Monday, October 27, 2014

Spanish majors help migrant children of Central PA through summer internship

Sarah Jeffrey with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
Spanish majors Amber Stanton, Jenny Lipps and Sarah Jeffrey were hand selected by Dr. Amarilis Hidalgo-DeJesus to participate in a summer internship at the Central Pennsylvania Migrant Program in Hazleton, through the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit.

The students worked with children from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico to provide bilingual lessons in science, mathematics, reading and writing.

All students must be Spanish majors to be eligible to participate in the program, but some also focus their studies in education, communications, sociology, business and speech pathology.

“It was a great opportunity to experience working with children in grades 1 and 2 and also experiencing a co-teaching classroom design. The director, Sandra Medina, was incredibly helpful. We all were invited to teach as paid teachers for the upcoming summer program next year,” said Jeffery.
Jenny Lipps participates in Zumba with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus
In addition to being the sole teachers most of the time in the program, the interns also created extracurricular activities and art projects to engage students in learning as well as participated in field trips and Zumba classes with the children.

As many of the migrant children were still in transitional stages of their ESL education, the interns developed activities to help them gain confidence in their speaking skills.

Jeffery, Lipps and Stanton also mentored high school students and worked more closely with them due to the level of difficulty in learning a foreign language as an adult.

“My experience as an intern of the migrant program was one of the memories that I will always value. It reminded me my own experience coming to this country at a young age,” said Lipps.
Amber Stanton with some of her students,
photo courtesy of Dr. Hidalgo-DeJesus

Lipps also participated in a science program in which she translated science terminology of the human body from English to Spanish and created accompanying bilingual activities to foster better understanding of her lessons.
Other interns also helped to translate documents and gained experience in interpretation work through their communications with parents of the children and other teachers. According to Hidalgo-DeJesus, this experience will help the students in their post-grad work, specifically regarding the Federal Court Interpretation Program.

“The evaluations were excellent. Every year, the directors are very happy with our students and some of them get hired at the end of it, which is a great thing from our program,” said Hidalgo-DeJesus. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Theatre Alumna Puts Her BU Learning and Connections to Work

Guest blogger Lauren Shover '13
Since May 2013, when I graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, I have worked professionally as an actor, assistant director, assistant producer and associate producer on several different theatre projects. Everything I have been able to accomplish in these past two years is thanks to Bloomsburg University’s extraordinary theatre program. 

Shortly after graduating I moved myself to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to work on my first production outside of Bloomsburg, The Last Plot in Revenge written by Brian Grace-Duff and produced by Brat Productions.  I worked as Assistant Director to John Clancy, a well-known director in NYC as well as one of the key founders of the NYC Fringe Festival.  I had the opportunity to work with John on a production my junior year in college; our school brought him in as a guest director.  Working with him at BU created a bond and a network between the two of us that continued after college and has continued to expand ever since.  Creating connections between the college level and the professional world is something Bloomsburg University’s theatre program excels at. 

Lauren being interviewed by Fox News about
Trapped in a Room with a Zombie
Devised work is an area I knew very little of when I came to Bloomsburg University in fall 2009.  However, this past April I worked as an assistant producer on a devised piece produced by Simpatico Theatre Company that spoke on the stigma related to Craigslist.  The skills and understanding I learned from working on devised theatre at BU allowed me to jump right in with the other members.

Exploring other forms of theatre at BU helped me to open myself up to new experiences in theatre world.  For the past six months I have worked as the Associate Producer for a Room Escape Adventure, Interactive Theatre show called Trapped in a Room with a Zombie.  The show demanded me to work as an actor, director, stage manager, makeup artist, producer and stage hand.  Bloomsburg University gave me confidence to believe in my abilities as a leader.  This production has gained huge success and is now present in 13 cities in the United States as well as Madrid, Spain and London, England.

As a student at Bloomsburg University, not only did I create a lot of professional connections but I left with a lot of peer connections as well.  Recently, a fellow alumnus and I have started up our own theatre company, Elephant Room Productions, consisting of several other Bloomsburg University Alumni.  We are planning to debut our company in the New York City as well as Philadelphia Fringe Festivals of 2015 producing a play written by Dano Madden, yet another connection made during my time at Bloomsburg University.
-        Lauren Shover, Theatre Alumna ‘13

To learn more about Trapped in a Room with a Zombie, visit