Norway Study Abroad Trip Enlightening for Cheyney Students

July 8, 2015

Jasmine Richardson and Leonard Brown pose at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway during their two week study abroad

Jasmine Richardson and Leonard Brown pose at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway during their two week study abroad

Leonard Brown and Jasmine Richardson are hard at work after spending two weeks abroad in Norway. The Keystone Honors Academy Scholars were competitively selected to receive full scholarships to study leadership, peace and environmental sustainability earlier this summer.  The pair joined two honors students from each of the 13 other PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

"The Peace through Leadership course mainly focused on the Nobel Peace Institute," explained Richardson, a Chemistry major, minoring in Math. "We actually had the opportunity to spend a day at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway where we participated in a full day program." They even met with members of the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee and, after deliberating as a group, submitted their own nomination for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize.

"Through our dialogues, we had the opportunity to really learn from each other," explained the rising junior. "To me, the most humbling part of the day was just being able to be in the same room or even sit in the same chair that so many incredible leaders once passed through or sat in."

The 20-year-olds also took an Environmental Sustainability course that focused on how Norway is leading the world in sustainable efforts, visiting Abidso Farm in Ostensjovannet to see first-hand the different projects and sustainable practices that Norway follows.  

"Norway is in the forefront of environmental stewardship. They've become a model country that other countries should strive for in, for example, lowering emissions," Brown shared. "There were several excursions that served as field studies where we learned about the different practices of Norwegian civilization.  Both courses were a comprehensive look at a dynamite country."

“Jasmine and Leonard earned this scholarship to study abroad through their exemplary work as honors students, and they are excellent ambassadors for Cheyney’s program," remarked Dr. Tara Kent, Dean of Cheyney's Keystone Honors Academy. "There is no equivalent experience to studying abroad, as it gives students a chance to see themselves through a new lens. In discovering new cultures and other parts of the world, students develop an entirely new perspective and a broader worldview. A person is forever changed by expanding their life experiences, and by taking their discoveries to the international realm. It’s a pleasure to provide this type of growth opportunity for our students.”

Now that they are back home, Richardson is interning at the Philadelphia Naval Base where she has spent the last few years working, thanks to The Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service that she received.  Established by the Department of Defense (DoD), the program supports undergraduate and graduate students pursing degrees in STEM disciplines and aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DoD laboratories. Richardson is a paid Engineer Aide at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division--Ship Systems Engineering Station. She will continue to work there throughout-- college and, when finished, she will have a full-time engineering job there--a job that will pay for her to go on to get her master's degree in chemical engineering. 

Brown is also serious about his future. The Business Administration major, currently working for a non-profit, is supervising 35 interns who are working throughout Philadelphia in hospitality, educational services, community development and life science industries. The interns are operating under professional development programs which Brown designed and is implementing throughout the summer. For several years, Brown has mentored young people hoping to go to college. At Cheyney, his concentration is management and he is minoring specifically in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management. The rising senior hopes to one day work in operational management in the hospitality industry as regional director of a hotel chain.  On campus, he is a student leader who was selected to participate in the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Leadership Conference in the fall of 2015 and will serve as a student member of the Council of Trustees this year.

Traveling to Norway was Brown's first time abroad but not Richardson's.  She participated in the PASSHE Summer Study Abroad Trip to Canada last summer, traveling throughout Nova Scotia. "At the end of my sophomore year in high school, I studied abroad with 11 other students in The Galapagos Islands, which are off of the coast of Ecuador, where we studied ecology," she said. 'When offered the opportunity to travel anywhere, especially for free," she advised, "take the opportunity even if it's not to a mainstream place because you never know what you'll learn."

Brown agreed.  "I have never experienced anything greater than being completely submerged in another culture. I am certain I caught the travel bug." In fact, he plans to go abroad at least one more time before graduating. 

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