In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknell’s students and faculty make a positive and palpable difference.
Meadow View and Essex Place, Lewisburg
Getting to know local elementary and middle-school students has led Nneoma Ibezim ’18 to “an expanded perspective of what Lewisburg looks like,” she says.
After taking Professor Ramona Fruja’s Immigrant Youth in U.S. Society course, the Posse Scholar from Los Angeles was inspired to apply what she’d learned. The education professor and Ibezim partnered with Bucknell’s Office of Civic Engagement to offer after-school and summer programs at two affordable-housing complexes, Meadow View and Essex Place. The programs provide tutoring and recreational activities for youth from historically at-risk groups, including recent immigrants.
What She’s Doing:
Ibezim conducted observational research and planned lessons that create visual stories of life in rural Pennsylvania. Using the qualitative research method photovoice, she asks participants to represent their communities through photos. “Using photography gives them the opportunity to share their stories without any assumptions in the way,” says Ibezim.
What She Loves:
From studying abroad through Bucknell in London to serving as the Black Student Union president, Ibezim has been shaped by being engaged in and out of the classroom. “I chose to step into the community and be active from the beginning,” she says. “It’s not as much about making a difference, but that I have been made different.”
The Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
Seated high in the Andes Mountains, the Ecuadorian capital of Quito is home to more than 2.5 million residents, and this fall, to exactly one number theorist. Professor Nathan Ryan, mathematics, spent months acclimating to the thin Andean air (Quito is more than 9,000 feet above sea level, nearly twice as high as Denver) and working at Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
What He’s Doing:
As the first Fulbright mathematician in Ecuador in a decade, Ryan shared his expertise by teaching facets of math not offered there. He also continued his research on number theory, a branch of math that has origins in mysticism and is essential to modern cryptography.
What He Loves:
South America has been his second home since childhood, when he hopped between Venezuela, Panama and Argentina while his parents worked for the U.S. State Department. A previous Fulbright in 2009 and a National Science Foundation- supported sabbatical in 2014–15 took him to Montevideo, Uruguay, to collaborate on number theory research.
The Universidad San Francisco holds special appeal for Ryan as the only fully private, liberal arts university in South America. “I am a complete liberal- arts-trained person,” Ryan says. “I went to a small liberal arts college. I went to grad school at Dartmouth, which is not a big research place. And I teach at Bucknell, right? So the fact that this is a liberal arts college was attractive to me from the beginning.”