Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th: What an amazing journey!


Today was the last day of the conference and the scholars got some great information to bring back to the states. Very thankful for our partnership with the University of East London and the opportunity to explore The University of Salford, Manchester. The scholars also got to meet our new friends from Sweden at Malmö University. Overall the 2014 FACE conference was a huge success. The past 24 days have been excellent. We all miss Croatia already! Very excited to see our families and friends but it will be sad to leave such amazing and culturally rich places. It has been great to see the scholars grown from their experience abroad.  So excited for them to share their experiences with others.  A big thank you to everyone we have meet and to all of our partnerships new and old. Hvala & Cheers! 

“Traveling- it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”- Ibn Battuta”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 3rd: Excited for national and international collaborations @faceis21


FACE Conference Chair, John Storan with Scholars

The scholars were able to network and experience an international presence @ the FACE 2014 conference. This morning we were able to hear from Hayden Blackley about the development for the FACE 2015 conference in South Wales.  It is amazing to think that the conference have been going on for 21 years.  The rest of the day was filled with some excellent keynote and break-out sessions about  access and educational disparities around the world. The DePaul McNair scholars gave a thought provoking presentation. The DePaul scholars will be continuing their summer research as part of the University of East London McNair International Summer Institute.  A part of the research will also be conducted at Kingston University. Tomorrow is the last day of the conference and then it’s back to the states!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July 2, 2014: FACE Conference 2014

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This year the scholars had the amazing opportunity to be international delegates at the Forum for Access and Continuing Education (FACE) 2014 conference. Students got to explore the University of Salford, Manchester and have the opportunity of going to a myriad of workshops and sessions by experts in the field of education. Our scholars presented their work in the early afternoon. The presentation went great all five scholars (Summer, Stephany, Gloria, Alice and Brittany) from UCF, DePaul and the Concord University all came together to collaborate on a presentation about their McNair experiences. After the presentation the students had the opportunity to learn from their peers, faculty and colleagues about international experiences and global thinking. Thank you to the University of East London for allowing us to be a apart of the 21st annual FACE conference!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July 1, 2014: Headed to Manchester!


Today was our leg of  travel before our long journey home to the states. The scholars were excited to see London but eager to continue their journey to prepare for the FACE conference.  We arrived at the Euston train station with enough time to grab lunch and meet up with the DePaul Study Abroad: London group. Some of the scholars were familiar with one another because of the collaboration between UCF and DePaul and some faces were new. We arrived in Manchester at about 6:00 pm and checked into the IBIS hotel. The students were tired from their long day of travel but had a quick research meeting to prepare for their conference presentation the next afternoon. Looking forward to a wonderful conference and seeing the staff again from University of East London at FACE.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29 & 30: Excited for London rain or shine.

LondonLondon is gorgeous in the summer but it still tends to rain every day. This year we tried to be strategic and plan our day around the rain. We headed out for breakfast in the morning to fuel for our long journey exploring the city. We decided to wait to visit the Tate Museum of Modern Art until the rain started to fall. This allowed for us to explore the area around the London eye, the wooden park and various shops and restaurants. We visited the parliament building and saw all of the great statues including Winston Churchill. Of course the scholars saw Big Ben! We had the experience of riding in the classic Black Cab and taking photos in the telephone booths. We explored the city some more on Monday and got ready for another journey to Manchester. Very excited to see the DePaul scholars and present at the FACE conference!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

June 28: Welcome to London, UK.

IMG_1119Hvala to everyone in Varaždin! Thank you to Prof. Violeta and the FOI management Board for showing us such an amazing time in Croatia! It is a pleasure every year to be part of this wonderful collaboration. We are excited to begin planning the next visit. We said some sad goodbyes and headed to the Zagreb airport to board our flight for London! The scholars are very excited to see London for the first time. When we got to London we checked in at the Tune Inn at Kings Cross. We immediately went out to grab food. We were able to see a bit of the Brazil vs Chile game and then headed around the city to explore. After a couple hours we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow will be filled with a day of sightseeing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

June 26 & 27: The wonderful hospitality in Croatia


Agritourism with the Kosec Family

The scholars were in for a real treat today. After our last lunch at Restaurant Park (Hvala Varaždin)! We took a drive out to one of the FOI student’s homes to experience Croatian Agri-Tourism. During Diana’s research presentation on Agri-Tourism we learned quite a bit about domestic animals, beautiful places to visit and traditional Croatian culture. Now we had the privilege to experience it in full swing at Diana’s home. Diana and her parents were welcoming and generous they showed us their farm, animals and let us help in preparing a delicious meal. Diana gave us traditional instruments called Tambura samica – Hvala. The scholars loved them as did I. The meal was amazing and we got to try homemade goat cheese, handpicked cherries and goat milk. The experience was priceless. Such a great way to end our time in Croatia.  Tomorrow will be spent saying goodbye to our amazing new friends.  Now it is time to catch a bit of rest before our flight on the 28th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

June 24 & 25: Exploring Zadar

IMG_0654Zadar has always been a spot the past scholars have enjoyed. The sea side is beautiful the amenities of the city are great and the gelato is by far the best. We spent the morning and early afternoon making our way from the Dubrovnik coast. The trip had a few stops to look at scenery and have a hot meal in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When we arrived in Zadar we got a scoop of gelato (not nearly enough) and walked to the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation.

IMG_0352We traveled over the footbridge and had the chance sit for coffee and a scoop of gelato (not nearly enough) on our way to view two amazing attractions: the Sea Organ and Sun Salutation. Zadar’s incredible Sea Organ, designed by local architect Nikola Bašić, is a system of underground pipes that makes a beautiful sound as the sea pushes air through it. The Sun Salutation was also great to see. It collects the sun’s energy during the day and provides a light show at night. The scholars were amazed by the beauty and sound of the organ and the intensity of the lights from the radiating sun dial. After watching a beautiful sunset and exploring the ancient city we headed back to Varaždin for a good night’s sleep. We spent most of the next day catching up on the 3 R’s (research, reading and rest).

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014 : Exploring the Old City

Posted in General issues |
Alice & Brittany Exploring Dubrovnik

Alice & Brittany Exploring Dubrovnik

Today the students ventured back to the Old City so we could walk the Walls and explore some more of the city. The weather was hot but nothing compared to what it usually is this time of year. There was a nice breeze once you climbed to the highest part of the ancient Walls. The scholars learned about some of the history and origins as they took photos to send to their family and friends back home. It took us awhile to walk the Walls but it seemed to go by so quick because everything was so stunning and remarkable. When we were through with the walking tour we grabbed lunch and decided to take a water break at the fountain. In the center of the Old City there is a fountain that has multiple spouts, people drink out of them, refill water bottles and splash their faces. He water is ice cold, pure and clean. The scholars were so surprised because that would not happen in the states. After we left the Old City we ventured back to the Hotel Adriatic and explored some more of the coast, the water is unbelievable and the dryness of the sea air was extremely refreshing compared to our Florida humidity. We went to find some dinner near the hotel and stumbled into a great pasta and pizzeria the food was delicious and the view of the homes on the coast was even better. Tomorrow we will be visiting Zadar. The scholars can’t wait.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 22, 2014 Arrival to Dalmatia

Arrival in Dubrovnik

Arrival in Dubrovnik

We arrived to the Hotel Adriatic in the late afternoon and most of the students headed to the beach which was directly next to the hotel. The beaches are much different from the ones in Florida but I think everyone enjoyed themselves. We all went to dinner at a great restaurant in the old city that the Study Abroad students went to in past years and it was just as delicious as I remember. We explored the city, had some gelato and experienced the night life culture of Dubrovnik.

The history of the city is extremely rich; caught in the cross-hairs of the war that ravaged former Yugoslavia, Dubrovnik was pummelled with some 2000 shells in 1991 and 1992, suffering considerable damage. All of the damaged buildings have now been restored.  The reconstruction bill was estimated at US$10 million. It was quickly decided that the repairs and rebuilding would be done with traditional techniques, using original materials whenever feasible. We are learning and experiencing so much. Great Day! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

June 21, An amazing time in Split: our first Sea Side


Today we had a full day in Split, the trip is going by so fast. It seems like yesterday we were entering the Zagreb airport! We started the day with a great breakfast at the hostel and got fueled up for a tour and exploration of the Diocletian Palace. The Diocletian Palace is a UNESCO’s fortune heritage site, and for good reason it was saturated with history and present culture. We were lucky enough to get information on the Palace from our new FOI friends (Hvala!) before we arrived so the scholars were able to understand the exhibit and the palace cellar in all its detail. After the palace tour we ventured into the heart of the city to observe the local culture and found out that music is one of the most important aspects of the Split culture which was evident from all of the people playing music on the streets and the concert going on in the center of the city. Some of the students went to the beach to swim, hang out and observe beaches that are much different from the ones in the states, we had some gelato from a great stand near the beach and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We then went for dinner near the Sea Side and indulged in some Sea Side seafood, it was fantastic! Tomorrow we will be boarding the bus early to go to Dubrovnik, the scholars can’t wait!

Friday, June 20, 2014

June 20, 2014 – Plitvice Lakes, Split and a bus tour of Croatia

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice Lakes


Day 9: Plitvice Lakes, Split and a bus tour of Croatia

We started our journey early today in order to travel by bus to the Dalmatian Coast to learn more about the Croatian UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Croatia is home to 7 of the locations around the world protected by the United Nations. One of the scholar’s favorite places to visit is Plitvice Lakes, it is an experience that cannot be described in pictures but we will try anyway! After a 3 hour bus ride from Varaždin we arrived at Plitvice Lakes the scenery is beyond words and the students were in awe of the beauty. We rode the ferry boat, took a ton of pictures and enjoyed an ice cream while we watched the wildlife and waterfalls. I can still hear the water crashing now. We took the minibus and enjoyed the beautiful countryside and then seaside as we approached Split. We checked into the Goli Bosi Hostel in the heart of Split and concluded our long day of travel.

Tomorrow will have the opportunity to explore Split further.  Split is the largest city in the Dalmatian area and the second largest city in Croatia.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June 19, 2014 – Thank you Beretinec!

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We must start by saying thank you to the Municipality of Beretinec! Today we embarked on a great exploration of the Municipality of Beretinec starting with a meeting from the Mayor Igor Kos. We  received a vast amount of information on the developments of the region and its plans for the near future. The students were educated on the villages, the cultural practices and experiencing a culture much different from their own in the states. We then went to visit the local volunteer Fire Department where we watched a presentation by the youngest set of Fire Fighters ranging from ages 6-9 years old. After the wonderful demonstration we visited the Črešnjevo Elementary school where we spoke with the principal and watched performances by the students. We received gifts of local delicacies and of course lavender plants which are native to the region. The students from both intuitions were thrilled. After our visit to the school we went to the MNK Črešnjevo futbol club. The members of the MNK were such amazing hosts, they explained the traditions of their organization and organized a futbol match between some of their younger players and our students. It seemed like the entire community came out for the game, you could feel a sense of community and team building that was unlike that of the states. When we were done being schooled in futbol we headed to the Črešnjevo Hunting club where we were greeted with performance of traditional dances and a feast that the students loved.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June 18, 2014 – 5th ISRS & visit to Regional County Government

Posted in General issues |

IMG_9044Our day began with a visit to the Regional County Government, led by Dr. Violeta Vidacek-Hains.  The amazing and welcoming tour was led by Silvia Ladic-Fischer. Silvia introduced the students and faculty the Deputy Prefect, Alen Kisic. Mr. Kisic provided insight on Varaždin’s influence on governmental and environmental issues. Today was the 5th Annual International Student Research Symposium. I was proud to see the accomplishments and strides the students made in the short amount of time they have been here. We are so happy we get the privilege of continuing collaboration with FOI!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 17th: Education in the formative years: SciBar & Kindergarden

SciBar_170614Today we visited Varaždin’s Kindergarten. We spoke with the principal and one of the teachers of the school. The students played tag with the kindergarteners and had a great deal of fun. This program is designed to incorporate early second language skills in young children. After our visit at the school we had a quick lunch at the student restaurant. In the afternoon we had research meetings and preparation for student projects. The students attended the university sciBAr in the evening and learned from faculty, students and local children on the importance of global thinking and local culture. This month the presentation was being given by one of our FOI friend, Neva Stopinšek and DePaul McNair director, Dr. Luciano Berardi.  The event was free to the public and delivered in a relaxed environment in the downstairs basement lounge area of FOI.

Data Analysis 2: Plan analysis for research questions

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 – Exploring FOI

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Today we started off the morning with the chance to meet with the FOI management board.  We spoke with meeting with the FOI Management Board (Dean, Prof.dr. Vjeran Strahonja, Ph.D. and vice deans).  They were all very excited about our visit and shared with us a brief history of the university. We were also presented a very nice FOI pack back with some welcoming gifts.

After a few hours of workshops related to our collaborative research study we volunteered at the local food bank.  This was a great opportunity for us to engage in a service project within the community.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 2014 – Visit to Krapina & Trakošćan


This day provided us with yet another opportunity to explore the beauty Croatia has to offer. The experience was further enriched as we had an opportunity to also learn from current FOI students, faculty and staff and a visiting student from the University of Cincinnati.  Our first stop was the historic Neanderthal Museum in Krapina. We also were provide the chance to explore the marked paths connecting the new museum with the Neanderthal excavation site on the Hušnjakovo hill. From here we traveled to the Trakošćan castle. Trakošćan was built in the late 13th century in northwestern Croatian defense system as a small observation fortress.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June 14, 2014 – First day in Varaždin was more than we imagined.

IMG_8416Upon our arrival in Varaždin, we met an additional group of students from FOI that will also kindly be our hosts for our short stay. Brittany and the DePaul McNair director we greeting with the singing of happy birthday.  We quickly settled in we headed to dinner.  After dinner Brittany and Luciano were surprised again with a birthday cake.  Our first day in Varaždin was more than we imagined.  After months of preparing, it is great to finally be here. At the end of a long day, we headed back to the dorms and prepared for the next day.


Friday, June 13, 2014

June 13, 2014 Exploring Zagreb

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Meeting with University of Zagreb Zagreb Vice Rector, Prof. dr. Blaženka Divjak was the highlight of the day.  The scholars really enjoyed the discussion about the United States and Croatian higher education systems. After the meeting the group continued to explore Zagreb.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

June 12th: Dobrodošli kući!

We just checked into the hotel in Zagreb.  After several long hours of flying the scholars were happy to have their feet on the ground.  Good to be back among such amazing friends. Grateful for the opportunity to introduce a new group of scholars. Also, great to see that the sign has lasted four years.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

McNair International Collaborative

Posted in General issues |

Tomorrow our scholars will be leaving to take part in what we hope will be a life-changing experience.  Thank you for taking the time to read about our experiences.

Partner Institutions:
University of Zagreb: Faculty of Organization and Informatics (FOI), Varazdin, Croatia
University of East London, London, England

Monday, June 9, 2014

About the McNair Scholars Program

The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at over 200 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. It is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities. McNair participants are either first-generation college students with financial need, or members of a group that is traditionally underrepresented in graduate education and have demonstrated strong academic potential.

McNair Mission: To increase the number of first-generation college students from low-income families and members of underrepresented groups in the nation’s professoriate.

Friday, May 23, 2014

McNair Scholar Spotlight: Alice Neira

alice_neiraAlice Neira was born in Lima, Peru and moved to the United States at the age of six. She is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, while earning a minor in Education, and a certification in Leadership Studies. Alice’s goal is to combine her knowledge of education policy and passion for community service to positively impact students in public school systems in the United States, especially in lower socio-economic classes, and provide equal access to education. She plans to attend graduate school and acquire her Ph.D. in Education Policy.

Friday, May 23, 2014

McNair Scholar Spotlight: Brittany Murphy

108Brittany Murphy is a Florida native, hailing from a small town in South West Florida. She is a Humanities major as well as Religious Studies with a minor in Mass Communications. Brittany’s research interests are concerning how marginalized bodies are depicted in US. popular culture, specifically focusing on queer bodies and persons with disabilities. Brittany dreams of obtaining her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, with the goal of working in academia and pursuing non-profit work for students with disabilities.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Very excited about our trip!

Can’t wait!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Blog 2014

Blog for 2014 tour will be ready in June!