In collaboration with the Cranwell International Center, the Language and Culture Institute, and other university partners, the Center for Communicating Science again hosted 24 undergraduate Fulbright Fellows from German universities this summer. This is the second year for the program.
The German Fulbright summer institute, “Communicating Science: Communication, Collaboration, and Connection Across Differences and Disciplines,” ran for three weeks, July 22 through August 11.
The Center for Communicating Science provided academic content for the summer institute, with Center director Patty Raun and associate director Carrie Kroehler facilitating the students’ journeys through 30 hours of theatre-based exercises, discussion, and student presentations. The curriculum was designed to help the students develop awareness of themselves and others as well as their observation skills, confidence, and storytelling techniques. Coursework also provided students with opportunities to learn to seek and provide focused feedback, listen, and concentrate. Imagination, empathy, and vulnerability were central to many of the exercises.
As part of their coursework, students developed and refined three-minute presentations in response to the prompt, “If you had one thing to tell the world. . .” The students presented their talks in front of three cameras and a live audience in Virginia Tech’s Digital Media Services studio in Whittemore Hall.
The summer institute also provided writing instruction through the Language and Culture Institute, with Lynn Thorpe teaching a course titled “Developing Written Voice.” In these sessions, the students learned about observation, description, citation, plagiarism, and much more–including baseball!
In addition to their academic work, the students had a full schedule of co-curricular site visits and extra-curricular activities. During their first week on campus, they toured the dairy science facilities at Kentland Farm and attended the Undergraduate Research Symposium at Goodwin Hall, where they interacted with undergraduate researchers and evaluated poster presentations. They also visited the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. Other site visits during the students’ stay included the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, the APEX Center for Entrepreneurs, and the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership. Site visits were tied to coursework through observation, reflection, and discussion exercises.
The students also hiked to McAfee’s Knob and the Cascades waterfall, ate at the Homeplace Restaurant in Catawba Valley, visited the Blacksburg Farmers’ Market, experienced Steppin’ Out, toured Lane Stadium, attended a Salem Red Sox baseball game, went boating and swimming at Claytor Lake and the New River, and tried out Blacksburg’s new bike share program to ride to Cox’s Batting Cage.
The German students, all from universities of applied sciences, were from a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, physics, business administration, communication/journalism, and social work. Learn more about their New River Valley adventures on the blog they created as part of their report to the German-American Fulbright Commission.