Faculty Travel Abroad to Teach & Learn Over Summer 2019

/, Ferrum College News/Faculty Travel Abroad to Teach & Learn Over Summer 2019

Faculty Travel Abroad to Teach & Learn Over Summer 2019

Classes ended for summer break in May, but Ferrum College’s faculty continued to learn and educate throughout the summer months with trips to Italy, Spain, Sweden, Austria, and Brazil.

Dr. Eric Vanden Eykel spent time in Rome over summer 2019 to attend a biblical literature conference.

Dr. Eric Vanden Eykel

Assistant Professor of Religion Eric Vanden Eykel spent nearly a week in Rome from June 29 through July 5. During his self-described “incredibly short and fast-paced trip,” he attended the Society of Biblical Literature’s annual international meeting, which gives scholars around the world a chance to connect with one another to learn about current trends in biblical studies. Vanden Eykel was also able to visit other landmarks including Ostia Antica, the port city of ancient Rome, and Pompeii, one of the cities buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 B.C.

Vanden Eykel described his time in Italy as “like stepping in and out of time capsules. One minute you’re walking down a crowded street, and the next, you’re standing in a building nearly 2,000 years old. It is a city of layers, and a fantastic opportunity to experience the past.” See photos from Vanden Eykel’s trip here.


Dr. Patty Suppes presented papers in Spain during summer 2019.

Dr. Patty Suppes

Associate Professor of Spanish Patty Suppes received a faculty development grant to present her papers at two July conferences in Valencia, Spain: “Leyenda, tradición, y violencia en El león dormido de Marian Izaguirre” at the Congresos Internacionales de Literatura Hispánica, and “Rosario Ferré y su ‘Cocina de la escritura’: Una alternativa al canon como modelo de composición” at the Asociación de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades. Between conferences, Suppes was also able to visit family and friends with her son who accompanied her on her trip. She was also excited to run into Taiki Sawabe and his wife Mizuho at the Barcelona airport; the couple previously spent two years at Ferrum College with the Japanese Outreach Initiative program.

“I’m so grateful for the faculty development grant that allowed me to participate in two conferences in Valencia, Spain, and I’m glad that I was able to do some site visits in between the conferences,” said Suppes. “The opportunities for students to study and intern abroad are tremendous, and I can’t wait to meet with faculty in various majors to talk about how to help students participate.” See photos from Suppes’ trip here.


Gregory Rock participated in the Salzburg Music Festival in Austria during summer 2019.

Gregory Rock (second from left)

Gregory Rock, Ferrum College’s Iron Mountain Brass director and adjunct music faculty member, traveled to Salzburg, Austria in late July 2019 to take part in the Salzburg Music Festival. Rock played the sackbut or Baroque Posaune – a trombone from the Renaissance and Baroque eras – in a collaborative project with players from UNC Chapel Hill; University of the Arts of Bremen, Germany; Schola Cantorum of Basel, Switzerland; and Mozarteum University of Salzburg, Austria. The group provided music for Catholic Mass at the Salzburg Cathedral on Sunday morning, July 28.

Although most of the musicians had not played together before, Rock was struck by music’s common language: “There were many languages spoken among the musicians from German to Austrian, to even Russian and French as well as English. The language of music prevailed and we were able to put together a substantial music project in just a very short time.” See photos from Rock’s trip here.

Read more about the Salzburg Music Festival here.


Dr. Tina Hanlon visited Sweden in summer 2019 to present her paper.

Dr. Tina Hanlon

Professor of English Tina Hanlon spent 24 days in four Nordic countries: Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Estonia. During the biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature held in Stockholm, Sweden in August, Hanlon presented her paper, “Female Voice, Power, and Agency in the Appalachian Folktale ‘Whitebear Whittington’ and its International Antecedents.” Four other speakers from different countries presented along with Hanlon; “We had no contact in advance but our papers fit together very well and all dealt with images of women in different fairy tale traditions,” she explained.

Hanlon also participated in additional conference activities including receptions, tours, a mentoring lunch spent with a young Hungarian woman, and a big buffet in the Golden Hall of Stockholm City Hall where the Nobel Prize banquet is held annually in December. “[I was] excited to learn more about the folklore and literature of Scandinavia and share new insights in my E-Term course on World Folktales and Literature. I feel very lucky to have [had] this opportunity to meet with colleagues from all over the world at the IRSCL Congress,” she said. See photos from Hanlon’s trip here.


Dr. Chris Mayer traveled to Brazil in summer 2019 to participate in the International Conference on Interpretation.

Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Dr. Chris Mayer.

Chris Mayer, associate professor of recreation leadership, traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May, to give four presentations at the International Conference on Interpretation on his book, You Can Do It! Your guide for developing non-personal interpretive products in Brazilian protected areas. Mayer’s book, co-authored with Ryan Finchum and Lorena Brewster, was written to help protected area managers plan and create interpretive products that contribute to public support for the conservation of biodiversity in conjunction with the Partnership to Conserve Biodiversity in the Amazon.  He explained the conference’s theme of “Acting Locally, Connecting Globally,” gave attendees the opportunity to link their efforts across professional boundaries, international borders, and cultural differences.

“The International Conference welcomed interpreters from around the world to share ideas and inspiration and discuss the latest global trends in this important field,” said Mayer. “It was the most impressive conference I ever attended because of the open exchange of ideas and experiences among the multi-national attendees.” See photos from Mayer’s trip here.

Learn more about the International Conference on Interpretation here.