University of Scranton Students Learn Through Summer Travel Experiences

10/01/13


Each year the University offers several travel courses for students during the summer. The year, courses included trips to Southern Europe and the southwest United States, among other destinations.

Visit to a Native American Reservation

In August, 14 junior and senior criminal justice and sociology majors traveled to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, to learn about Native American justice. They were led by Harry Dammer, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Criminal Justice and Sociology Department, and Ryan Sheehan, assistant director of the University’s Jesuit Center.

Dr. Dammer said he had three goals for his students: to learn about Native American culture and law; to make connections between Native American law and their course work at the university; and to have some contact with people on the margins of society.

“I feel we accomplished all three of those,” he said.

The group attended lectures on Navajo law enforcement, courts and culture. Students met with numerous justice system personnel including Navajo legislators, the attorney general, and the chief justice of the nation’s Supreme Court.

The Navajo justice system is different from the U.S. system in that it is first and foremost community based, Dr. Dammer said. “The community often makes the decisions for what’s good for the offender, the victim and the larger community,” he said. “It’s a communal decision versus a governmental decision.”

 The students also performed service work – gathering firewood for the winter for a Navajo family -- and visited kindergarten students at a Catholic school on the reservation.

“Ryan and I both felt strongly that this course should be directly tied in with the mission of the University” Dr. Dammer said. Each evening, the group conducted a version of the reflection/prayer exercise called the “Examen” as was taught by St. Ignatius.

            Mr. Sheehan said the experience was invaluable to the students. Part of the Catholic Jesuit mission, he said, is to step out of one’s comfort zone to interact with people on the margins.

Italian History and Culture

Over four week course this summer, History Professors Roy Domenico, Ph.D. and Robert Shaffern, Ph.D., led 15 students on a tour of Italy to gain an understanding and appreciation of Italian history and culture. The group visited sites of historic, artistic and religious significance as well as important places of the contemporary Italian Republic.

Among the highlights were visiting the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican and attending an audience with Pope Francis; meeting the mayor of Palermo, seeing ancient Greek temples in Agrigento and touring the Italian parliament. Also part of the tour were the cities of Venice and Florence, the town of Assisi (the birthplace of St. Francis) and the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

The trip is offered every other year. “We’re already planning for 2015,” said Dr. Domenico, chair of the History Department.

Tracing the Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola

In June, 10 students accompanied Associate Professor Daniel Haggerty, Ph.D., and the Rev. Peter Folan, S.J., on a two-week pilgrimage throughout Spain and Rome, following the steps of the early Jesuits and the founder of their order, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The students, from a variety of majors, are all members of the university’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. 

The goal of the course was to provide a way to understand and interpret St. Ignatius’ life; his role in the church and in modern education; and the mission of the Jesuit order, said Dr. Haggerty, who teaches in the philosophy department. “We wanted them to get an experiential learning of the Jesuit identity and mission,” he said.

The group visited important sites from the saint’s life, from his birthplace in the Loyola family castle, to Pamplona, where he was wounded in battle and underwent a spiritual conversion, to Rome, where he died. Father Folan, of Boston College, had just been ordained as a Jesuit priest shortly before the trip, and was able to celebrate some of his first Masses in those places.

This was the first time the course was offered, said Dr. Haggerty, who is also director of the University’s Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program.

09-30-13

Italy

Over four week course this summer, History professors Roy Domenico, Ph.D. and Robert Shaffern, Ph.D., led 15 students on a tour of Italy to gain an understanding and appreciation of Italian history and culture. The course included a visit to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, Sicily. Front row, from left (kneeling): Victoria Wrightson, Dunmore; Roy Domenico, Ph.D., professor and chair of the History Department; Robert Shaffern, Ph.D., professor of history; Christine Kelleher, Middletown, N.J.; and Matthew Stokesbury, Haworth, N.J. Second row (standing): Catherine Domenico, Clarks Green; Brandon Golden, Moscow; Ashley Arcieri, Scranton; Luke Boniello, Scranton; Kevin Grebeck, Factoryville; Dylan Lang, Kenilworth, N.J.; Carly Horton, Catskill, N.Y.; Amanda Havens, Millbrook, N.Y.; Brie Thompson, Irvington, N.Y.; Ashley Sanchez, Yorktown Heights, N.Y., and Abigail Eschmann, Garden City, N.Y.

parliment

Participants are pictured at the Italian Parliament, Rome, Italy. From left: Kevin Grebeck,

Christine Kelleher, Matthew Stokesbury, Ashley Sanchez, Brie Thompson, Amanda Havens, Dylan Lang, Catherine Domenico, Dr. Shaffern, Abigail Eschmann, Ashley Arcieri, Luke Boniello, Victoria Wrightson, Brandon Golden, Carly Horton and Dr. Domenico.

Mayor

From left, Dr. Domenico received a medal from the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando.

Navajo

Harry Dammer, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Criminal Justice and Sociology Department, and Ryan Sheehan, assistant director of the University’s Jesuit Center, led 14 junior and senior criminal justice and sociology majors through a travel course to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, to learn about Native American justice. Participants at the Navajo Nation Legislature in Window Rock, Ariz., from left: Sheehan; Katelyn Saxer, Lake Hopatcong, N.J.; James Eccleston, Manalapan, N.J.; Kiera McGroarty, Moorestown, N.J.; Kelsey Rauscher (seated), Conshohocken; Alex Defuria, Fairfield, N.J.; Kelly Smith, Cresco; Danielle Menditto, Bushkill; Sean Jakes (seated, center), Scranton; Brendan Smith, West Caldwell, N.J.; William Crowe, Port Jefferson, N.Y.; Ryan Chisdock, Moosic; Sean Thompson, Morristown, N.J.; Joseph DeFinis, East Handover, N.J.; Dr. Dammer; and Alexandra Veltri of Kinnelon, N.J.

school

Sean Thompson of Moorestown, N.J., speaks with kindergarten children at St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School in Window Rock, Ariz., on the Navajo Reservation.

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