Wheeling Jesuit University

Service Takes University Students to El Salvador in January

WHEELING, WV, Jan. 9, 2009 - Fourteen students from Wheeling Jesuit University travel to El Salvador on Jan. 10 for a seven-day service immersion experience as part of their Jesuit education.

Led by psychology department chair Debra Hull, Ph.D., nursing instructor Amanda Wakim, MSN and the Service for Social Action Center director, Erin McDonald, the trip is the first international effort of the Wheeling Jesuit service office.

From left: Jill Nizan, Renee Stewart, Liz Yanni, Shawna Kerns, Becky Richards, Megan Richards, back row: Kellie Buckman, Ryan Ferris, Janelle Starling, Katie Beiter, Erin McDonald, Brittany Gorczyca, Mailey Petri and Adrienne Little.

The students will work with the FIAT international program, based in Philadelphia, Pa., which is coordinating their work.

“It is our hope that the students immersing in El Salvador will be transformed by the real world experience of being men and women for others,” said McDonald. Students will be serving in a variety of Salvadoran ministries such as a rural medical clinic, an orphanage for mal-nourished children, a program for street kids, and building projects.

El Salvador is located in Central America and has an estimated 6.5 million people living within its borders. Its neighbors are Honduras and Guatemala.

The service trip was designed for Wheeling Jesuit Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ scholars and senior nursing students. The Arrupe scholarship is a service leadership program designed to develop students committed to lives of service, solidarity and justice on campus and in the community.

“As an Arrupe Scholar, the program has challenged me to grow and change in many ways and this trip is the capstone experience that will prepare me for a life devoted to service,” said Kelley Buckman, senior Arrupe Scholar. In the Jesuit model of education, senior nursing students will be serving with a variety of medical ministries as international clinical experience.

The FIAT international program is sponsored by the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus religious order and offers service opportunities to many groups. In addition to serving the poor, Wheeling Jesuit students will also learn about the history, culture and language of El Salvador through a series of evening programs. While in El Salvador, the Wheeling Jesuit group will live in a community housing arrangement that is a gated property with a 24-hour guard.

Students traveling to El Salvador include: Jill Nizan (psychology) Pittsburgh, Pa.; Renee Stewart (biology)Norristown, Pa.; Valerie Grimes (business) Pittsburgh, Pa.; Kelley Buckman (chemistry) Buckhannon, W.Va. and nursing majors: Katie Beiter, Triadelphia, W.Va.; Ryan Ferris, Cincinnati, Ohio; Brittany Gorczyca, Shadyside, Ohio; Shawna Kerns, Wheeling, W.Va.; Adriane Little, Marietta, Ohio; Mailey Petrie, Columbus, Ohio; Becky Richards Midland, Pa.; Megan Richards, Vienna, W.Va.; Jenelle Starling, Shadyside, Ohio and Liz Yanni, Eighty-Four, Pa.

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