Skylar Benjamin

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
Children, Youth, and Families
International Experience Summary:

This summer Skylar completed a study internship for eight weeks in Stirling, Scotland. She was able to learn about the psychology of evil and its role in major historical events, along with how the Scottish education system works. She was able to be involved with multiple research projects at the School of Sport at the University of Stirling during her internship. During her four weeks of interning, she helped and observed with data collection, learned about different equipment, analyzed data, and wrote reports that were sent out to clients. By completing an internship abroad, she was able to gain valuable skills that can only be gained from hands on experience. Skylar was immersed in Scottish culture this summer when she trained and played for the University of Stirling women’s football team, which competes in the highest level of women’s football in Scotland, the Scottish Women’s Premier League. She was able to gain a true understanding of Scottish culture by making friends and hanging out with many of her teammates off the field.  With her free time, Skylar took advantage of the beautiful scenery of Scotland by hiking in the highlands, taking in the sights of the various castles, and exploring the many cities throughout the country. During her time in Scotland, she was able to travel to England and experience their culture. As a football fan, she was able to see multiple stadiums, including Old Trafford, which has been a dream of hers since she was a little girl.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: What do You do?

Our CEE, titled “What do you do?”, aimed to bring awareness about the importance of personal actions in sustainability and the environment to the members of our community. Each member of our cohort wrote a skit that was set in each of our countries that we studied abroad in: Scotland, Cuba, and Iceland. In each of the skits, we “traveled” to each of our respective countries and wore culturally specific outfits, for example, a Scottish football top, a rain jacket and wellies. We not only shared some of the culture that we each experienced but we also shared how people in each country have an impact on the environment. We showed how individuals affected their overall carbon footprint by sharing actions that are good for the environment, but also those that could be improved on. These actions ranged from government policy to composting.  We were able to capture the audience’s attention and provided some laughs by acting out some of the behaviors that we experienced in our country in terms of sustainability.  After each of our skits, we had a short discussion and sustainability continua designed to get our audience involved in our event, which allowed the audience to see how their personal actions toward sustainability compare to others. Our continua covered topics such as smoking, use of reusable bags, littering, and water usage. After our three skits, we had a guest speaker, Mary Whitney, the Director of University Sustainability at Chatham, who talked about how we as individuals can have a large impact on the environment by the small actions that we do every day. She talked about what Chatham is already doing to be more sustainable and also shared some tools, tips and facts on sustainability that the audience could use to be more conscious of their sustainability efforts. She really focused on how the little things that we as individuals do add up to affect the global environment. We allowed a space at the end of our event for open questions, comments, and suggestions on how to make Chatham more sustainable. This provided our audience some time to critically think about what they learned, and to get any clarification or more details.