basketballKiefer has begun his fourth year as a starting forward on the basketball team at Gettysburg, but he didn’t touch a ball during his internship. He looked into getting his hands on a basketball when he first arrived, but the only ball he found was located on the main island of Mahé, several boat rides and a few hundred dollars of travel away.

The lack of basketball didn’t hurt him. He was more than active on the island, hiking up and down the beaches and rocky hillocks each and every day. If anything, the time away from the hardwood reinvigorated the two-time all-conference player.

“I did miss playing a lot,” he said. “It took a little while to shake the rust off, but it was nice to have that spark of interest again after spending so much time away.”

While Kiefer’s focus in environmental studies has been geographic information systems (GIS), his recent island adventure has opened his eyes to the world of ecology.

“I think down the road doing an ecology-conservation grad school opportunity would really put me in a position to do something significant in the future. A dream position would be to do field work for a year somewhere and work toward a master’s.”

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 02:04:57 EST
Summer internship at a U.S. Embassy? It's classified. Studying abroad was more than an opportunity to fulfill a major requirement or even broaden horizons for Amanda Krehbiel ’17.

“My time in Argentina showed me how much I enjoyed studying the language, the culture, and the history,” said the Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (LACLS) and Spanish combined major and physics minor. “It also helped me realize what I did and did not want to do. It let me let go of the things I thought I needed to do but may not have wanted.”

Among the things she wanted?

Dedicating her studies to LACLS, and finding a summer internship that enabled her to return to Latin America—this time, as an intern with the U.S. embassy in Panama working on classified projects.

“It’s definitely fun to see the reactions I get when people ask me what I did this summer, and I tell them I worked at an embassy, but it’s classified,” Krehbiel said. “It also made me realize just how many people do this as a career. They can’t tell people what they do all the time. In some ways it’s very empowering, but also humbling because there are people who do this every day.”

Amanda Krehbiel in Panama.

While her love of Spanish language and Latin American culture is what encouraged her to apply for an internship with the U.S. embassy, she didn’t know it was what she wanted to major in when she first came to Gettysburg College. Studying Spanish was one of the conditions of the Huge W. Cardenas Spanish Scholarship she received from her high school, though, so she declared a minor in the subject early on.

It didn’t take long for her professors to encourage Krehbiel to consider declaring it as a major.

“It wasn’t hard to talk me into,” Krehbiel recalled. “I’ve always loved the language, and I really enjoyed the classes I was taking.”

Above all, she was interested in the opportunity to dive more deeply into related subjects that she didn’t have access to in high school. When her Spanish prof. Alicia Rolon also suggested studying abroad during her sophomore year in order to improve her fluency earlier in her collegiate career, Krehbiel didn’t hesitate.

She scheduled a meeting with the Center for Global Education, and after a conversation about her interests and a few study abroad programs in Latin America, decided on a program in Mendoza, Argentina.

“I loved my time in Argentina,” Krehbiel said. “I stayed with a host family—a single-mother and her 8-year-old son—and was able to visit so many places. Everything is so relaxed there. The people there work to live, not live to work. It helped me to appreciate a different lifestyle.”

Amanda Krehbiel standing at the foot of a mountain in Mondoza, Argentina.

Shortly after coming back home, the Admissions tour guide, Alpha Delta Pi sister, Spanish Peer Learning Associate (PLA) and physics lab assistant knew she wanted to continue her travels in Latin America—but didn’t want to forfeit another semester at the College to do so.

As she looked at her options and talked with her professors, it became more and more clear that a summer internship would her best chance to gain the experience she wanted. Specifically, it was LACLS and Spanish Prof. Alvaro Kaempfer who suggested looking into embassies—whether those of Latin American countries in Washington, D.C., or American embassies around the world.

Krehbiel applied through the federal government job website and listed her top two preferences for placement—Panama and Peru—last October. A month later, she received a phone call from a man working in the embassy in Panama.

“He was very impressed that I was so up-to-date with Latin American politics,” she explained. “This was partly because I had just returned from studying abroad, and partly because of the courses I was taking in my LACLS major. I also remember that he was distinctly impressed that I was a physics minor, too. I think both of those facts played a big role in why I was offered the internship.”

Embassies have five sections—political, economic, management, public affairs, and consular. Krehbiel worked in the political section, and stayed with an American woman working in the consular section. She was able to learn about how foreign service officers live and work, all the while conducting an independent research project concerning a pressing and time-sensitive current issue facing U.S. and Panamanian relations.

Of course, the topic of her project remains classified.

“I knew that I had to get security clearance to even go there because the section that I was working in is a classified section—you can’t enter that section without it,” Krehbiel said. “I figured that I would at least be around that information, but it’s still very weird when you see something that is stamped ‘secret’ for the first time.”

While she is not sure where this experience and her love of Spanish will take her career, she knows that right now, the next step is applying to graduate school.

“It really motivates me when I’m reading or speaking in Spanish and I start to forget that it is a different language,” Krehbiel said. “I just know that I don’t feel ready to stop studying or speaking Spanish. I’m thinking I might get a Ph.D. and become a professor, but we’ll see. It would let me share what I love with other people, and that’s what I really want.”

Fri, 02 Dec 2016 03:55:41 EST
Florida Diaries: Q & A with Art Prof. Amer Kobaslija Art and Art History Prof. Amer Kobaslija’s early memories include long summers enjoying blue skies above the river Vrbas in Bosnia.  “My first artistic impulses were born in that environment,” he said in an interview published in a book about his work. “I think that a sense of awe and subliminal wonderment about the fleeting spirit of those days—and an urge to respond and somehow capture those impressions—is what led me to pick up a brush and start painting.”

Representational painting dominates Kobaslija’s work, which encompasses subjects from studios he’s worked in to the landscapes of places he’s traveled. Kobaslija came to the United States in 1997, having fled war in his home city of Banja Luka at the age of eighteen four years prior.  Today, he divides his time between Florida, where he immigrated, Gettysburg, and New York.

David Rampersad ’17, an Art Studio major, recently interviewed Kobaslija about his most recent project, called Florida Diaries. The artwork, along with the interview, will be on display at an upcoming exhibition at Schmucker Art Gallery titled Conversations: Studio Art Faculty Exhibition from January 31 through March 10, 2017. 

Rampersad: What drew you to Florida? What was contextually interesting about it?

Kobaslija: Every summer since I immigrated to the U.S. I have gone back to Florida to recharge after a year of work in the studio. These rare, unspoiled landscapes are places of refuge for me. At the same time, Florida is the place where real-estate development never ceases to slow down and where suburban settlements are always expanding. The juxtaposition of untouched natural beauty and the impending, aggressive development onset by humanity is ever-present. In an ecosystem as fragile as the lowlands of Florida this rapid growth – along with the agrarian abuse of land – creates a huge threat to the environment.

Riverscape with Landfills

Riverscape with Landfills, Oil on panel, 2015

Land Surveyor

Land Surveyor, Oil on panel, 2016

Shipyards Condominiums, Breaking Ground

Shipyards Condominiums, Breaking Ground, Oil on panel, 2016

 What is the purpose of the works? What reaction to the landscape do they convey?

The idea is to convey the sense of natural wonder in these paintings—and what it feels like to be there: the phenomenon of being in that place. And then – considering that these oasis-like environments are silently vanishing – there is this other evolving narrative of loss and the troubled relation between our species and nature. I am also reacting to Florida's own haunted history. There is more to this place than meets the eye. Centuries ago, the Europeans came and conquered, brought their duplicitous laws and a distorted sense of morality—and did much harm in the process. We are also aware of the recent events such as the murder of Trayvon Martin—not an accident but an episode symptomatic of greater obstacles haunting the state of Florida and the rest of the nation many decades after the Civil Rights Movement.

House Burning

House Burning, Lake George, Oil on panel, 2016


Stray, Oil on panel, 2016

Southern Migration

Southern Migration, Oil on panel, 2016

Used Cows for Sale

Used Cows for Sale, Oil on panel, 2016

How does one interpret these paintings, as they factor into/react to the greater historical narrative of the United States/the South?

When a colleague of mine looked at the painting Lowe’s Tubes, she mentioned how it made her think of Billie Holiday’s iconic song Strange Fruit. The song tells a story of the Deep South in the years of segregation, and someone, through the windshield of their car, seeing a tree in the distance with what they thought was “strange fruit” hanging from it. But as the car approaches the tree, the driver sees people lynched, hanging from that tree. This song I was not familiar with when I made the painting. But then again, it is about what the viewer brings to it. The context defines the narrative. There is much that is brewing beneath these otherwise calm Florida waters. All that affects how one reads my Florida paintings. These works portray states of mind. They could be interpreted as “mindscapes.” Paintings are portals. They are also mirrors, revealing as much about the seer as the seen. Not unlike what we see in traditional Chinese painting, what is shown as well as the subject matter are means to convey the inner spirit of the scene in question.

Lowe's Tubes

Lowe’s Tubes, Ichetucknee, Oil on panel, 2014

Plein-Air Painter

Plein-Air Painter, Oil on panel, 2016

Read more about Kobaslija’s work, and find out how he earned a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 05:03:55 EST
15 Instagram pics of campus from new perspectives Gettysburg College has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country—with iconic buildings, scenic grounds, and vibrant skies that are often beyond description. But with the rush of the day-to-day, it’s easy to overlook the breathtaking landmarks around us.

Then you see a great photo—maybe it’s the angle, the lighting, or simply the vision of a talented photographer—and suddenly you see campus anew, and fall in love with Gettysburg all over again!

Below are 15 unique Instragram photos that bring our incredible campus to life.

1. Quarry Pond framed by autumn leaves.

Quarry Pond framed by autumn leaves.

Photo by Lizzy Cooper ’17.


2. Jaeger Center from the west end of campus at sunrise.

Jaeger Center from the west end of campus at sunrise.

Photo by Kelly Palmer ’17.


3. Glatfelter Hall illuminated as storm clouds roll in.

Glatfelter Hall illuminated as storm clouds roll in.


4. Branches tower over Pennsylvania Hall.

Branches tower over Pennsylvania Hall.


5. Winter reflections of McKnight Hall.

Winter reflections of McKnight Hall.


6. Hints of spring amidst Penn Hall columns.

Hints of spring amidst Penn Hall columns.


7. Tomato plants enjoy the view of Glatfelter from the greenhouse.

Tomato plants enjoy the view of Glatfelter from the greenhouse.


8. Jaeger Center solar panels soak up the sun.

Jaeger Center solar panels soak up the sun.

Photo by Derek Frank.


9. Dawn at the Painted Turtle Farm.

Dawn at the Painted Turtle Farm.


10. The Eisenhower Institute mirrored by the Tiber.

The Eisenhower Institute mirrored by the Tiber.

Photo by Albert Vill ’16.


11. Science Center seen from McCreary Hall.

Science Center seen from McCreary Hall.

Photo by Evan Crawley ’18.

12. Floating above Clark Field during evening practice.

Floating above Clark Field during evening practice.


13. Water dances across the campus fountain.

Water dances across the campus fountain.

Photo by Julie Schuldt ’17.


14. Science Center windows capture the colors of the sunset.

.  Science Center windows capture the colors of the sunset.


15. Kirchhoff Field viewed through a fisheye lens.

Kirchhoff Field viewed through a fisheye lens.

Photo by Erica Nye ’17.


Send us your best images for our Photo of the Day at and follow Gettysburg College on Instagram.

Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:32:56 EST
Tackling housing insecurity in Adams County “We’re scared every month that we don’t know if we’re going to have a roof over our head the following month.”

-resident of Adams County

Every three years, Adams County performs a Community Health Needs Assessment to identify areas that are in need of increased attention. In the 2015 assessment, lack of affordable housing was identified as one of the top priorities for the county. According to the data, approximately 1 in 5 people are stressed or worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

For policy makers, it’s not enough to know that people struggle to pay their rent or mortgage. They also need to understand that housing insecurity may be associated with important (and costly) health impacts.

That’s where health sciences Prof. Amy Dailey comes in. Dailey, a social epidemiologist and Adams County resident, has spent the majority of her 15-year career investigating public health concerns, including disparities in food, cancer screenings, and now, housing. She utilizes community-based participatory research (CBPR) – a partnership approach to researching with the community during all phases of the research process.

“Working with the Center for Public Service, I was welcomed into long-standing community partnerships that have embraced this approach to local research,” said Dailey.

Kathy Gaskin & Prof. Amy DaileyDailey was asked to serve as a data analyst for the Community Health Needs Assessment by Kathy Gaskin, Executive Director of Healthy Adams County. Healthy Adams County is an organization that is committed to bringing together key stakeholders from across the community to unite them in efforts to better Adams County.

“It is one thing for us to speculate on what we think is the right direction and another to let the data show us that we are indeed focused in the right area and that we understand the true effects of poor housing on health,” said Gaskin.

Dailey jumped on the chance to be part of the research  — and she has resources.

To get started, Dailey’s epidemiology class analyzed variables in the data with a statistical analysis program. The class spent time organizing their findings into specific areas to investigate: general health indicators, health behavior indicators, health condition indicators, and mental health indicators. According to the research, Adams County residents who worry about rent or mortgage are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression.

The research continued throughout the summer as Alyce Norcross ’17, a health sciences major, worked with Dailey on qualitative research as to why housing matters for health.

As a Mellon Scholar, Norcross interviewed members of the community to learn about their every day experience. Through the interviews, she reframed her research to focus on why over half the housing vouchers issued have not been successfully used. 

Alyce Norcross at conference“We identified several barriers, including lack of affordable and quality housing in the area, transportation issues, and even misconceptions about who uses the voucher program,” said Norcross. She presented a poster on this topic at the American Public Health Association’s conference in November and won the Undergraduate Poster Competition. Norcross is continuing to focus on this research as part of her senior year capstone project.

“Numbers alone may not motivate the change that is necessary to guarantee the right to housing. I hope my work will allow those who often do not have a voice in the decisions of their community to finally have a powerful voice,” said Norcross.

The findings are already being put to good use. There have been several Town Hall meetings on the topic and a committee has formed to develop a strategic plan. In July, Dailey and Gaskin were one of twelve teams selected from across the nation to attend the CBPR Partnership Academy in Detroit. As a result of this academy, they received a small grant to continue their partnership development and research.

Dailey explained that Adams County has a large population of people who are working in the service or agricultural industries. Typically, these occupations are low-wage and their paychecks can’t cover all of their basic necessities.

“Many of the same broad determinants that are leading to food insecurity are also associated with access to affordable housing, health care, transportation, and child care, which have significant consequences for health, education, and economic development. We’re looking to pull together our community partners to address these concerns holistically,” she said.

Dailey, Gaskin, and Gretchen Natter, from the Center for Public Service, organized a retreat in November for local community partners and interested faculty to establish a community-wide research agenda, including how they can make use of existing data in a more cohesive way.

“Organizations were enthusiastic about exploring opportunities to share data, collaborate on research and evaluation, and document progress on community-wide outcomes,” Dailey said. She is hopeful that this initiative will provide ample opportunities for Gettysburg College faculty, staff, and students to engage in sustained community-based learning and research that is connected to a partnership-driven agenda.

Wed, 30 Nov 2016 10:06:09 EST
Marley Dizney Swanson ’18 studies immigration in Cuba and around the world Growing up in Portland, Oregon, in a predominantly Hispanic community, Marley Dizney Swanson ’18 saw the effects of immigration policies firsthand. Her classmates’ experiences in elementary school sparked a lifelong focus to change immigration policy in the United States. And at Gettysburg, she has been able to pursue experiences that will help her accomplish that goal.

Marley Dizney Swanson '18 When it was time for the college search, Dizney Swanson knew she wanted to be close to Washington, D.C., major in Political Science, and have a liberal arts experience.

She was convinced that Gettysburg was the right place for her after meeting Eisenhower Institute Executive Director Jeffrey Blavatt. She participated in an overnight visit that solidified her decision—with student Maja Thomas ’17—who is one of her friends today.

Dizney Swanson, a Political Science and Public Policy major, has co-founded and served as president of the Model Arab League (MAL), earned a prestigious Critical Language Scholarship to spend a summer in Turkey immersing herself in the Turkish language and culture, led an immersion project through the Center of Public Service about immigration to the U.S.-Mexican border, and participated in the Eisenhower Institute’s Inside Politics program with Kasey Pipes. She’s also been an active member in Model United Nations (MUN). 

In the spring of 2016, she studied abroad in Cuba through the IFSA-Butler program, where she enrolled in classes at the University of Havana. All of her classes were taught in Spanish.

“Being a political science major and with the normalization process going on right now, there’s not a more exciting place in the world for me to be,” Dizney Swanson said. “I’ve never been to a country that the U.S. has so much negative history with, and it changed the way I think about immigration and politics.”

Marley Dizney Swanson '18 in Cuba

Dizney Swanson was able to see the real effects of the policies that have been enacted over the years and found many Cubans were eager to speak about politics with her. She was in Cuba when President Obama visited as well as when the Major Lazer and Rolling Stones concerts took place.

“President Obama’s visit only catalyzed more talk about political change in the country in terms of freedom of speech and leadership," she said. "Cubans are anxious to see what becomes of the Cuban government in 2018 when Raúl Castro has promised to step down.”

While in Cuba, Dizney Swanson had the opportunity to participate in an international branch of MUN. In HAVMUN, she served as a member of the Disarmament and International Security Council, with students from Mexico, Germany, and Cuba.

“The committee was just as competitive as the conferences I’ve attended in the North American circuit; they are incredibly knowledgeable in this field,” said Dizney Swanson. She will be participating in the London School of Economic’s MUN conference’s committee on the Cuban Revolution in the spring with Gettysburg’s MUN team.

Dizney Swanson took the opportunity to work on her thesis while in Cuba and earned an International Bridge Course scholarship to pursue the research.

“My thesis is about how the Castro brothers have and continue to use the legacy of Jose Martí (the leader of the revolution who is revered as a national hero), in order to further their own political agenda,” she said.

Through her research, Dizney Swanson analyzed speeches and learned more about the political system and revolution in her classes at the University of Havana.

Dizney Swanson will be participating in the Eisenhower Institute’s Inside the Middle East program in the spring. In the future, she plans to be active in immigration reform and work in immigration law.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 02:11:41 EST
LeVar Burton on the power of storytelling and the Gettysburg Address When LeVar Burton was invited to Gettysburg to speak about Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the annual Dedication Day ceremony, he also wanted to make time to meet with Gettysburg College students for a “casual conversation” about the power of storytelling.

“The most powerful tools we have are the ability to share our stories and the ability to listen to the stories of others who we may not agree or identify with,” said the actor, presenter, director, and author.

Burton met with students studying history, education, Civil War Era studies, and theatre arts—all areas that his career has been inextricably intertwined with—in Kline Theatre on Friday afternoon.

The conversation was influenced by more than just Burton’s own career championing social justice and education. The Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow star’s conversation also touched on history and recent political events—and how sharing our stories can help us find a way forward.

Burton speaks with students.

“The power of storytelling is why I love what I do,” Burton said.

To illustrate this point, he discussed his role as Kunta Kinte in the television mini-series Roots (1977). He auditioned for it as a sophomore at the University of Southern California School of Theater. It was his first audition ever, and he describes it as validation that he was pursuing what he was meant to do with his life.

Not only did it confirm his chosen profession of acting, but it opened his eyes to the effect storytelling could have and the trajectory he wanted his career to take.

Before Roots, Burton claims that slavery was only ever discussed in terms of the economic impact it had on a fledgling country. After Roots, “it was impossible to think about slavery without thinking of the slaves,” Burton said.

It’s a story that he so believes needs to be heard, he has brought it back to television earlier this year.

“All storytelling is education,” Burton said. “The question is what are we teaching.”

Students shared comments and asked questions about everything from their view of equality to advice on how to share their stories in a more meaningful way.

“As storytellers, I do believe we have the obligation to do more than entertain. When we do our jobs right, we can lift ourselves up and light the way for one another,” Burton said. “At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

Burton delivered a similar message the following day at the 2016 Dedication Day ceremony, marking the 153rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, while also focusing on the political divisiveness found across the country.

Burton delivers the keynote address at the 2016 Dedication Day ceremony.

“We are indeed a house divided,” Burton said. “Not since the occasion we commemorate today has the chasm in our country been so pronounced, so profound.”

He challenged the audience to commit themselves to the ideals espoused in Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

“The way forward is clear: We must rededicate ourselves to the proposition that in this country, all men and women are created equal and as such, we are all deserving of and entitled to the dignity and respect we ourselves would want to be accorded. Otherwise, the dead which surround us here in this place will have died in vain.”

View the full text of Burton’s speech, or watch a recording of the ceremony.

The Dedication Day ceremony was sponsored by the Gettysburg Foundation, The Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site, Destination Gettysburg, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania, and Gettysburg College.

View pictures from Burton’s visit to campus and the Dedication Day ceremony on Flickr.

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 03:30:41 EST
Exploring the research adventure with Prof. Emelio Betances Picture this.

You’re researching gender roles present in Latin American music and are wondering how they reinforce or contradict gender roles that exist within Latino cultures. 

Or you’re learning about immigration reform in class and are curious about the societal causes that are inherently linked to this larger political discussion. 

Or perhaps you are spending a semester abroad and are interested in the cultural significance of the historic architecture you pass by everyday on your way to class. 

How exactly would you get started? 

Professor Emelio Betances has the answer. 

A professor in both Sociology and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies, Betances understands first-hand the effectiveness of using sociological theories to understand Latin American society, and developed the proper skills and tools to do so. It’s a strategy that Betances has found so efficient, he’s passed it along to his students through an invitation to participate in, what he calls, a “research conversation.” 

The research conversation 

The research conversation is simple: you do research on a particular subject, event, or culture that you want to learn more about. Then you use that research to inform and guide a conversation with the people who have lived the experiences you are trying to understand. 

According to Betances, it is a cornerstone of sociological research, and despite one’s research in the field, the results are never what you would expect. 

Headshot of Professor Emelio Betances.

“Sociological research is a conversation and an adventure, because you don’t know what’s going to happen," Betances said. “I use the ‘conversation’ term as a strategy to attract students, so they can think, ‘it’s not so hard!’ And they will want to participate in the conversation, too.” 

Students want to participate in the conversation that's taken place already, as well as contribute something new. 

"It requires that you find out what others are saying in the sociological literature," explained Betances. "Once you have identified the leading questions of concern to scholars, you need to formulate your own research interrogations. This prepares you to go to the field to find out the answers to the questions you have raised and make your own contribution.”

Betances invited two of his advisees—Shelby Reese ’18, a Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies (LACLS) and Spanish double major with a sociology minor, and Mairead McCarthy ’18, a LACLS/Spanish and Sociology double major—to join the conversation.

Participation in the research conversation involves some give and take. When adding to the conversation, Reese explained, "You have to be responsive to what others are saying, but you're also making your own little discoveries. You can't just conduct your research in a vacuum."

Internationalizing their research

Man walking past mural in Cuba.

McCarthy is putting her skills to use by spending the fall semester abroad in Cuba. There, she’s able to understand the social side of the Latin American democracy (along with its ties to the US), all thanks to Betances.

“In one of our last meetings before I went abroad, Professor Betances offered to connect me with academics in the Caribbean that he knew,” said McCarthy. “He offered a few suggestions of places to visit in Cuba—like Plaza de la Revolución and club Tropicana—that are very meaningful to the history of Latin American government.”

Reese will also have an abroad experience for the spring semester to Mexico City. Betances has acted as her “personal mentor,” and the two have worked closely to ensure that Reese feels comfortable and prepared to conduct her own research in a place that she’s spent so much time studying.

“I want Shelby to have the basic skills of research and interviews before she goes, so she can do it on her own in Mexico,” Betances said. “I’m training her so she’s prepared. I’ve tailored assignments for her so she develops these important skills.”

These assignments range from reading excerpts from important sociologists’ novels, to watching interviews Betances recorded in the Dominican Republic, and noting how he deviated from his original script.

“All that I’m learning from him is going to be so useful in Mexico,” said Reese. 

Moving forward

Along with providing lessons to these students on researching and interviewing structures, Betances taught Reese and McCarthy the importance of broadening their horizons, taking initiative, and the power of learning.

“He’s teaching me how to learn,” said Reese. “He’s boosting my knowledge as a person, not just in the grades for his class.” 

Betances also pushed McCarthy outside of her comfort zone to connect with people from fields she isn’t totally familiar with. She deems this—the approach to academia cross-sectionally—the most valuable skill she’s taken from Professor Betances. 

“He doesn’t confine himself to knowledge of one topic,” said McCarthy. “He really shows his students how things are interconnected.”

In addition to his work in two departments, publishing his most recent book, In Search of Citizenship: Social Movements and Democratization in the Dominican Republic, and embarking on new exploration of literature in the northern region of the Dominican Republic, Betances takes his role as a mentor very seriously, in part because he is cognizant of the impact he can have on his students.

“If you play the violin, you can practice for seven hours. But if you have a good teacher, he’ll teach you skills that you only have to practice for five,” Betances said. “The idea is to get students to work and learn more effectively, because they have other things to do. I try to teach them the skills that they need in their life, so they can do more in less time.” 

Mon, 28 Nov 2016 02:17:25 EST
Photos & Video: Servo Thanksgiving is the best tradition! What makes SERVO Thanksgiving the best tradition?

Watch the video and listen as Darryl Jones, Senior Associate Director of Admissions, breaks it down.

It starts with 224 turkeys and nearly 2,000 slices of pumpkin pie.

While the food is cooking, students line up outside of Servo with their Gettysburg family, waiting to be seated inside.

When the doors finally open, faculty, administrators, and staff work together to serve students a complete Thanksgiving feast – turkey carving, for better or worse, is left to the students.

Students eat, drink, and share what they are thankful for.

View photos on Flickr.

Sat, 19 Nov 2016 12:12:25 EST
Post-election 2016, professors encourage campus community to get out of the bubble “There is value in trying to reflect, and this is what Gettysburg College is about,” Prof. Michael Birkner '72 P'10 said to students, faculty, and administrators gathered in the College’s Joseph Theater during a panel hosted by the Eisenhower Institute on Thursday, November 17, as part of the EI Discussions series.

Associate Provost Robert Bohrer facilitated the conversation with Gettysburg College Profs. Michael Birkner, Chipo Dendere, Bruce Larson, Shirley Anne Warshaw, and Charles Weise. The aim of the 90-minute panel was to investigate the election outcome, foster positive discussion, and bring together members of the campus community after what many have viewed as a divisive political season.

The panelists largely agreed that the economy was a focal point in the election—and an issue on which political scientists and forecasters alike did not focus enough attention when making predictions.

“If there’s one [main result] that comes out of the election in economic terms, it’s a visceral awareness that there is real pain within the middle class,” offered Weise, an economics professor.

Students at the post-election panelWarshaw, a political science professor, pointed out the ways in which President-elect Donald Trump was able to address this issue: “The bottom line is that the Republican candidate may have said some [contentious remarks], the Republican candidate may have done some [controversial actions], but the bottom line is that he won the economic argument.”

Another central feature of the discussion was partisanship. Political Science Prof. Larson highlighted the continued division of Congress and the ideological split over the past 40 years, to which substantial gridlock and unexecuted policy agendas can be attributed.

“We see polarized districts, polarized states, and what that does is completely polarizes the whole system,” Larson said. 

“That’s a problem when you surround yourself with people who only think like you,” Africana Studies Prof. Dendere offered. “I think a lot of us are in a bubble we self-select.”

Offering hope for the future, Dendere said there are greater opportunities post-election for Americans to engage in conversation with one another.  

Birkner advised members of the audience to engage with differing political views and to read news far outside their ideology to cross-reference beliefs.

“This is the challenge. I don’t care how you access the information: get out of the bubble,” he said. “If your side has the facts wrong, Democrat or Republican, accept that they have the facts wrong. Go where the facts are. You will gravitate, not to perfect agreement, but to points of agreement.”

The Eisenhower Institute at Gettysburg College promotes the undergraduate study, analysis, and understanding of critical public and global issues and develops engaged citizens guided by President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s example of principled leadership. Learn more

Mon, 21 Nov 2016 09:19:50 EST
Cantele receives top honor from IWLCA Gettysburg College head coach Carol Cantele ’83 was recognized for her dedication and commitment to the sport of women’s lacrosse with the Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award at the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Honors Banquet at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort Thursday evening.

The annual awards banquet ended with the IWLCA’s highest honor being bestowed upon Cantele. The Diane-Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award is named in honor of the legendary Loyola coach whose courageous battle with cancer inspired the nation and recognizes lifetime achievement to the women’s college game.

“What an honor it is to be named this year’s recipient of the Diane Geppi-Aikens Memorial Award,” said Cantele, Gettysburg’s head coach for the last 24 years. “Diane was one of the first coaches that I met when I began my coaching stint at Gettysburg College. Her lessons remain with me and likely with all those who had the pleasure to coach alongside her. I am truly humbled to receive this award.”

For more than four decades, Cantele has devoted her time and energy to women’s lacrosse. As a student-athlete, Cantele (formerly Daly) played a pivotal role in establishing Gettysburg as a premier contender in both lacrosse and field hockey. She helped the field hockey team claim the school’s first national title in 1980 and the following spring, she led the lacrosse team to its first national playoff appearance.

After earning her master’s degree as a graduate assistant with the lacrosse program at Miami (Ohio) University, Cantele began her career as a head coach at Plymouth State University in 1989. After winning just five games in her first two seasons, she guided the team to a 19-5 record in her final two campaigns.

In 1992, Cantele returned to her alma mater to fill the shoes of her former mentor, Lois Bowers. It didn’t take long for the Bullets to reach greater heights under the new coach. In 1995, the team won the ECAC Mid-Atlantic title and in 2000 Gettysburg won its first Centennial Conference championship. Cantele has guided the Bullets to a league record 10 conference titles, including the latest in 2016.

On the national scene, Gettysburg has appeared in the NCAA Division III Championship 16 times in the last 17 seasons. The Bullets have made five trips to the national semifinals, including two trips to the title game. In 2011, Cantele led the team to its first national title and the first team national championship at Gettysburg since her field hockey team three decades before.

In her 24 seasons at the helm, Gettysburg has posted a record of 357-102 (.778), including 184-33 (.848) in conference play. Overall, Cantele has produced a career record of 381-125 (.753) over 28 seasons as a lacrosse coach.

Cantele has coached 39 IWLCA All-Americans, six IWLCA Players of the Year, 93 all-region selections, and 127 all-conference honorees. She has had a resounding impact on the future of women’s lacrosse as many of her former players and assistant coaches have become head coaches themselves.

“Carol is compassionate and driven and challenges those around her to be their very best,” said Katie Hagan ’07, who was an assistant coach with the Bullets from 2009-11 and is currently the head coach at Ursinus College. “She doesn’t tell you she cares; she shows you she cares.”

Off the field, Cantele has been a guiding force in the athletics department and campus community. She is Assistant Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator. She serves as advisor of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and she played a key role in the establishment of the Green Dot Awareness Program at Gettysburg.

Prior to becoming an assistant AD and SWA, Cantele also served as the head coach of the Bullets’ field hockey program where she won 121 games and claimed five conference championships.

In 2009, Cantele was presented with the Judith M. Sweet Commitment Award by the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), given to those individuals who have provided leadership and commitment to colleagues and student-athletes in intercollegiate athletics.

During her career she has served on the IWLCA’s All-American, Communications, and RSGA committees and on the NCAA Division III Lacrosse Committee. Cantele was the head coach of the U.S. Developmental Team and served as an assistant coach with Team USA during its run to the gold medal at the 2013 World Cup.

A two-time IWLCA Division III Coach of the Year and eight-time regional coach of the year, Cantele shies away from taking personal credit for her team’s achievements during her tenure, instead citing the many contributions of players, coaches, and staff members over the years.

“I feel this award is recognition of the program’s success as well as a reflection on Gettysburg College and the athletic program,” said Cantele. “You are only as strong as the people you surround yourself with and I have been blessed to be surrounded by energizing and talented folks in an incredible environment.”

Fri, 18 Nov 2016 11:09:44 EST
Gettysburg ranked 2nd in the nation for semester-long study abroad experiences Gettysburg College ranks second in the nation and is the top liberal arts college in Pennsylvania for mid-length study abroad experiences, according to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange released yesterday by The Institute of International Education (IIE). 

Recognizing the value of preparing tomorrow’s global leaders, Gettysburg College provides opportunities for students to study around the world. Studying abroad is an integral part of the Gettysburg College academic experience, embodying the curricular goals of engaged learning and global citizenship.

Study Abroad photo

Three out of five Gettysburg students spend at least one semester abroad. In addition to taking coursework, many students conduct field research, work as interns, live with local residents, and study languages ranging from Arabic to Zulu. Extended experiences provide opportunities for deeper understanding and reflection.

“At Gettysburg College, we believe that global study opportunities should be accessible to everyone. In collaboration with our academic departments, we focus on offering semester-length programs that allow students to fully engage with their host country, and ultimately make ties between their global experience and their on-campus learning,” said Dean for Global Initiatives Rebecca Bergren.

Another study abroad photo

“Our top ranking not only represents a significant number of Gettysburgians who study globally for a semester, but it also reflects participation by students from every major on campus, who are studying in programs in 37 countries on six continents.”

In addition to providing global opportunities abroad, the College also continues to focus on diversity and inclusivity on campus. Students come from over 38 different countries across the world.

Learn more about Gettysburg College’s Center for Global Education.

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 09:36:50 EST
Can you tweet your way to democracy? “I think for me, research and teaching are connected,” said Prof. Chipo Dendere. “I can't do research and not teach, and I can't teach and not do research.”

Dendere, an Africana Studies professor at Gettysburg, is passionate about studying and teaching African democracy and migration—learning about the international community so she can more holistically educate her students.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dendere moved to the United States for college, quickly becoming a fiercely curious scholar, and eventually, earning a Ph.D. in political science.  Before coming to Gettysburg, she worked with African policy makers on Capitol Hill and was also a consultant at The World Bank, where she primarily conducted data analyses on the financial institutions in Bangladesh.

All of these experiences have now led to her current teaching and research, which focuses on democratization.

“My primary research has been on democracy and migration. I study why people leave and the factors that influence people who leave home,” Dendere said.

Influenced by her personal experience as an immigrant and her academic background in political science, Dendere found herself drawn to research on mass African migration and the politics that affect the migratory patterns.

Her recent research efforts have involved new media and the role it plays in democratic systems both in the United States and in African countries.

“I've started working on some projects about the relationship between social media and democracy,” she said. “I've looked at the number of people that post about politics on Twitter and Facebook—and the people who engage online—to see if that action translates to real political action on the ground.”

Dendere’s research has provided her with knowledge about social media and the role it plays in democracy today, both in the United States and in the developing world—knowledge, which she is then able to share with her students.

“Social media matters—it increases political awareness, especially in less democratic countries were the media is censored,” Dendere said.  “Social media gives young people access to engage, but as we’ve seen with the US election, social media participation is not enough. Those who engage online will need to become active citizens.”

Prof. Chipo Dendere

Life at Gettysburg

Dendere came to Gettysburg to teach and conduct research through the Gondwe Scholars program, which aims to promote diversity within the faculty by providing recipients with the opportunity to conduct individual research projects while teaching classes.

“I think that my students appreciate my background because in class, we are able to talk beyond the textbook and I can give them real life examples,” Dendere said. “For example, the Gondwe lecture was wonderful because the speaker was actually my old boss from The World Bank. Being able to make those connections between the theoretical concepts and the real-world financial market is really important to me.”

The students she met during the interview process also drew Dendere to Gettysburg. “They were so engaged and asked some really insightful questions,” Dendere said. “This felt like a place where I could teach and make a difference—but I could also have a really good time! I just instantly fell in love with the school and the people.”

Prof. Chipo Dendere

Hannah Dallman ’17, an Africana Studies major, describes the personal relationship she fostered with Dendere through their mutual passion for African culture.

“Chipo has become a mentor for me—someone I can talk to about my friends from Zimbabwe and my experiences abroad in South Africa,” Dallman said. “We’ve talked about her varied-career background. She was even able to give me the contact information of people that might be helpful to me in my own career search.”

Prof. Chipo Dendere

With an engaged student body and lively class discussions, Dendere teaches her students how to understand and think critically about multidimensional issues like politics and democracy.

“Teaching about democracy and politics, it can be very uncomfortable because most people haven't thought about politics, and they may be scared to share their opinions because they don't want to be judged,” said Dendere. “My hope is that I am always able to create a safe space for all students— students of different and diverse political orientations, sexuality, race or religion.”

In light of the recent U.S. election, the discussions fostered in Dendere’s classroom have been politically fueled, and difficult at times.

“My students can look at both sides of an issue and have intelligent conversations with one another—that's what college is about,” said Dendere.

“In the past few weeks we have had some really hard discussions in class, but the thoughtful conversations and positive student feedback have only reaffirmed my love for Gettysburg—it’s why I chose to come here.

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 08:45:54 EST
Taylor Holloran ’16 finds his footing in Phnom Penh Just a few months after graduation, Taylor Holloran ’16 spends his mornings navigating rush hour traffic in Phnom Penh instead of racing to class after breakfast at Servo.

He’s living in the capital of Cambodia as part of a year-long fellowship with the Princeton in Asia (PiA) program. While he calls the city itself a radical change from Gettysburg—and from any other city he has found himself in, too—the experience has taught him a lot about the world and his relation to it.

“Every time I learn something new, it emphasizes to me how little I used to know. It’s like being in the middle of this growing expanse, where I realize I know so much less than I thought, and in the other direction I’m realizing there is so much more to learn than I ever could have imagined,” Holloran explained.

“But it’s not overwhelming. It’s satisfying to realize I know proportionally less than I thought I did. You get better at appreciating what you do know.”

Man on motorcycle in Phnom Penh.

Learning to learn

Questioning conventional beliefs and operating in a framework of unknown answers is something that Holloran is familiar with. As a philosophy major, it is something that he is more than comfortable with—it’s what drew him to the major in the first place.

Taylor Holloran on the Frisbee team.

Taylor Holloran ’16 (l) playing Ultimate Frisbee.

“We would discuss questions and problems and figure out how to arrive at an answer; we learned how to effectively and substantially question the answers we were given,” Holloran said. “To learn that you are allowed to question everything, and to do it with the guidance of professors of extraordinary caliber was the greatest privilege of my time at Gettysburg.”

He came to Gettysburg knowing just how quickly his four years here would pass by, and was determined to get involved in academic opportunities and activities that mattered most to him. As a result, he declared a major in philosophy early on and developed strong relationships with his professors. He joined the Ultimate Frisbee team and became the team captain by his senior year. He impacted sophomore community spaces by working as a Residence Life student staff member, and was the philanthropy chair for his Greek organization, Phi Delta Theta.

“I’m glad I took every opportunity I could to get involved in this or that corner of the school,” Holloran said. “I think the things that are really worth regretting are the things you don’t do, and I don’t have any of those regrets when I think of Gettysburg.”

Getting the job

It was in the middle of his senior year that Holloran first heard about PiA and decided to apply. He was looking for an opportunity to travel and continue to learn, and loved what he heard about the century-old fellowship program for ambitious college graduates.

“A program as well established in Asia as PiA is hard to find,” Holloran explained.

As the days until Commencement dwindled, though, Holloran’s hopes to work abroad diminished.

 “I had given up on the idea that I was going to get a job before graduating, and instead began looking at internships and job hunting from home,” Holloran said. “There had been a time when I was considering packing up everything and moving to Asia, but financial realities caved in around me, and it felt impossible. I had written off that idea completely.”

That is, he had written off the idea until he received a phone call from the Princeton in Asia (PiA) program mere days before Commencement. He had applied to the program back in December, and while he had been interviewed, he hadn’t heard anything since.

“It was three days before graduation when PiA called and asked if I would be interested in moving to Cambodia to work for a year in the capitol,” Holloran said. “I walked off the stage at Commencement, hugged my family, got into my car and drove straight to Princeton. I may have still had the cap on—I don’t remember. It was such a whirlwind weekend.”

Working abroad

Through PiA, Holloran was placed in the Cambodian offices of ChildFund Australia, an international organization with offices in 63 countries and an impact on over 14 million children. Holloran’s office works with over 15,000 children, providing them with libraries, gardens, school buildings, reading supplies, and even bathrooms—everything they need to learn in a safe environment reach their full potential.

Holloran is their Program Associate on Communication and Documentation, working to develop project proposals, continuing to grow existing projects, and fulfilling the translation needs within his office when he can.

“My job is to communicate the ideas of people I can’t necessarily communicate with,” Holloran said. “I have the tools to do the work, but what I’m learning is the patience and understanding it takes to work in an office where I don’t speak the language.”

He is also developing a new sense of confidence with his goals while also being open to different opportunities, continual learning, and personal and professional development abroad.

“I’m lucky that the work I’m doing is valuable for me professionally. To be getting workplace experience in the office of an international company is incredible,” Holloran said. “To be put in a society where you constantly have to reflect on what you’re experiencing is important. It keeps you present, and it will change you.”

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 01:40:02 EST
Joseph Vegso ’17 is not your average Joe It was the spring of 2014. Joseph Vegso ’17 had just finished up his first semester of college and had tailored his class schedule so he’d have afternoons free to focus on the non-traditional season of varsity football at Gettysburg.

Vegso quickly realized the six-week long spring season of football wasn’t going to fill up all of his time so he had two options: fill the daily void with a two-hour nap or go out and find out what other activities Gettysburg College had to offer.

Vegso chose to get involved and in doing so, opened a long line of doors to endless possibilities.

Joe VegsoThe first organization to catch his interest was one that has guided his involvement on campus ever since. Vegso, raised Catholic but not overly devout, decided to learn more about a religious-based group called Disciplemakers Christian Fellowship (DCF) at the urging of a former teammate.

Vegso attended weekly Bible studies where he started to understand the Gospel on a more personal level. Additionally, Vegso witnessed a different kind of leadership within the organization, one that strongly appealed to his sensibilities.

“I saw society going in one direction and these guys were going the other direction,” said Vegso, who is currently Co-President of DCF. “They were doing something different, living different, and they weren’t getting caught up in what you would call worldly successes.

“Disciplemakers has probably had the biggest influence on me at Gettysburg of all the organizations I’ve been a part of. It’s drastically influenced the trajectory of my life and the way I view things the way I do.”

Vegso, also a member and former philanthropy chair of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, also credits DCF for opening another unlikely door.

At 6-2, 215 pounds, Vegso is built for his position as a linebacker on the football team, but that didn’t keep him from taking his footwork on the gridiron to the dance floor. He joined Dance Ensemble during the spring of his freshman year and it’s added another dimension to his college experience. Vegso’s focus on the dance floor has been in swing dance, something he never imagined doing prior to Gettysburg.

“It was an absolute blast!” he said. “It’s a whole different community at Gettysburg you get to know.”

A career-inspiring journey

Joe in JordanIn his junior year, the Health Sciences major found himself in Jordan participating in a study abroad program that he knew wouldn’t be easy. The program focused on public health and specifically concerned the influx of refugees from neighboring Syria.

“I really wanted to challenge myself,” said Vegso. “I’m going to learn the most, grow the most, and garner the best experience if I force myself out of my comfort zone and into a unique place - the path less travelled mentality.”

The program was field-based with 50 percent of the time devoted to lectures and the rest devoted to on-site learning in refugee camps, health clinics, non-governmental organizations, or host communities. Vegso also took an accelerated program to learn Arabic so he could communicate with the refugees and healthcare workers.

“Before going, I couldn’t put a face to a refugee,” said Vegso. “Spending time with them, hearing their stories, it made it so real. Doctors are seeing 50-100 people every day. It’s like an assembly-line and there is no patient-provider relationship.

Joe in Jordan“The whole experience really gave me direction. I’ve been blessed with an opportunity to have an education in the United States and be surrounded by incredible medical institutions. I feel like I’m being called to be able to provide and serve those people in crisis situations, whether it’s domestically in the United States or internationally.”

When Vegso returned stateside, he took part in an internship with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). He worked mainly in the primary care center, observing and working with the nurse practitioner and the nurses. After working with the refugees, the time with CHOP reaffirmed his desire to work closely with patients and pursue a career in the nursing field. It also gave rise to his senior capstone project, “Health Sciences Capstone Internship 2016: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Karabots Pediatric Primary Care Office.”

“I really enjoyed my time there,” said Vegso. “I got the idea I wanted to pursue the nursing field in Jordan and my time in CHOP over the summer excited me even more for the future I’ll be pursuing.”                      

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 11:54:32 EST