Visiting a Buddhist temple in Shanghai. Learning a new language. Riding a camel. Fighting forest fires. Saving lives. These may sound like items on someone’s bucket list but they are just a few of the experiences students in New Mexico State University’s College of Arts and Sciences had over the last couple of months.
For the second year, the college sponsored “How I’m Spending My Summer Vacation,” a contest challenging students to share pictures and details about what they’d be doing their summer break and how it relates to their education.
The result was more than 20 entries from students across the college’s diverse departments. Some students stayed close to home while others traveled around the U.S. or to far-flung locations around the globe.
“It’s a thrill to hear about the accomplishments of our students outside the classroom,” said Christa Slaton, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This contest helps us learn more about how they are continuing their education over the summer and how it relates to what they are learning here at New Mexico State University.”
On her trip to China, Sally Goenaga was inspired not only to visit the famous Buddhist Jing’an Temple in Shanghai but also to find an internship.
“I went to China, not only to learn the language, but also to see what is waiting for me down the road,” she said. “I am a government major interested in international relationships. I want to understand others’ points of view, and I am doing so by meeting and talking with people from all over the world here in Shanghai. I met so many people who shared their knowledge with me and have inspired me to aim higher.”
Students whose photos garnered more than 100 “likes” on the Arts and Sciences College Facebook page were entered into a drawing. Two students were randomly selected to receive a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card. Goenaga and Marie Ghasempour were this year’s winners.
Ghasempour, a creative writing graduate student, visited New York City. The photo she submitted showed her enjoying Central Park and posing with a statue of her “childhood friend,” the title character of “Alice in Wonderland.”
Cristal Carey, biology major, spent part of her summer learning Spanish in Costa Rica.
“I believe that becoming immersed in a culture different than your own is a great way to learn about the great things the rest of the world has to offer,” she said.
Art major Monica Schwartz interned at the New Mexico Lottery. In addition to designing signage and digital advertisements, she participated in some of the company’s events, such as Lottery Night at an Albuquerque Isotopes baseball game.
Students Aubrey Strobel and Daniel Rael were chosen as Dean’s Office favorites.
Strobel, journalism major, worked in a clinic in Port Au Prince, Haiti caring for sick and malnourished children.
“I am writing about my life-changing experiences and hope to remember all the wonderful people I met,” she said.
Rael, anthropology graduate student, interned for the Bureau of Land Management and spent his summer fighting forest fires across the western United States. He was trying to prevent the fire from destroying archaeological sites within the Wenatchee National Forest.
Honorable mention went to Christopher Trujillo, criminal justice major, who is seen in his photo riding a camel. As a service member of the U.S. Air Force, he was deployed in the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom while continuing his education online.
Information from NMSU