Students share Dominican meal, insight before traveling

Published 04.30.2024

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Study Abroad
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Global Experiences
Travelers to the Dominican Republic gather with their Global Experience instructors and their invited speaker: Rob Cooley (second from left), associate professor of anthropology/environmental science; Wayne R. Sheppard (third from left), assistant professor of construction management; Ashlee C. Felix (fifth from left), assistant director of student engagement; Christine B. Kavanaugh (sixth from left), assistant professor of nursing; Rhonda J. Seebold (fourth from right), part-time instructor of dental hygiene; and Patricia A. Durand (far right), part-time instructor of dental hygiene.

A group of students and faculty who will soon take part in Global Experience courses in the Dominican Republic gathered recently in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, where, while getting to know one another, they were treated to a Dominican menu and learned more about the Caribbean nation they soon will visit.

Sharing personal insight on Dominican culture was Ashlee C. Felix, assistant director of student engagement and a first-generation American whose family migrated from the Dominican Republic.

“This was amazing to listen to her valuable insight, as many students have never been to the country,” said construction management student Chris A. Fisher, who will make his second trip to the nation. “Ashlee was able to give valuable information about the do’s and don’ts in the country.”

Fisher is among students from several majors slated to travel to the Dominican Republic May 22-June 1 as part of a Cultural Immersion and Service Learning class. The group will engage with families in the El Cibao region, serving communities in need of clean water, sustainable food, dignified health care and vocational training.

Later in June, students in the dental hygiene major will gain field experience in planning and providing oral health services to underserved communities.

Both groups enjoyed a buffet that featured pollo guisado (stewed whole chicken), pescado en coco (grouper in coconut sauce), grilled mojo flank steak with pineapple-mango salsa, fried plantains, white rice with seasoned red beans, and guisado de repollo (stewed cabbage) – followed by tres leches cake.

“The Dominican Dinner was a great chance to talk with other students who will be coming on the trip,” said Jenirosa A. White, a human services & restorative justice student from Mill Hall. “I only know two other people from the trip, as I am an HSJ student and there are only three of us going. I have done mission trips with my local church in the past, so I am excited for this opportunity to give a helping hand in another country. I am also an avid traveler, being to six other countries before, so this will be another adventure to add to my passport.”

She also enjoyed hearing the insight of Felix, who is both a friend and a graduate of human services & restorative justice.

“The students and faculty were incredibly welcoming and receptive to my family's story and our Dominican culture,” Felix said. “The evening was filled with great conversation and delicious food, making me feel truly appreciated and honored to be invited. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my perspective and touched that it resonated deeply with everyone. The lasting impressions made between us will be mutually enriching. I was able to see friends and make new ones.”

Ashlee C. Felix, assistant director of student engagement, shares personal perspective on the Dominican Republic.
Getting to know one another are construction management students Daniel G. Clark, of North Potomac, Maryland, and Chris A. Fisher, of Middleburg; Ethan C. Dilling, a physician assistant studies student from Roaring Spring; Jake J. Blatt, a construction management student from Reading; and Christine B. Kavanagh, an assistant professor of nursing.