New program for Nepalese students among camps at Westminster College

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FULTON – Westminster College begins three different summer academic programs this week, one of which has never been seen before in the U.S.

Westminster invited 14 high school students from Nepal to come spend nine days on its campus.

Dr. Kurt Jefferson, Assistant Dean of Global Initiatives and Director of the Churchill Institute for Global Engagement at Westminster, said implementing a program like this is important.

“We are the first college in America to invite a group of high school students from Nepal to have this program to learn about America, its history, its culture and higher education in a liberal arts college,” he said.

Paths Education, founded by Westminster graduate Yangmali Sahadev Rai, helped orgnaize the program with the Fulton college. Rai also founded an organization which helps women in rural parts of Nepal by giving them opportunities for economic advancement.

Jefferson said the experience is new for every student participating.

“Every single student that we have in the program has never been to the United States, so that’s another thing that we think is neat, is they get to see the beauty of the country, how friendly the people are and all the other neat things about Missouri and mid-Missouri,” he said. 

Jefferson said he looks forward to showing them Westminster’s rich history.

“They get to see a building that is one of the oldest buildings in North America, The Christoper Wren Church, that was rebuilt here, and then of course the Berlin Wall piece which is the longest continuous piece of the Berlin Wall in North America,” he said.

Westminster will also host the STEM academy, which will give students an opportunity for hands on learning in each of the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 

Westminster Education Chair Dr. James Concannon said students should be exposed to these classes early on.

"In the Westminster STEM Academy, students are scientists engaged in the essentials of scientific inquiry such as asking questions, seeking answers, developing procedures, collecting data, transforming data into meaningful explanations and connecting experiences to everyday life," Concannon said. "Westminster wants to provide high school students with a sense of what a rigorous college learning experience feels like." 

The final program is the Westminster Institute of National Security, or WINS, which will challenge students to take on the global security issues facing the U.S. today.

Associate Professor of Political Science and Security Studies Director Dr. Tobias Gibson said this program trains future security leaders of America.

"As our nation develops policies and continues to face varied threats from within and beyond our borders, we believe that helping current high school students and future security professionals to understand the complexities of the issues facing our nation and world is a necessary component to securing the United States," Gibson said.

The camps all start this week and although each program is different, every student participating will have the opportunity to interact with one another.