WWU's Adventure Learning Grant Program to Send Students to the Caribbean, Central and South America in 2015-16

Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies will send three students abroad this fall on ten-month international learning projects as part of its Adventure Learning Grant Program.

This year's grant recipients are Kathryn Durning of Seattle; Becca Pelham of Sisters, Oregon; and Mikhaila Thornton of Bend, Oregon.

The ALG is a $15,000 grant awarded annually to three Fairhaven students for a self-designed travel experiences outside of the United States. Eligibility requirements include the completion of at least two quarters at Fairhaven and a commitment to return to Fairhaven for at least three quarters upon each of the student's return.       

Durning has left for Nicaragua and Costa Rica to learn about Queer Migrations within and between the two countries, Pelhan will travel to the Dominican Republic and Cuba to learn about female-identified sex workers and their engagements with tourists, and Thornton is in Peru to study craft shoemaking practices.

Niall Ó Murchú, professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Western and faculty sponsor for the ALG program, said the idea behind the grant is to allow students the opportunity to live outside their own cultures while not being part of an official study abroad program. Since its inception as a college, Fairhaven has traditionally given students independent study options. Ó Murchú said the open-ended inquiry, exploration and adventure of the ALG reflect Fairhaven’s values.

Western student Richard Vinh of Seattle, a senior who recently came back from his ALG experience in South America, said the program provides students with a unique experience that they would not be able to get otherwise.

“By employing some space and trust in the students that they’re going to use this opportunity to its fullest extent as a learning experience, the personal growth you undergo is pretty wild,” Vinh said.

For more information about the ALG program or for information on how to apply, please visit https://fairhaven.wwu.edu/adventure-learning-grant or contact Niall Ó Murchú at (360) 650-2144 or Niall.OMurchu@wwu.edu.


Photo captionWestern senior Richard Vinh atop Monserrate, overlooking the sprawling city of Bogota, Colombia.