Ichabods In Depth

Published April 28, 2013

Learn more about the WTE

Photo by Paul Stueve. Used with permission.

Day of Transformation opportunity for students to shine

Sidewalk made without modern machinery in Nicaragua.Once each semester, students who have completed a Washburn Transformational Experience or WTE are invited to share what they have learned at the Day of Transformation.

Friday’s event included 62 presentations ranging from medical research to study abroad experiences. There were students who conducted surveys and did research related to campus – including the topics of a smoke-free campus and an on-campus childcare facility. And there were students who shared experiences that transformed the way they live their own lives.

Four of nine students who traveled to Nicaragua over winter break presented at the hour-long event at the Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center. All four – Kathryn Clark, Maureen Magana-Rodriguez, Kiley Schmidt and Paul Stueve – said they would love to return and that they are putting lessons they learned into practice now.

Stueve, a junior from Hiawatha, Kan., said the experience of building 20 to 30 meters of sidewalk over three days with no modern machinery was life changing for him.

“You learn how happy people are with nothing,” he said. “It was a couple of guys coming together to do what a machine can do. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen.”

With the Washburn students helping as they were asked, men from the village used heavy iron polls, two shovels and string to prepare the ground, mix concrete and level the sidewalk. Stueve said he thinks of that experience every time he gets down or stressed, or makes a decision to buy something. Schmidt, Clark and Magana-Rodriguez all said similar things.

Clark said the trip was an eye-opener on many levels and she now takes more time now to think about whether she is living her own principles. The junior from Shawnee, Kan. said learning about the history of the country helped her really understand that things aren’t just black and white.

Evidence of the transformation many students experienced was clear.

Mike Russell, associate professor of psychology and director of the scholarly and creative WTE, thanked those who visited the Day of Transformation in an e-mail message.

“Not only will the students remember the great things they did as part of their WTE project, they will remember the time you spent with them.”