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Field trip to New York City and Washington, DC with York College Students
recipients: Erin DeHart, York College, NE
This grant supported a travel course at York College in York, Nebraska. The course, “The Holocaust: Special Studies,” was designed and taught by Erin DeHart, with co-facilitator, Chris Luther. It is a summer course in which undergraduate students complete classroom activities and then travel in NYC and Washington DC studying the Holocaust through experiential learning.
In preparation for the trip, the students read two novels during the spring semester: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Five Chimneys: A Woman’s Survivor’s True Story of Auschwitz by Memorial Library founder Olga Lengyel. While reading these books, the students engaged in online discussions aimed at deepening their personal connection to the Holocaust through learning about individual stories. While in New York, they explored the Holocaust but also explored Jewish culture and other histories important to the city’s development. Their time in New York included a visit to the Memorial Library, where they heard from Holocaust survivor Frances Irwin. In both New York and Washington, meetings with survivors were supplemented by visits to relevant museums. Each activity was followed by writing and processing within the group, and daily journals and drawings were turned in each day. Debriefing sessions provided a powerful tool for helping students to share what they had learned. The most pressing question, “now what?” formed the topic for the students’ closing entries; these were then shared among the group and developed into projects aimed at enhancing their digital literacy along with the understanding gained from their travels.