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Powell Students Plan Trip to China as Part of UW Contingent

March 3, 2016
two women and a man standing with arms around each other
Powell High School graduates Emily Kath, Ben Wetzel and Anya Tracy are among eight Associated Students of the University of Wyoming representatives who will be in China over spring break to meet with their Chinese counterparts. (Jordan Blazovich Photo)

While some of their University of Wyoming classmates will be basking in the sunshine or volunteering in projects across the country during spring break, three Powell High School graduates will be in China as part of a leadership exchange program.

Emily Kath, Anya Tracy and Ben Wetzel are among eight Associated Students of UW (ASUW) representatives who will travel to Shanghai, China, on a six-day trip visiting Shanghai Normal University and Shanghai University. They leave Friday, March 11; UW’s spring break is March 14-18.

Both Shanghai Normal University and Shanghai University are leading universities in the People’s Republic of China. For the past several years, UW and the two Chinese schools have shared resources, with UW students and faculty visiting the two universities, and students and faculty from the two Chinese institutions coming to Wyoming in exchange programs.

The ASUW student contingent will visit both Shanghai campuses to meet with student leaders and administrators, Kath says. She is a political science senior, who also receives credit hours in the Master of Public Administration program, and is ASUW vice president this school year.

Tracy is a speech, language, hearing sciences senior; and Wetzel is a chemistry/molecular biology freshman.

Kath and ASUW President Brian Schueler, an international studies/economics senior from Buffalo, lead the trip.

Schueler says the students are contributing most of their own money for the trip, and also received support from ASUW and the Cheney International Center in UW International Programs. The UW Student Affairs Office assisted with organizing the event.

Kath says she and Schueler interviewed 15 students -- ranging from freshmen to graduate students in a wide range of academic disciplines -- who applied for the program, and set up the committee to select the final contingent.

“We had an amazing group of applicants, and we were able to put together a great group of eight students,” Kath says. “Brian does have experience traveling to China, so he will be helpful with the language.”

“Every trip to China is an adventure. Like many of my six previous trips, I know that we will be welcomed very graciously by the people there,” Schueler says. “I also believe we can demonstrate the importance that these international partnerships have on our educational experience here at UW. We hope to strengthen this strategic partnership.”

Kath says the trip’s focus is to share ideas and to gain information about how student government works at the two Chinese institutions, plus learn what student life is like in China.

“A lot of us have not been to China. So, a lot of this trip will just be sharing of culture, whether it be through student theatrical productions for the delegation, dancing, calligraphy, food, of course, and things like that,” she adds. “The trip is really to gain a sense of the culture.”

Other UW students on the trip are: Clinton Harper, international studies graduate student, from Palmdale, Calif.; Shelby Lewis, mathematics/international studies sophomore, and Mackenzie Muirhead, international studies/French senior, both from Cheyenne; and Richard Yang, computer science/computer engineering senior, from Laramie.

Schueler says this will be a “fantastic opportunity” for his fellow ASUW representatives.

“We also look forward to encountering a different culture and learning new ideas and more understanding of China,” he says. “ASUW represents all students on this campus and, so, in addition to the benefits that will accrue to UW and to us as individuals, we hope that this experience also can help ASUW better represent one of our largest international cohorts on campus.”

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