In the Summertime

Group photo of Prima Voce Chamber Choir

UNC's Prima Voce Chamber Choir, pictured here at St. Nicholas Cathedral in Prague, spent the first 10 days of the summer break performing in front of packed concert halls while touring Austria and the Czech Republic as part of an international competition. Read about the group's successful tour in a blog written by conductor Jill Burleson, who is director of Choral Music Education.

Photo courtesy of Jill Burleson

This summer, many University of Northern Colorado students will be applying what they've learned so far in their classes to real-world situations on international, national and local levels. Here are just a few examples.

A Peek into Politics
Conor McCabe, a senior Journalism major, is spending the summer as a press intern in U.S. Senator Mark Udall's Denver office. Although Udall still has two more years in office, McCabe says that with a general election just around the corner, his days are always busy, from beginning to end.

Each day for McCabe and 10 other interns begins with a briefing with Udall's communication director to discuss the day's objectives, which can include reaching out to various publications, following up on media advisories or press releases distributed to media, researching which outlets covered issues Udall's involved in and monitoring his Twitter and Facebook pages.

McCabe said he thinks the internship will help his future career plans by building his communication skills with the media, and seeing how a senator's office contributes to his relationships with both local and national media.

"I hope to gain experience interacting with the media, both face-to-face and over the phone," McCabe said. "I aim one day to work in politics, on the communication side, and I think this internship will help me reach that goal."

So far, McCabe has enjoyed the majority of his assignments, especially reaching out to news outlets, following up on press releases and brainstorming sessions with the other interns.

"At first, interacting with the press directly over the phone was difficult," he said. "I quickly realized writing down my talking points beforehand made the conversations much more comfortable."

McCabe will be working in Udall's office throughout the summer. He's currently working three days a week, but hopes to be offered a full-time internship sometime in the next few weeks.

More Than Just Numbers
Alison McBride, a senior Mathematics major with an emphasis in secondary education will spend June 10-15 working with and mentoring young women who want to build on their high school courses.

Las Chicas de Matemáticas, a weeklong, residential camp funded through UNC's Office of Enrollment Management and the Mathematical Association of America's Tensor Foundation, is free for the 30 young women who participate.

In addition to learning college-level math, the "campers" will experience college life by staying in a campus residence hall, eating in Holmes Dining Hall and hanging out with McBride and three other students working as camp leaders.

The math part of the camp Monday through Thursday includes morning sessions focusing on recreational math and how it relates to sports, taught by Professor Ricardo Diaz; and afternoon sessions highlighting complex functions and their relation to technology, taught by Hortensia Soto-Johnson, an associate professor of Mathematics and co-founder of the camp along with Assistant Professor Cathleen Craviotto.

On the last day of the camp, the girls will present their findings, and work together with a group to create a PowerPoint presentation for a banquet that evening. Friends, family and the teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for the girls' admission to the program are invited to the presentation and banquet.

Along with looking forward to mentoring the girls, McBride hopes they can see her and the other leaders as real-life models of what they have the potential to become by pursuing a math degree.

"I hope this camp shows the students how applicable math can be in a variety of fields, and how important it is to society," McBride said. "It's so nice to see these young women taking initiative and know they are already thinking about their goals for the future. I didn't realize I liked math until my senior year of high school. I'm glad these girls, especially the younger ones, are taking advantage of this unique opportunity."

Expedition Yucatan
Seventeen UNC students will spend the last two weeks of June in the Yucatan Peninsula with Michael Kimball, director of the Honors, Scholars and Leadership Center, and Gillian McNally, assistant professor of Theatre Education.

The trip is part of MIND Global, a new initiative in UNC's Life of the Mind interdisciplinary studies program that promotes MIND courses taught in international locations. MIND is the course prefix for interdisciplinary courses offered as part of the Life of the Mind program.

Expedition Yucatan is a hybrid online MIND course that incorporates international service learning experience. Unlike most study abroad opportunities, Expedition Yucatan is just two weeks long, instead of an entire semester or summer.

"One of the benefits of this program is it allows students to experience a different culture in a short period of time," Kimball said. "It's the best of both worlds; the trip is short, yet the students are immersed in the culture from the moment they arrive and begin to understand what community life is like for people in the Yucatan Peninsula almost right away."

Students in the course this summer will be involved in service learning projects in the Mayan village of Yunku. One of the projects will be joining McNally in helping the children in the village put together a play, which will be performed for everyone in the village to see.

Students will have time for some sightseeing outside of the village toward the end of their expedition.

Seth Morones, a senior Sociology major, said he's most looking forward to exploring global education with the village youth.

"I have always had a passion for working with at-risk youth and homeless students, which had stemmed from my own experiences in homelessness when I was younger," said Morones. "I'm hoping this trip will be like kindling the flame for me, and enhance my desire to learn about people and cultures - building connections with them and seeing what's out there."

In the International Spotlight
Students in UNC's Prima Voce Chamber Choir spent the first 10 days of their summer break performing concerts and competing in an international competition.

The ensemble was selected to compete at the International Choral Competition Ave Verum in Baden, Austria, May 10-13, and squeezed in concerts before and after.

Led by conductor Jill Burleson and assistant director Karen Lange, the choir toured Austria and the Czech Republic, performing at venues that included the Stephansdom and Stift Klosterneuberg in Vienna; Saint Vitus and St. George's Basilica in Prague; and Haydn Hall at Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt.

Prima Voce's repertoire is a cappella, and comprises an array of choral chamber literature ranging from Renaissance to 21st century.

Acceptance into the prestigious international competition was based on the submission of performance recordings, repertoire lists, and a proposed competition program.

Read about and view photos of the recently completed trip - and find out how the ensemble fared in the competition - on Burleson's blog.

- Katie Owston, senior Journalism major