A Community for Living and Research
March 17, 2016|Posted in: On Campus
Andrew Rogan is a freshman studying international studies, originally from Orlando, Florida. He is a part of the AU Scholars program, which allows freshmen to take research courses. His course gave him the opportunity to travel to Brussels, Belgium over spring break.
Here at American University, exploring D.C. is encouraged and a fundamental part of student life. However, conquering the nation’s capital isn’t as easy as it looks. Another value held in high esteem at American is, obviously, challenging academic experiences. Both of these aspects of AU life may seem at opposite ends of the spectrum, but what if I told you there was a way to do both AND get credit for it? The AU Scholars program combines academia and research for students’ first two years at AU. For first-semester students, the program helps engage them in not only the curriculum offered to AU students, but also in D.C. living. Through living-learning communities and research opportunities, the AU Scholars program is a superb opportunity for students who wish to embrace a different kind of college life.
The first day in college can be really intimidating. With so many strangers surrounding you, it’s easy to feel isolated and alone. Soon enough, you meet people who live on your floor and you form a special bond. The AU Scholars program is a living-learning community that fosters a community at an accelerated rate. Not only do you live with those in the program, but you go to class with them too. The benefits of living and learning as a group include studying together, enjoying the same lab experiences, and building a stronger community. For midterms, we gathered in our lounge, baked cookies, and had a group discussion on the topics we needed to study for the exam. AU Scholars attracts students from all walks of life and forges a diverse program population. Each of us contributes to the floor community in a unique way.
Research is a desired part of college that most students aren’t able to get involved with until their third or fourth year. As a part of AU Scholars, students are offered the chance to conduct research within their first year. In the fall semester, students pair a General Education course with a lab. The lab is an opportunity for students to apply course material to field trips in DC and meet with local groups and agencies. This fall, I was able to volunteer with my lab group at the DC Central Kitchen, a meal prep charity who sends food to those in need, in order to analyze the different cultures for our Cross-Cultural Communication class. In the spring, students rank their top choices for research courses offered by the AU Scholars program and are able to conduct and present the research subject over the course of the semester. For spring 2016, offerings included research on the global marketplace, child soldiers, and even the marine environment. I chose to participate in the human migration course, which includes a trip to Brussels, Belgium where we met with EU and NATO officials, as well as numerous institutions and NGOs. This is an opportunity that many college students don’t have the chance to participate in.
The AU Scholars program has made my college experience so much more momentous. The friendships I’ve forged and the experiences I’ve had made coming to college easier, and I couldn’t be more thankful for the program. To be a part of this unique program, all you have to do is apply to American University. AU Scholars evaluates standard application materials, and upon university acceptance, will invite students to join in their general acceptance letter. For more information, check out this link.
To learn more about Andrew and the rest of the Ambassadors, click here.