Students Travel to 2012 Paralympics in London as Part of “Perspectives on Disability” Class
By Alex McKechnie
Office of University Communications
August 23, 2012 — Nine Drexel University students will travel to London from August 31 through September 8 to see the 2012 Paralympic Games, as part of the travel-integrated course “Perspectives on Disability,” the fourth course in the Great Works Symposium 2012 Series.
Students will attend the games at Olympic Park and meet with the various people involved in the event, including Paralympians, trainers and special Paralympic reporters. In addition to the games, students will get to see the iconic sights of London, including a boat tour along the Thames River, a ride on the London Eye, museum visits and a night out at the theater.
Dr. Scott Knowles, an associate professor of history and politics in the College of Arts and Sciences, will lead the trip, accompanied by Dr. Stephen Gambescia, an associate clinical professor, and Dr. Kristine Mulhorn, associate professor and chair of the Health Administration Department, both from the College of Nursing and Health Professions. The students in the class, Claire Arnos, Wayne Cheng, Katie Delaney, Kyla Lafond, Katie Leis, Frederick May, Joleen Petroski, Ariel Pollak and Binod Yapa, are enrolled in a variety of majors ranging from biology to business to engineering.
“I am so excited to be able to go and see some of the best disabled athletes in the world, along with the best adaptive sports trainers, coaches and researchers in sport and disability,” said Kyla Lafond, a pre-junior, who is pursuing custom-designed major specializing in disability services. “One of the best contacts that I have made is a physical therapist who worked at this year's Olympic Games and will be working at the Paralympic Games as well.”
While experiencing the cultural offerings of the city and the Paralympic games, students will continue to participate in discussion sessions and conduct research for the course. The course examines the concepts of disability, including physical and mental disabilities, medical research and the advancing technology that has changed what it means to be disabled and the ethics of accommodating those with disabilities.
Observing the Paralympics allows students to see first-hand some of the theoretical concepts addressed in class and make connections between historical and contemporary issues. It affords the participants an opportunity to pursue deeper, meaningful research that will inform their final project for the course.
“The Great Works Symposium requires that students step out of their comfort level, as well as to research and present on a new topic or idea,” said Lafond. “My group's research topic is ‘Adaptive Sports: A Perspective on Technology, Ethics, and Culture.’ I am really excited to see how my experiences at the games will contribute to my understanding of this area.”
The Great Works Symposium is housed in the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry (CII) at Drexel. The CII is home to the Great Works Symposium, the Custom-Designed Major Program, Honors travel-integrated courses and stimulating faculty and student research focused on an interdisciplinary approach. CII and Staffordshire University partnered to make the travel-integrated course possible. Staffordshire’s Faculty of Health Sciences has a Centre for Sport, Health and Exercise Research gaining the Centre a reputation for sport-disability work, making the university an ideal partner for the course.
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