Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Nein? We don’t either, but we’re very excited about our upcoming time with 24 German undergraduate students! In collaboration with the Cranwell International Center and the Language and Culture Institute, the Center for Communicating Science is part of a German Fulbright summer institute program at Virginia Tech this summer.
“Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection Across Differences and Disciplines” will run for three weeks, with the German students arriving at Dulles International Airport July 22 and departing August 12. In between, they have a full schedule of academic coursework, co-curricular site visits, and extra-curricular activities.
The Center for Communicating Science will provide the academic content for the summer institute. Center director Patty Raun and associate director Carrie Kroehler will meet with students three afternoons a week for the three weeks, facilitating their journey through a set of theatre-based exercises. The curriculum has been designed to help the students develop awareness of themselves and others and their observation skills, confidence, and storytelling techniques. They will learn to listen, concentrate, and seek and provide focused feedback. Imagination, empathy, and vulnerability will be central to many of the exercises. Working toward the production of videorecordings of individual presentations, the students will develop, distill, and refine their messages; learn a variety of rehearsal and relaxation techniques; and work in small groups and partnerships for collaboration and feedback.
The summer institute will also include instruction in scientific and technical writing (an advanced ESL course through the Language and Culture Institute), field trips to local recreation spots, and co-curricular site visits. Students will tour the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences, the Biocomplexity Institute, the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Lab, the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Site visits will be tied to their coursework through observation, reflection, and discussion exercises.
The students also will travel to the Floyd Country Store for Appalachian music, hike to McAfee’s Knob and the Cascades waterfall, eat at the Homeplace Restaurant in the Catawba Valley, go tubing on the New River, visit the Blacksburg Farmers’ Market, Glade Road Growing, and Rising Silo Brewery, and experience Steppin’ Out.
The German students are from a wide variety of disciplines, including various engineering fields; information technology; physics; business administration; communication, journalism, public relations, and media; social work; textile and clothing technology; and human-machine interaction.
The summer institute grew from a relationship that Cranwell’s director, David Clubb, formed with program officers and others at the German-American Fulbright Commission in Berlin when he spent time in Germany a year ago.
For more about the summer institute, visit Cranwell’s German Fulbright website.
(article written by Carrie Kroehler)