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Spring break trips enhance learning opportunities for students

Spring break provided an opportunity for numerous Abilene Christian University undergraduate students in various departments to further their learning in unique environments.

Pre-Law Ghana Trip


Barton, Collier, Jaax and Pablico with Yeboah, the chief justice of the Ghana Supreme Court.
Barton, Collier, Jaax and Pablico with Yeboah, the chief justice of the Ghana Supreme Court.

For the second year in a row, ACU pre-law students partnered with Pepperdine Caruso Law’s Sudreau Global Justice Institute and the Wildcat Academics on Mission program to shadow legal attorneys on a trip to Accra, Ghana. ACU recently created a minor in legal studies including a Legal Studies Externship course in which faculty works to match students with alumni attorneys for a shadowing experience. Alan Collier (‘87), J.D., director for the West Africa program at Pepperdine Caruso Law’s Sudreau Global Justice Institute, agreed to host ACU pre-law students in Ghana, and the WAM program provided financial support and training in preparation for the trip.

Pre-law students Emma Jaax, junior accounting major from San Antonio, and Emy Pablico, junior computer science major from Abilene, connected with Collier as well as Brynn Barton (‘18), J.D., a post-graduate legal fellow, to work with on the trip. Jaax and Pablico met with other law students, lawyers and professional staff who work to promote justice in Ghana including Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, the chief justice of the Ghana Supreme Court. 

“The trip was a very educational and formative experience both personally and academically,” Pablico said. “I cannot praise the team in Ghana enough for welcoming us so effortlessly.”

Learn more about the pre-law program.

College of Business Administration Costa Rica Trip


COBA students with Costa Rican clients - Wearsos, Lynne Corvaglia and Chris Riquelme.

The Social Enterprise Consulting class in ACU’s College of Business Administration traveled to Costa Rica for the fourth time during spring break through a partnership with Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, or CATIE. CATIE is a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture, time management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Last year’s spring break trip consisted of helping primarily women entrepreneurs learn the basic skills needed to upcycle the leather that was donated by Southwest Airlines. This year, Dr. Laura (Cleek ‘88) Phillips, associate professor of management sciences, and Dr. Jennifer (Baker ‘00) Golden, assistant professor of management sciences, along with 10 students, partnered with Wearsos, a social enterprise company preparing to launch their first three upcycled leather products later this year. 

Following the trip, students will spend the rest of the semester analyzing the data collected through various focus groups conducted in Costa Rica. Students will then provide marketing materials and guidance to the entrepreneurs at Wearsos and support the collection of information for the distribution of products to the consumers. 

“The consulting skills that the students learn in the class help equip them for their careers,” Phillips said. “The chance to impact the economies of rural villages and improve the job opportunities for individuals in that region is inspiring to the students who participate. Finally, the students in this class develop a deep connection with each other. They also have a fantastic opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs in a different part of the world.”  

Learn more about the College of Business Administration

Department of Art and Design San Francisco Trip


Department of Art and Design students with Brent Couchman ('05), at the Moniker facilities in San Francisco.

The Department of Art and Design traveled to San Francisco, California, with a group of 12 students who were able to tour companies such as Google, Landscape, 8vc, Moniker, Hybrid and Manual. Moniker is a San Francisco-based design and branding agency led by Brent Couchman (‘05). He hosted the students for a pizza night during their trip to give them a glimpse into what their futures could look like. 

Nil Santana (‘00), interim chair for the Department of Art and Design, and Mike Wiggins (‘93), associate professor of art and design, traveled with the students to lead them on the second-ever departmental trip to San Francisco. 

“These trips are about showing students all of the possibilities and opportunities once they graduate,” Wiggins said. “Students get to see what it looks like to be a designer in different contexts and environments to get a picture of what’s possible for their futures.”

Next year, the department will head to New York City to visit design studios with students.

Learn more about the Department of Art and Design.

— Connor Mullins 

April 5, 2023

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