|Three Washington Adventist University honors students pick out sites of interest while on a spring study tour through a partnership with Newbold College in England.
Photo supplied by Washington Adventist University
Takoma Park, Md.: Washington Adventist University (WAU) Honors Program students recently returned from studying on location in the United Kingdom as part of an inaugural collaboration with Newbold College, WAU’s sister institution near London. The students enrolled in a pair of WAU hybrid courses taught by Newbold professors, “Shakespeare” and “Reformation to Revolution,” and learned about early modern England through play performances and visits to historic sites such as Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, and Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
In addition to on-location learning in England, these courses also allowed students to study Shakespeare and early modern culture through performances and exhibits in Washington, D.C. Through the course of the semester, the students had the unique opportunity to attend three productions of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” — one at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in D.C., and two in London, at the Globe and Barbican theaters. Attending three different productions of the same play allowed the students to form more in-depth interpretations of its text.
“I feel like I'm better able to understand some of how Shakespeare makes jokes and plays with language, or even how he uses metadrama, and all of that helps with future readings of Shakespeare,” said sophomore Christyana Kawar. “Thinking through the same play over and over yields a grander and deeper understanding of all of this.”
The students also had the opportunity to perform their own interpretations of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the Newbold campus, enhancing insights gained from their readings and play attendance. “I loved performing. It really helped me understand how Shakespeare was meant to be understood, and gave a new perspective as to what it takes to produce it,” said Beatrice Serban. “Performing the scenes definitely helped me gain a better appreciation for performances of Shakespeare's plays.”
Fourteen honors students also performed for an examiner from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), and each earned the academy’s Shakespeare Bronze Award. Three of the awards were presented with distinction to Wendell Phipps (senior), Sydney Portela (junior), and Kerstin Smith (junior). The opportunity to perform for the Newbold community and the RADA examiner not only allowed students “to become familiar with the text in a way that a traditional literature class would not have,” said sophomore Alexandra Engelkemier, but “it also allowed for academic growth in public speaking and insights into modern interpretations of Shakespeare's writings."
“It was a rewarding event for the students, many of whom had no theater or public speaking experience prior to taking the courses,” said Alexa Minesinger, administrative coordinator for the honors program, who accompanied the students on the trip.
|WAU students, enrolled in a pair of WAU hybrid courses taught by Newbold professors, visit several historical sites while in England.
Photo supplied by Washington Adventist University
Several of the honors students who belong to WAU musical organizations also shared their gifts with the Newbold community by providing special music for Sabbath at Newbold church.
“The WAU Honors Program has taken advantage of the university’s location in the nation’s capital to provide study on location options, such as a Civil War study tour during the 150th anniversary of the conflict,” said Bradford Haas, director of the program. “It is exciting to add Newbold College and its access to London and the English countryside as a second study on location option for our students. We will continue to develop opportunities for Honors students to study on both sides of the Atlantic.”
As part of the Shakespeare theme during the year, the WAU Honors Program also collaborated with the English department, director of nursing Nancie Crespie, her husband Todd Crespie, and WAU's Weis Library in hosting an event and ongoing exhibit celebrating Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy. The collaborative event, initiated by Todd Crespie, featured a banquet and live Elizabethan music with readings of Shakespeare. The exhibit — which continues through the summer in the Weis Reading Room — includes a collection of book covers, vintage souvenirs and memorabilia featuring the “Brand of the Bard.” The exhibition is ongoing through the summer during library hours, Monday-Thursday, 1-8 p.m.; and Friday, 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.
The WAU Honors Program is an interdisciplinary general education program dedicated to providing unique academic and co-curricular experiences for students and community members. Honors offers students a wide variety of opportunities such as play performances, concerts, art exhibitions, and guest presentations on campus. Alumni of the program have been accepted into graduate programs at such schools as Duke, Georgetown, USC, Chicago, Penn State, Catholic University, Howard, Eastman School of Music, Union Theological Seminary, and Loma Linda Medical School; while others have directly entered into careers in education and media.