Students, faculty to relate experiences in Africa during March 28 showcase event

Western Carolina University students and faculty members will be speaking about the experiences they gained during trips to African countries as the “Africa Campus Theme Showcase” is held from 3 until 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, in Conference Room A of Blue Ridge Hall.

WCU students get to know a Kenyan woman (third from right) during a trip led last fall by assistant professor April Perry. The students are (from left) Carrie Youngblood, Kelsey Woodford, Devan Lalas, Jackie Greenhall and Leah Downing. (Photo courtesy of Devan Lalas)

Six groups of students who have been on faculty-led trips to Africa over the past two years will join their respective faculty guides in making presentations. Trips to Kenya were led by Rus Binkley, associate professor in the School of Teaching and Learning; April Perry, assistant professor and director for the Higher Education Student Affairs Program; and Tony Hickey, professor of sociology. Lane Perry, director of WCU’s Center for Service Learning, and Cyndy Hughes, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice, led trips to South Africa, and Amy Rose, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, took a group of students to Botswana.

WCU’s interdisciplinary learning theme for 2015-16 and 2016-17, “Africa! More than a Continent,” is nearing the end of its run, and the program will open with a welcome from the chairs of the Africa theme committee – Laura Wright, professor of English, and Kofi Lomotey, Bardo Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership. Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU provost, also will provide remarks.

Following the student-faculty presentations, members of the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet – composed of School of Music faculty members P. Bradley Ulrich, David Ginn, Travis Bennett, Zsolt Szabo and Michael Schallock – will join WCU students who make up the Balsam Mountain Brass Quintet – Spence Howell, Ty Kiaku, Courtney Stiwalt, Brandon Kassab and Andre Thacker – in presenting music with an African flare.

The formal program will conclude as Lomotey speaks about a fall trip that he will lead to Ghana, and Ian Hewer, assistant professor and assistant director of WCU’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, talks about a visit to Sierra Leone taken by himself and a nurse anesthesiology student and about efforts to establish a relationship with a hospital in that country.

A reception beginning at 5 p.m. will feature African food. Students who participated in faculty-led trips will be available for further discussion and will display artifacts, photos and other items brought back from their trips.

For more information about the event, contact Ling Gao LeBeau, director of WCU’s Office of International Programs and Services, at 828-227-3433 or