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Widener freshmen start fall semester with trip to Costa Rica


CHESTER, PA (09/06/2018)-- Widener University is pleased to recognize 17 freshmen who recently completed a study abroad experience that marked the beginning of their undergraduate careers.

The group traveled from Sunday, Aug. 12 to Sunday, Aug. 19, and arrived back in Pennsylvania two days before Widener freshmen move-in day on Aug. 21. The immersion experience was part of their enrollment in the freshmen seminar Sustainability and Cultural Competence, and was led by Biology Professors Itzick Vatnick and Bruce Grant, and Associate Professor of Nursing Normajean Colby.

The seminar allowed students a global experience even before fall semester classes officially began Aug. 27. While in Costa Rica, the group stayed at CARES 21, a property that Widener University purchased in 2016 to afford opportunities like this for students.

The students visited a dairy farm, a coffee roaster, the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica - a Costa Rican university in Heredia - as well as tourism sites like the volcano Irazu and the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens Park. They also spent time discussing strategies for succeeding in college and began developing bonds with their new university peers.

"They took away something that was completely outside of their daily lives," Vatnick said. "It opened their eyes. It was an outstanding way to begin their undergraduate experience."

Student travelers included:

Madison Panek of Mount Ephraim, NJ, 08059. Panek attended Audubon Junior Senior High School and is pursuing a degree in Nursing.

Emma Reistle of Mickleton, NJ, 08056. Reistle attended Gloucester Institute of Technology and is pursuing a degree in Nursing.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises seven schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. Visit the university website,