Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 25, 2009

College adds master's to its domain

By JESSE DAVIS

jesse.davis@goshennews.com

For the 111th time, graduate already.

Goshen College will hold commencement ceremonies for its class of 2009 graduates Sunday, the 111th class to graduate from the school. Of the 236 students receiving bachelor’s degrees, 220 will walk during the event, as well as three graduates of the new Environmental Education master’s degree program.

Nayla Jimenez of San Ramon de Tres Rios, Costa Rica, Mallory Kuhn of Spencerville, Ohio, and Todd Weston of Columbia, Mo., were the first students to complete the one-year program. The three lived at, studied at and taught classes at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake.

“It’s been a different experience,” Kuhn said. “I graduated as an undergraduate with 4,000 people, and then going to a class of three people and living out in the country in the middle of nowhere by myself, so it’s been a lot different.”

Kuhn earned a degree in wildlife and conservation biology at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. She found out about the GC program while looking online for a school offering a degree in environmental education.

“I think it was good,” Kuhn said, “It was the first year, so there were a lot of growing pains for them and us, but they really worked with us well and it was worth it, we learned a lot.”

She particularly appreciated the opportunities they had for real-world experience. During the course of the program, the students attended conferences, including one in Indianapolis, met with several people who are “really big in the environmental education field,” and wrote a grant application to the EPA.

So, what was Kuhn’s favorite part of the experience?

“Meeting Nayla,” she said with a laugh.

“It was a good experience,” Jimenez said. “I think the guy who’s been running the program is doing a really good job, and for someone who wants a one-year degree and has the ability to focus one year of their life on it, I think it’s a good program.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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