Thursday, April 21, 2011

13 students awarded scholarships and opportunity to travel abroad

The Center for Academic Programs Abroad recently awarded 13 Marshall University students with scholarships and the opportunity to travel abroad.One of the students chosen was Briana Blankenship, junior music education major from Grantsville, W.Va.When I first told my family about this opportunity, they were shocked,Blankenship said.But they also know that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I just cannot pass up.

This scholarship will allow Blankenship to visit Florence, Italy, Germany, where she will study art, music and theater. The students will stay in Florence for three weeks and can earn up to six hours of credit.It's a wonderful opportunity for those students who are afforded it,said Donald Van Horn, dean of the College of Fine Arts.More importantly, it's about helping to contribute to a more mature and rounded individual.Van Horn said the CAPA program can be extremely selective so it's a testament to Blankenship's skill as a musician that she was chosen for the scholarship.

I'm familiar with her performance as a trumpet major and I have had the opportunity to hear Briana play on numerous occasions,Van Horn said.She is really a gifted musician, one of the finest we have.The study abroad course will be organized by Byron Clercx, chairman of the art department, Jeffery Pappas, chairman of music, and Nicole Perrone, theater faculty member. The students will be accompanied on the trip by Clercx, who will teach the course.This will not be Blankenship's first travel overseas, however. In 2009, she traveled to Switzerland and France with the Marshall University 12.0 Jazz Ensemble.During the course of that trip, I learned so much more than I had ever imagined,Blankenship said.Due to that wonderful experience, when I heard about the opportunity to take a summer course in Florence, Italy, I immediately applied.Students can also get a lot of exposure while studying in such universities and different course Engineering,Intercultural Anglophone Studies and Master of Landscape Architecture.

The scholarship application is based on students' GPA and submission of an essay. Blankenship said the essay discussed the benefits of studying abroad and how it would help her grow personally and academically. She said while she's nervous about it, she's also excited to learn.While in Italy,I want to experience as many things as possible that are unique to the Italian culture,Blakenship said.I plan on taking a few trips outside of Florence to places such as Venice, Rome and Naples.Van Horn spoke on the past success of CAPA's study abroad program and praised the impact it can have on students.Traveling abroad certainly broadens a student's appreciation for the arts from other countries,Van Horn said.It can also contribute to making those students stronger artists and performers.

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