Alternative Spring Break: Meet the students

Nine students and two faculty members traveled to Guatemala for Alternative Spring Break, March 14 through 18. The group stayed with local residents of San Miguel, where they learned about coffee farming, local textiles, and participated in construction projects that benefited the local coffee cooperative, De La Gente. De La Gente is a non-profit organization that works to ensure fair trade for coffee farmers. Each year, Ivy Tech Bloomington works with De La Gente to create an alternative spring break experience that goes beyond service and incorporates learning from the populations we serve.

ASB Student Participants:

Brenda Perez, second semester Ivy Tech student majoring in General Studies (interest in Psychology), lived in Puerto Rico for 6 years and has family in Guatemala. She has visited Guatemala five times prior to her trip with Ivy Tech and is a native Spanish speaker.

Natasha Capestany, second semester Ivy Tech student majoring in General Studies, had never traveled internationally before the Ivy Tech trip and she loves to hoop and dance.

Brynn Parkinson, second semester Ivy Tech student majoring in General Studies and is looking to major in English after transferring to a four-year institution. She works at the YMCA and also as a supplemental instructor for English 111 at Ivy Tech. Recently, Brynn spent 10 months with AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corps doing various disaster preparedness and relief projects across the East Coast. She has traveled to Europe, but Guatemala was her first trip to Central America.

Erica Ramos, Ivy Tech student since 2013 and majoring in Human Services, is a mother of two, originally from Brooklyn, New York.  Erica’s oldest daughter attended the Guatemala trip last year and talked Erica into applying for this year’s trip. Erica has traveled in the United States as well as visiting Puerto Rico to see family.

Kaleb Wagers is a fourth semester Ivy Tech student majoring in Education with plans to transfer to Indiana University and become a high school History teacher. At the age of 15, Kaleb traveled to Europe for 21 days where he visited Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France. The Ivy Tech trip was not his first visit to Guatemala as he actually moved to the country when he was 16 and stayed there for three months.

Rachel Towell is a second semester Ivy Tech student with plans to transfer to Indiana University to pursue Recreational Sports Management. While she has traveled throughout the United States, this will be her first real international travel experience, outside of one day spent in Canada.

Courtney Pope is a Liberal Arts major hailing from Pennsylvania with plans to major in Global and International Studies and Marketing with a possible minor in French or Spanish at either IUPUI or The University of Indianapolis. Courtney is well-traveled within the United States, but this was her first international travel experience.

Alissa Vondersaar, a nursing student at Ivy Tech, attended the trip for the second time.  Alissa took part in the Ivy Tech trip last year as well and was thrilled to be able to attend a second time.  Alissa and her husband enjoy traveling throughout the United States, partaking in long hiking trips, and hope to move to the west coast upon graduation.

Jennifer Roach – a student in the nursing program, boarded a plane for a first time on this trip. She traveled internationally for the first time and experienced her first flight in the same trip.

Alternative Spring Break photos from San Miguel, Guatemala

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