YC Offers Southwest Study
Students to Meet Best Selling Author
The York College History and English Departments will be sponsoring a study trip to the American Southwest during the weeks of May 18-31, 2008. Eight students will be involved in the course and trip and will receive three hours elective credit. The students taking the course are Brittany Ellis, Selena Emery, James Foreman, Dan Good, Tasha Hackett, Terrell Harbin, Meghan Salsbury, and Amber Soderholm.
“This course will come straight on the heels of the end of the spring semester, with only a week between, but will provide students with an opportunity to get out there and start their summer with travel while still continuing their studies,” says Tim McNeese, YC professor of history.
This will be the third study-travel opportunity for YC students arranged by Tim and Beverly McNeese, YC professor of English. In 2003 and 2005, they sponsored study trips along the Lewis and Clark trail, taking students across the West through the Dakotas, Montana, and Wyoming.
The students participating in this course will have all their expenses paid for through their tuition, which provides them with a unique opportunity to take a course that will be hands-on, removing them ultimately out of the classroom and immersing them in the history, culture, and literature of this important region of the United States.
“York College has been very generous in helping us set up this kind of course that allows travel for students in what is essentially a domestic studies program, without costing those participating any more than their tuition,” notes McNeese. “I don’t know of any of our sister schools that are supporting their students’ academic studies in such a unique way.”
The McNeeses and fellow English Professor Kent Ross will serve as the faculty for the course and the sponsors for the study trip. Students taking the course will have required readings, including two novels and three short books related to the Southwest, the latter written by Mr. McNeese. Study will center around the contributions made to the history of the region by the Indians, Hispanic peoples, and Anglo-Americans.
Among the many highlights of the course will be a meeting scheduled with mystery writer Tony Hillerman, who lives in Albuquerque. Hillerman’s novels are set against the backdrop of the Southwest. The McNeeses met Hillerman in 2006 while attending a writers conference in New Mexico. Through continued contacts with Hillerman’s daughter, Anne, arrangements were made for students taking the course to sit down with the best-selling author one-on-one at their hotel in Albuquerque.
“Tony Hillerman is one of the country’s most popular fiction writers,” says English Professor Bev McNeese. “Students will read one of his novels, then have the opportunity to meet the author. This is just one more benefit this kind of study trip provides York College students.”
The course will begin with four, full days of classes on campus, which will include lectures, special presentations, guest speakers, hands-on activities, and films all related to some aspect of the Southwest. Student assignments during the course will center on personal journaling activities, which will be coordinated by Mrs. McNeese and Mr. Ross, plus a reflective essay and some post work.
On May 22, faculty sponsors, including Mrs. Linda Ross, and students will hit the road and spend ten days traveling through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. They will be visiting towns and cities including Colorado Springs, Durango, and Cortez, CO. and Taos, Santa Fe, Farmington, and Albuquerque, NM.
The trip will include stops at various museums, churches, cultural centers, and historic homes, including Kit Carson’s house in Taos and pueblo villages that still serve as home to Southwestern native peoples, such as the Taos and Acoma Pueblos.
Those involved in the trip will also experience the scenery of the Southwest which will include Arizona’s Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon as well as New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Colorado Rockies, where students will experience a day trip on Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.“If our experience in taking this trip to the Southwest proves as noteworthy for our students as our earlier trips on Lewis and Clark, it cannot help but provide a valuable education experience for them,” says Mr. McNeese.