Technology…Friend or Foe?

I find it to be a coincidence that I was asked to write a paper discussing the internet and technology when I was recently asked to complete a similar assignment, the only difference is the assignment was in Spanish. Apparently technology is a topic of discussion across the globe. Although I find technology to be extremely prominent and beneficial in my everyday life, it terrifies me. It terrifies me that there are times where I can sit in a room with all of my roommates and not a word will be spoken for as long as 10 minutes because each of our faces are buried in our phones, it disturbs me that the amount of time a simple homework assignment can take because I can’t stop checking my phone. There are nights I stop and internally ridicule myself because I know should have been asleep hours prior but instead I decide to scroll through Instagram. Starting off with random people I don’t even know, and end up on their second cousin’s girlfriend’s page about fitness. I wasted an extra two hours of precious sleep to watch someone I don’t even know explain how important it is to have an hour glass shape rather than a pear…who even am I and what is my issue tends to be what I mutter at myself. I can remember my friend saying one

day “its like a drug, we need our daily fix”. A drug. She referred to social media as a drug, I wanted so badly in that moment to argue against her but I couldn’t. She was right. Just like drug addicts, we need our daily fix, and until we get that fix we are just itching to get it.

As technology has advanced, so has the number of ways to access the internet. If a person is not on their desktop they are on their laptop, if not the laptop then the tablet, and of course the smartphone is within reaching distance and if that isn’t close enough then some people even have a smart watch on their wrist…what’s next? A screen built into our hands? When I was in middle school leading up to high school technology influenced my life, but looking back the access I had was very limited in comparison to right now. My friends and I would obsess over AIM (instant messenger- for those who were deprived as a child). Heyyyitskateex3 was online talking with her pals way more than I’d like to admit. For what reason? What could have possibly been so important that middle schoolers were instant messaging from the second they got off the bus to the moments before bed time. “OMG Julie did U C the pizza they srved @ lunch today… gross!!”. The fact of the matter is my desktop was down stairs in the basement, so once I was up stairs I was cut off. No secretly texting under the dinner table, no scrolling though social media while watching a family movie, and once I was in bed there was no source of internet or technology within reaching distance. Well… except for my alarm clock because if that wasn’t in reaching distance I’d never get out of bed in the morning. Once I got a cellphone that thing did not ever leave reaching distance, always on my nightstand or even at times under my pillow. My cellphone could be the death of me…literally. One time I woke up in the morning with the charging cord around my neck, what an interesting headline it could have been: “Plymouth State University Student Tragically Dies from Strangulation of Cellphone Cord”.

If I can say one thing about technology and the internet it’s this: boy is it nice to have a reason to get away from it. I also hate myself for saying I need a reason to not have my phone rather than just putting the damn thing down. About a month ago my Instagram account was hacked and I have not been able to log back on, it has been an interesting experience. But don’t worry I wasn’t completely deprived of my social media cravings, I of course have Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook to fill the gapping void. Parts of me want to make a new account so I can get back on the grid and see what friends, family and even the randos I don’t know are posting but on the other hand I get nervous. When I say nervous I worry I will become obsessed again, constantly worrying what people think of my photos or who likes which post at what time. Constantly critiquing every photo, I take, “I can’t put that on Instagram look at how awkward my hand looks” or “I love this picture from the weekend but I just posted a photo in this outfit a few weeks ago”. I over analyzed every little detail Instagram presented, thats right even worrying what the photo caption should be. Caring too much about what others think is a problem within itself but adding social media only fuels the constant worry. I want to be better with my social media tendencies and interaction with technology. A person can easily buy physical things now and in the future, but you won’t always have the here and the now with the people you hold close to your heart. I need to remind myself life is precious, and to live in the moment rather than through a computer screen.

Don’t mind me while I type here and pick my brain…

Research Article

What is mission work?

  • Explanation
  • History, description, key players, roles, policies, and controversies
  • The Humanitarian Charter
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Sphere Process
  • “Do no harm method”
    • 47 Ethical Challenges of Humanitarian Assistance
  • Making lives better or worse?
  • Religious vs non-religious
  • White Savior

Who are the people doing mission work?

  • Specific people, groups, organizations
    • Are any notorious for something good or bad?
  • Touch more in depth on a person with a religious motive vs without religious motive
  • Explain the roles of a missionary, humanitarian worker, donor, or field worker
    • What do they do that could be seen as controversial or beneficial?
    • What have they done in the past that could be seen as controversial or beneficial?
  • What are specific experiences from these workers? Both good & bad.

Who are the beneficiaries?

  • Who is benefited or hurt by humanitarian work?
  • Are there specific groups “targeted” to receive this type of work?
  • Why are certain groups seeing larger amounts of aid compared to others who are not?
  • Touch on unequal exchange (it will be magnified in the “cons” section in arguments)

Relations between “donors & recipients”

  • Start this section with the quote on interaction followed by the 3 effects
    • 425 When is Foreign Aid Selfish, when is it Selfless?
  • Laws and regulations
  • How are interactions for the donor? What are their benefits/consequences?
  • How are interactions for the recipient? What are their benefits/consequences?
  • “Strategic importance”
    • 423 When is Foreign Aid Selfish, when is it Selfless?
  • What policies or models are used when giving/receiving aid?
    • “Remain in office by engaging in an aid-for-policy deal”
      • 423 as well
    • What is the ultimate goal the relationship wants to achieve?
    • What is a consequence the relationship wants to avoid?
    • Use both highlighted sections as a transition to Disasters and Humanitarianism
      • 358 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
      • 359 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange

Disasters and Humanitarianism

  • “The Humanitarian Gift”
    • Use as a Segway from relations to this section
      • 358 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
    • Incorporate roles of the NGOs
  • “World Systems” approach
    • 357 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
  • Sociological & anthropological perspectives
    • 357 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
  • “Event-centric” & “state-centric” studies

Arguments (Pros vs Cons)

  • Humanitarianism & Unequal Exchange
    • Use as Segway from Disaster & Humanitarianism to this section
      • 359 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
    • Touch back on “The Humanitarian Gift”
    • Exemplify the term through the disaster in India
      • What were the consequences & benefits?
    • Introduce “public-private partnership”
      • 359 Humanitarianism and Unequal Exchange
    • Are we damaging or improving someone else’s country/culture?
      • Examples of good vs bad
      • Case studies
      • What policies come into play?
    • Touch on the idea of cultural relativism
    • When is imperialism present?
      • Is it beneficial or harmful?
      • How does Relations between “donors & recipients” come into play

Applied Project

Using knowledge from my work with, I will build a page informing people on ways to create their own mission trip based off of personal experiences this summer and years in the past!


  1. Touch on RA and segway from how humanitarian assistance can be helpful rather than harmful, explain why it is important to have humanitarians in the world.
  2. Walk the reader through a step by step plan on how to create your own service trip. Be sure to go in depth.
  3. Explanation on how important it is to be aware of the term “dignity”. Preach the importance of representing yourself and your country while in another person’s culture. Talk about privilege and its effects. Incorporate your own experience with privilege and how it impacted your own values of wrong vs right.  Explain what it means to be human and how resources are effective.
  4. Talk about how to be a “conscientious humanitarian”. Guidelines on, what to do, what to say and how to act when immersing yourself in another culture.
  5. Lastly, talk about your experience as a conscientious humanitarian, include “casa digna”. Create a hyperlink from interviews you had with board members from the organization you volunteer for.

Be The Change, Be Interdisciplinary, Be the Person You’ve Always Wished to Be

In today’s society individuals are always looking for instant gratification, their patience grows to be slower and slower as advances in life become that much quicker. I have always tried my best to be patient, to constantly tell myself that life has a purpose and to realize that things seem to fall into place when we least expect it. Prior to taking Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, a whole semester sitting on my hands waiting on a decision that determines my career path? The thought of writing an essay explaining my whole thought process toward what my future depended on only left me feeling anxious and discouraged. Before I was a student in this class I thought that I would be learning different disciplines in the academic world that I could use in the future. I didn’t have a good idea of what I’d be doing other than getting the help I needed to establish an approved major. But just as I said life always falls into place when you least expect it, and I did rather the opposite than sit on my hands this semester, I created myself into who I wanted to be as a person, student, teammate, friend and daughter. I created myself into a interdisciplinarian.


Over the course of the semester my understanding of Interdisciplinary Studies improved in a multitude of ways. The first would be learning the the exact definitions and terms associated with the study, giving me a better understanding on how to implement them on daily aspects of interdisciplinarity. Second, was learning how my Global Health major is interdisciplinary and important, as well as knowing how different discipline groups can work in tandem to be successful. Lastly, my understanding changed because over the course of this semester I have become much more involved with the campus community than I have in the three years I have been a student here at Plymouth State University. As a nursing student, athlete on the Women’s soccer team and working a part time job I barely had time to myself let alone being an active participant in extracurricular. I had always felt like I was forcing myself into a puzzle, and me being the piece just didn’t fit, no matter how hard I pushed myself into that mold I never seemed to have the perfect placing. People, and even myself had asked over and over why don’t you do something different? Touching back on the thought that we as a society are always looking for instant gratification, I can honestly say I was scared. I had spent two years pushing myself past exhaustion to keep my grades up to standard in the hopes of passing. I was constantly discouraged with the results because they never seemed to mirror my efforts. I knew my ultimate goal in life was helping others, and nursing would help me obtain this goal while being financially stable at the same time. I needed that immediate satisfaction to convince myself that I was okay and happy. I didn’t realize how unhappy I truly was until declaring myself as an IDS major and seeing how happy I was becoming everyday that I moved farther from my past. This semester I not only declared a major in Global Health but a minor in Spanish giving me the opportunity to be a Spanish club member and meet others who shared the same interests. In addition, I was accepted to be a a Global Ambassador and Orientation Leader this upcoming summer. What is so special about this is that I am going to work with international students coming to Plymouth State University to pursue a degree! I’m excited to not only be a mentor, but a friend, learning about the diversity of students we are lucky to have here on campus. Without learning the importance of how to be interdisciplinary, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to live up to my full potential as a student and human being, I wouldn’t be the happy person I wished to be a year ago.


Throughout this semester students enrolled in the Intro to Interdisciplinary Studies class were instructed to complete weekly assignments. Initially when reading over the syllabus I wouldn’t understand the reasoning behind them, but for each one I learned as I was completing the assignment that there was a relation to how it strengthened our understanding toward how almost anything can be made interdisciplinary. One assignment in particular that helped me realize how my major; Global Health was interdisciplinary was when we had to write about different classes we took this semester and what we learned. If you haven’t already, be sure to check the article I wrote for this assignment on WordPress! The road to get Global Health approved as my major wasn’t exactly easy. My first submission was accepted but I was told I had to name my program: Cultural Health Studies. This didn’t settle well in my mind initially, until I found out about the new Global Health minor option. I then came to terms with myself being a Cultural Health Studies major with a double minor in Global Health and Spanish, sounds good right? Little did I know that in order to declare a minor there are rules through the university that state a student may not major and minor in the same discipline and you can not have more than two courses that count for both your major and minor. I had five courses that overlapped, deeming me ineligible to declare the minor. Here I was feeling discouraged at the fact that not only could I not declare my major of choice but the minor as well! I decided to to resubmit my argument for Global Health as a major to the IDS council. Ultimately the council approved my program but the lesson to researching my classes and comparing what I learned to what is helpful for my future career path. Without doing this I would not have been able to realize the importance of each course and how it could help strengthen my argument. If this process were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it. A relatable article in particular that I was instructed to annotate this semester was Colleges Must Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge by Vartan Gregorian. The author wrote “for most students, college is a time for self-discovery, for developing passionate interests, and for trying to weave them into a meaningful career”. For me this hit home because it is extremely relevant to not only IDS students, but all college students. There have been immense social standards associated with knowing what the hell you want to do with your life barked into the ears of students the moment they begin the college application process. Each person has a different experience with self-discovery and finding what they are good at, some find this easy, others might never get the experience. Those who might not have experienced a successful self discovery could relate to this passage from the article:

“but a major failure of our higher-education system is that it has largely come to serve as a job-readiness program. Instead of helping students learn and grow as individuals, find meaning in their lives, or understand their role in society, college has become a chaotic maze where students try to pick up something useful as they search for the exit: the degree needed to obtain decent employment. Today’s students fulfill general-education requirements, take specialized courses in their majors, and fill out their schedule with some electives, but while college catalogs euphemistically describe this as a “curriculum,” it is rarely more than a collection of courses, devoid of planning, context, and coherence”.

As mentioned, I felt extremely discouraged as a nursing major when I couldn’t make the grade requirements. I associated my bad grades with worthlessness and with worthlessness I associated failure. My advisor simply said switch to a Health Promotion major, rather than truly getting to know who I was and my past experiences in the medical field abroad. She didn’t see the true potential I had brewing inside me, the potential that was brought to the light by the Interdisciplinary Studies Program. This here is where I tell you readers who might be feeling how I felt last year: “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” (A famous quote by F.Scott Fitzgerald). If I didn’t switch majors when I did I wouldn’t be able to say I am a pioneer alongside many other passionate students working toward a career path we’ve always wanted.

“There would be no place for interdisciplinarity if the disciplines didn’t come first, but collaboration is sometimes just as important, if not more important, than the individualized focus”. This quote was taken from chapter 14: The Challenges of Doing Interdisciplinary Work. I chose this quote because I felt is resonated with the question on why interdisciplinarity is important in universities and the world. With out the help of others we are unable to strengthen our own knowledge, there are no two individuals a like in the world. It is important to understand one’s culture in order to understand their work, you can’t use knowledge from your own culture to judge another’s.

First things first I hope to finish out this semester as the best I’ve had since beginning school here at Plymouth State, if things play out how they have been going I will be able to say I received all A’s for the first time in my college career. My first year in school as a nursing major I only received one A, and it was in a non-nursing related class. It’s been the biggest breath of fresh air to feel confident in all my classes and excited to take more courses for my new major. Ultimately I want to graduate as a member of The Interdisciplinary Studies Honor society along side many of my supportive classmates. After finishing school, I hope to enter the Peace Corps to continue my service work outside the United States. After my contract expires, I wish to continue my education and receive a master’s degree in Public Health. In a perfect world I’d love to work with human rights or disaster relief programs working to improve health and infrastructure conditions as well as the spread of disease both in the United States and abroad. I don’t know where I will end up in this life, but what I do know is I have the confidence in myself to be whatever I choose, something I would have never obtained if I didn’t become an Interdisciplinary Studies major.

We are Taught in Order to Learn, We Learn in Order to Teach..

Illness, Wellness, and Healing

Course Description:  Concepts of illness, wellness, and healing reflect the societies and cultures in which they are found. This course compares ways in which a variety of Western (e.g., France, Germany, and the United States) and non-Western (South American, African) societies and cultures think about and institutionalize health and illness.  Selected topics include:  the history of medicine, changing health and nutritional status from human prehistory to the present, social and cultural definitions of health and illness, ritual healing practices, ethnomedicine, epidemiology, the relationships of social organization and stratification to health and illness; and the social and personal construction of medical knowledge.


Course Objectives:

  • Apply critical thinking skills as they learn to analyze the ways in which illness and wellness are socially and culturally constructed.
  • Conduct research using a variety of sociological and anthropological journals,
  • Develop writing skills in production of a research report, and will enhance verbal and nonverbal communication skills in presenting information in individual presentations.
  • Use both sociological and anthropological perspectives in the analysis of illness and wellness.
  • Understand many of the issues in the contemporary debate dealing with the delivery of health care
  • Learn and reflect on personal wellness practices through writing assignments.

According to Dr. Robert Heiner, wellness courses such as this one are important because they provide opportunities for students to identify connections between life choices, personal wellness and a field of study. Students learn how to develop an appreciation for the connection between mind and body and make a commitment to life skills and life style choices.  This is learned through content and assignments from several dimensions of societal and personal wellness and their interrelationships. In this course, students will learn to show how models of illness, wellness, and healing reflect the Western and non-Western societies and cultures in which these models are found.


What I Found Most Interesting:

Through out this semester what I found myself hooked on and continuing further research pertaining to medicine and disease in the third world. I found it to be extremely intriguing to learn the diverse effects of this multi-billion-dollar industry through out the world. Specifically, I had the opportunity to research AIDS within Africa. It was shocking to compare how much more advanced and funded other countries are in comparison. Lectures and assignments in class like this are what fuel my interest in global health and helping others.


Principles of Health

Course Description:

An introductory course that explores the fundamental issues related to health. Learning outcomes include understanding all the dimensions of health, the overarching foundations of health behaviors, how to access health literature, national health behavior guidelines/recommendations as well as how to begin exploring health behaviors through the use of various theories and models in health promotion.


Course Objectives:

  • Discuss health in terms of its dimensions and historical, current and future perspectives.
  • Explain the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing chronic disease and promoting wellness.
  • Discuss the health status of various populations.
  • Understand and analyze health behavior guidelines/recommendations and use these to promote healthy behaviors in various populations.
  • Discuss various introductory behavior change models and theories and apply these theories and models to understand and promote effective health behavior change in one’s self and others.
  • Identify and evaluate the various barriers and facilitators that influence health behaviors.
  • Provide an overarching explanation of how the following behaviors impact personal health: physical activity, nutrition, tobacco/alcohol/drug use, safe sex practices, and disease/health care management.
  • Evaluate sources of health information to determine reliability.
  • Perform a literature search and review.

What I Found Most Interesting:

As the final weeks of class have started to end I recently found myself in awe of the sexual assault and rape culture here in the United States, particularly in college. I wish to learn more about this issue b

oth in the United States and abroad. While working with families in El Salvador I listened to the stories of how rape was common and women didn’t stand a chance at reporting this issue because without their husbands they would be financially unstable. Similarly, in many instances of sexual assault and rape on the college campus, victims don’t report because their cases typically don’t get brought to trial due to the fact universities are trying to keep a good reputation. I wish to continue research and compare and contrast rape culture effects those in the U.S and beyond.

Slutwalk London - Stop Victim Blaming

RIP Nirbhaya. (UNiTE to End Violence against Women and girls!)


Doing Interdisciplinary Mixed Methods Health Care Research: Working the Boundaries, Tensions, and Synergistic Potential of Team-Based Research:

One of the most talked about subjects of study in terms of interdisciplinary studies is the health care field. This article written by Sharlene Hesse-Biber depicts the current trends in health care research, focusing on the process of how is has shifted from models of disciplinary to interdisciplinary team-based mixed methods inquiry designs. Over time different factors and issues were compared and contrasted to see which were most efficient when facilitating interdisciplinary mixed methods team-based research. More specifically, how disciplinary can keep one in their comfort zones, lack attention to team dynamics and low levels of reflexivity which can alter the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary team.

Due to the fact that health care systems are very complex and ever changing, it is important to have a collaborative interdisciplinary team ready to conduct research on each aspect of the study. This will promote innovative research environments which could potentially undercover new research methods creating a new means of diverse research.

Mixed Methods Research

The idea of mixed methods research parallels with interdisciplinary research teams. It provides “the flexiblity and power of inquiry needed needed to tackle complex analytical and interpretive issues, given its multi-methodological pragmatic approach and wide range of applications”.  In an easier sense, this mean when conducting research, it includes collecting, analyzing and integrating quantitative research and qualitative research. Quantitative research is important because it involves experiments and surveys as well as qualitative which focuses on groups of people and individual interviews all of which strengthen the main point of research in collaboration.

Personal Interdisciplinary Experience

According to the Plymouth State University’s textbook; Interdisciplinary Studies: A connected learning approach the term interdisciplinarity can be defined as the incorporation of several fields of study to allow collabortation among diverse disciplines to either specify or broaden students’ education, to gain understanding, and/or to problem solve. And the term interdiscipline is defined as a field that emerges when two or more disciplines are combined. Referring back to mixed methods health care research these two terms both seem to have a common theme. This being the more information a team collects, the stronger and more diverse the research will be presented.

Interested in the full read? Click here for more information!

Be The Change, Be Multidisciplinary

Epilogos Charities has been involved with rural community development, with all projects initiated and implemented with Salvadoran collaboration and partnership since 2002. Project recipients in El Salvador contribute at least 30% of the project cost through manual labor or financial contributions. We work in tandem with our Salvadoran partners, a nationally certified community development agency. We include the beneficiaries in all stages of the projects.

Epilogos Charities Inc. has a community development strategy that is built for long-term success. Things are not given away – they are worked for, exchanged, or bought for low prices. “When a community gives its blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish the construction of a building, it will not allow this building to fall into disrepair.


Some of the main focal points of help and service when traveling to El Salvador which deems this as multi-disciplinary are: education, health/nutrition, housing, water/energy/environment and work skills training. Within each component are member who have leadership in this particular area of expertise together each member works in collaboration to have a successful organization.



Prior to Epilogos beginning work in San Jose Villanueva, El Salvador there were no computers in the village, no literacy classes and no scholarships. We have come a long way:

  • Hundreds of needy children who would have dropped out of school have received educational financial support, uniforms, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and learning aids.
  • Three village schools now have state-of-the-art computer systems and new facilities.
  • 1500 students have newly constructed, fully equipped science labs.
  • 1200 students have a new internal lending library with hundreds of books and educational CDs.
  • Unschooled adults and youth attend literacy classes.
  • Local art, English, and science teachers are learning new classroom skills from U.S. volunteer teachers.
  • Various schools now provide healthy lunches and snacks to more than 800 needy children.
  • Volunteers and school youth and their families created sturdy foundations for a future gymnasium that will have a stage, bleachers, and a large roof when completed.
  • More than 50 students are able to attend high school and primary grades each year through donations for educational aid


If you would like to sponsor students so they can attend school, the cost is:
– $180 for high school for a year
– $150 for grades 8-9 for a year
– $90 for grades K-7 for a year



With the help of Epilogos, the village of San Jose Villanueva has been given health care throughout the community. Some of medical accomplishments overtime:

  • The village has a complete dental clinic and welcomes visits by U.S. volunteer dentists
  • Various U.S. volunteer medical professionals conduct rural health clinics several times a year
  • Many groups bring purchased or donated medical equipment and medicine
  • Health professionals donate mosquito nets and home water purification units to those who otherwise can’t afford them
  • Families of dying patients have transportation to the hospice; the costs of caskets and burial are donated
  • Hundreds of villagers have received eye exams, glasses, and surgeries at reduced cost; thanks to donations from U.S. professional groups; a nonprofit eye care facility in the capital city has thousands of eyeglasses


Building Homes

In this community it is common to see houses made of cardboard, tin, and plastic tarps… the efforts of Epilogos have:

  • More than 100 cement block houses have been constructed for the “working poor” who can manage minimal monthly payments
  • 24 prefabricated cement houses, complete with double compost latrines, have been erected for people who own their land but have incomes less than $800 per year


Water, Energy & Environment

It is common in rural parts of El Salvador for families to bathe and wash their clothing in contaminated rivers that also serve as toilets for cows, horses, and people. Streets are strewn with trash because there aren’t many trash receptacles in the entire village. Many parts of the village has no electricity or running water. Today:

  • Five communities have environmentally friendly public wash stations.
  • A solar system provides light before sunrise and after sunset for the new steps that go down to the wash stations.
  • More than 300 families have household water purification filters for cooking and drinking.
  • Most households and some schools in the village center now have recycling bins.
  • The streets are much cleaner.
  • An entire water delivery and purification system has been installed in an area with no electricity, an incredible effort by the community whose pride and dignity have been enhanced by their volunteer labor and funding.
  • Many families who had no electricity now have solar energy in their homes and community centers.

Work Training Skills

Epilogos works to help members of this community become self sufficient by providing a new skills they can use daily. Examples include:

  • A small business cooperative is making a profit from harvesting shrimp and tilapia and selling seafood dinners in a rural restaurant. Training and ongoing support continues in collaboration with local agencies.
  • Several women work in local bakeries after receiving training and three years of on-the-job experience. Others who also received training have a contract to provide healthy lunches and snacks to the local high school students.
  • Volunteers from the U.S. have worked with local carpenters, teaching them new skills and techniques. They also donated tools for future training workshops.
  • Seamstresses have trained women to measure, cut, and sew clothing on donated sewing machines.
  • Volunteers have taught women to embroider flour sacks and create angels, flowers, and wreaths from paper and corn husks. These industries bring in extra funds to help cover family expenses.
  • Several of the women use the income to make monthly payments on their houses, built through Habitat for Humanity.


Bulletin Board in Hyde Hall

The Languages & Linguistics department here at Plymouth State University gives students the opportunity to access a portal of global awareness by promoting understanding, acceptance and diversity.  Students have unique options to expand their knowledge in this global setting. Some of the programs offered include a major or minor in French and Spanish; minors in Applied Linguistics; and language course offerings in American Sign Language.

The Spanish language is spoken by more than 350 million people worldwide, in the United States alone there are 45 million people speaking Spanish as a first or second language. At Plymouth State University, students enrolled in Spanish will learn language development skills, Latin-American culture, politics, history, art, music, and literature. The Spanish language is a key tool in today’s society, and is a note worthy quality to have in the hunt for a job. With a Spanish degree a student may pursue a profession in education, research, translation, interpretation, diplomacy, banking, public health, media studies, and business.


Not interested in a Spanish major but still want to learn Spanish? No worries a Spanish minor is as easy as 17 credits!



While at Plymouth State University, students are encouraged to study abroad. For Spanish speaking students there are opportunities for a direct exchange program with the Universidad Austral, where you can study abroad in Valdivia, Chile for the same price as PSU tuition and keep your financial aid package! There are also have numerous study abroad opportunities in several Spanish-speaking countries, such as Spain, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Costa Rica.


Don’t have time to major, minor, or study abroad? Have no fear the PSU Spanish Club is here!If you love conversing in Spanish, learning about cultures other than your own, field trips, yummy food and meeting new friends then join Spanish club here at Plymouth State University! The club meets every Thursday in Hyde 231 at 5pm.





Take a look at what I’m doing this summer!!
As a Global Health major I chose to minor in Spanish to create a diverse area of expertise in the Healthcare field all around the world. The Spanish classes here at Plymouth State are accelerated but a method to improve this discipline
is to immerse yourself in the Spanish culture, what better way than to study in Argentina for four weeks! In addition students are placed with a host family with whom you will learn their everyday life-style and traditions.



Questions? Contact:

Department of Languages & Linguistics:
Hyde Hall
Room 222
Phone: 603-535-2304
(Lisa Herder, Administrative Assistant)
Fax: 603-535-2780




Global Health

As an aspiring Global Health major I have been eager to research, educate myself, and establish a program of study integrating the concepts of illness, wellness, and healing among people in todays society. I will be able to demonstrate this through study of different societies and cultures, specifically on the health conditions of those people. The main goal of a global health professional is to work to implement programs that protect the health of individuals, families and communities in the United States and abroad, while simultaneously educating communities. Global Health addresses the well-being of people, ranging from high to low income countries and developing countries. The concerns within them include infectious disease as well as chronic and non-infectious diseases, age-related illnesses, and disaster relief conditions. In addition to more common health conditions, Global Health works with mental illness, trauma, violence, war and displacement. Another key focus in global health is the organization, financing and management of health service systems. Global Health experts help developing countries to establish and implement effective and efficient health care programs.

In addition to being a Global Health major, I am an avid member of a charity known as Epilogos. As an organization, we improve the health, education and natural resources of El Salvador, a country that has fought against the harsh conditions of economic poverty. I have been a volunteer at this organization for four years and it has given me a new outlook toward how we must see health in a global aspect. I created this major to explore the history and present day issues of health in the United States as well as in other countries, specifically those still in stages of development. Is there a common theme for health conditions among third world countries? I chose to create a Global Health program because of the poor health conditions I have witnessed during my mission work. Originally, I came to Plymouth State University to become a nurse, but lost myself along the way. It didn’t feel like I was living up to my full potential as a student, but I am still dead set on working in the health care field and helping others. It wasn’t until entering Interdisciplinary Studies that I regained my confidence as a student. It was the first time that I felt a sense of passion when choosing my classes, taking extreme pride when I receiving back an exam or research paper I had beat myself over. This is the first time I feel as if I am beginning a journey toward an exciting future.

For the Global Health major, I have strategically chosen eighteen different courses, ranging from the departments of biology, health and human performance, and social science. The collaboration of these courses has molded my contract into a Global Health career path. Prior to reading my course work, it is important to know that, although it is not listed on my course contract, I am currently in the process of completing a Spanish Linguistics minor. This is key to my career path in Global Health because I will be spending a great deal of time in Spanish- speaking countries. It is an important tool to have when working in a health care setting when working with people who do not understand english. Starting with the Health and Human Performance classes, Principles of Health is a course that lays out the foundation for health. It teaches students how to analyze all aspects of health and implements different models of health promotion in order improve one’s daily living. This is important because it teaches students, when working with clients, to help resolve underlying issues to one’s unhealthy habits. Health Promotion Planning and Evaluation is a segway from Principles of Health. At a higher level, students learn how to create promotion/education programs for communities, requiring extra hours outside of class constructing a solid plan incorporating organization skills, marketing, data analysis, and continuous documentation. This is important because, in order to work toward conquering issues world-wide you must start small, targeting communities and building a stronger basis as time moves forward. Applied Nutrition for Healthy Living addresses the main components of nutrition in which are important to an individual’s everyday living. It focuses on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle or the consequences of improper nutrition. A person may be struggling with sickness based on the food he or she eats but continues simply because her or she is unaware. This course teaches people the importance of properly fueling your body in order to avoid sickness. Lastly for the grouping of Health and Human Performance, is Women’s Health Issues, this course is designed similar to most health classes because it is about is keeping a balanced mental and social wellbeing, but it also branches off into the specifics of women’s health. This includes sexual abuse, reproductive health, eat disorders, and drug addiction. Women’s health is popular due to maternal and child health being a high priority for global health professionals. In the developing world, there is a significant lack of access to good prenatal and obstetric care, resources for treatable childhood illnesses, such as diarrhea and respiratory infections. In addition, scarce access to education on safe sex practices in regards to family planning. Next in the Biology department, Human Anatomy & Physiology (lecture and lab, 1&2) teaches you the basic framework and function of the human body. Getting a hands on experience on how our body’s vital organs and designated systems work is important for health care workers to understand the basic human anatomy. Each function is a new step in the developmental stages of the body, teaching the mishaps that go wrong as our bodies grow and adapt to the environment. Genetics for Nurses is course that has made progress in the way healthcare professionals approach patients. Understanding the role of genetics has modernized the treatment of disease, by analyzing one’s genetics health care professionals can help diagnose a problem prior to one’s knowledge of the problem becoming present. This is key in the prevention of unhealthy living and promotes a safer way to screen a person for a potential setback they are able to meet head on. The last course in my contract related to biology is Microbiology for Nurses. This focuses on the importance of microorganisms and their effects on disease, but also their use to create solutions. Students are taught the importance on the spread of disease and how common this is throughout one’s daily living. As for the courses in the social science department, I’ll start with Illness, Wellness, and Healing because it parallels with the biology classes. This course takes an in-depth look at different societies and compares their concepts of illness, wellness, and healing alongside other cultures, essentially researching common themes that may be an underlying problem globally. This course also compares and contrasts the presence of disease from past historical events to modern day times. In order to analyze certain societies and cultures, the course Foundations of Sociology is an important framework to learn the basics when researching topics of race, gender, religion, politics, and social class. Similarly, the course Cultural Anthropology focuses globally on the study of humans and their culture. Within this study, linguistics, culture, physical appearance and archaeology are underlying themes. because it focuses on the nature of language, how it is used in certain situations, when it is used in and out of context as well as how a language has developed over time. What is key to this course is understanding how a language may shape a society or individual. As a health professional you must be able to adapt and accommodate those who speak a different language and practice a different culture. An important course to take in order to better one’s understanding of this is Cultural Diverity and America. The concepts of race, ethnicity, social class, gender, religion and sexual orientation are studied deeply, and the challenges/conflicts that have arose from them overtime.
In order to immerse yourself in another’s culture, you must be able to analyze their personality through the developmental process. By taking Life-Span Development Psychology, you are able to assess individuals physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Lastly to conclude my course contract are two classes in which students learn how to implement forms of public policy. In American Foreign Policy, you learn the importance of the relationships between the U.S and other countries regarding domestic politics and foreign politics. This is important in global health because the U.S is a prime contributor in distributing aid to other countries near and far. In Public Policy Analysis (WRCO), knowledge is obtained through the public policy process. Through this process, students learn how problems are defined, agendas are formed and how to evaluate the process of a policy.


Global Health is considered interdisciplinary because it involves knowledge from an array of field studies. The collaboration of course work from health & human performance, biology, social science, as well as political science work in tandem to mold the framework of Global Health. In addition, my program is considered interdisciplinary because of my Spanish minor. This gives me the freedom to travel and work with individuals in different countries but also work here in the United States due to the fact that the Spanish language is largely prominent. This program will prepare me for my future because it will teach me the skills to qualify for a job in the health care field which is always in demand and importantly without this major I would not be able to purse a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Ultimately, with this degree, I hope to work for a non-governmental agency, specifically disaster relief or refugee organizations. Global Health will prepare me for an exciting journey I have always hoped for, exploring studies of health while helping and interacting with individuals along the way.

Interview Assignment With Dr. Sheryl Shirley

Dr. Sheryl Shirley, Professor in the Political Science departmnet at Plymouth State University

On February 14th 2017 I had the pleasure to sit with Dr. Sheryl Shirley and get an in depth look at her life and the development of her current career path over the years. When I opened up the interview with a rather common interview question I got a bold answer in which I knew the remainder of time spent conversing would not be a disappointment. “What is your full name?” I asked, “Sheryl Lynn Shirley, I wanted to keep my maiden name due to my career, I didn’t want to start my whole reputation over again, you could say I am a feminist, I didn’t see value in taking someone else’s name and giving up my own identity”. I smiled as she said it, it is important to have people especially today, that have a strong attitude toward building a name for themselves and standing strong. During the year of 1961 Sheryl Shirley was born in Inglewood, California and grew up in Glendora, California with her younger brother, sister, and parents all of whom still reside in the southern California area. I became jealous as I asked Sheryl about her experiences with travel in the past; Guatemala, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Paris, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, and South Africa. After asking which place she found most interesting, she said “all were interesting to me, but I think spending a bit of time in a place to experience the people and their culture is what makes it so valuable. I have done extensive research in Guatemala, mainly focusing on human rights and the role mega development projects and mining and how it has impacted the indigenous peoples”. Sheryl still has many friends she keeps in contact with whom she met during her trips conducting research, and hopes to return for the 30th anniversary of when it all began! We even got to talking about the Spanish immersion programs she participated and gave me information because she knows the passion I have for speaking Spanish. Prior to studying political science Dr. Shirley thought that she might pursue a career in law, but chuckled saying “I’m glad I didn’t go in that direction because I felt I would’ve been bored”. Obtaining her undergrad in political science at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, she went then went on to earn her PhD at the University of Austin. An important moment was when working with students at the University of Santa Barbra where she realized she had a strong interest in community and environment local politics. Working here at Plymouth State University Professor Shirley teaches Global Problems Power and Politics, Humanitarianism, American Foreign Policy, Latin American Politics, and Women in World Politics. But in addition she continues with her research, currently she is working on CEDAW: Compliance and Contestation in Latin America. According to her own personal research journal abstract she has posted, “this study examines the roles of Latin American states in the development of CEDAW, the international treaty on women’s rights. By then reviewing reports on Peruvian and Chilean compliance with CEDAW, the study begins to assess whether the international women’s convention has relevance for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and practitioners who seek to promote women’s rights”. This was so awesome to hear about because it helps give me an idea of how to work in my human rights aspect I wish to have in my major, and there is nothing better than having an advisor who is extremely involved in these types of research that help give guidance. This segways into the important question of do you do any interdisciplinary work? Sheryl answered with “I do research and collaboration on issues with human rights and trafficking. But also work with students like yourself in the interdisciplinary program to help find a career path and self design major”. Sheryl has been an avid support system for me since my freshman year in her Global Problems Power and Politics class, giving me guidance to find my place here at Plymouth State. Her personal goals she wishes to accomplish is to work for change in improving basic human rights, the right to be treated fairly and not to be discriminated against. The biggest change she wishes to see here at the university is having students find the help they need to feel comfortable speaking out and having a voice, in addition have students understand structures of power and how to impact the issues they care about. To close this interview, I asked Dr. Shirley “what inspires you”. She answered “my students. My students who go on to do amazing things. Many of them have gone on to work as human rights activists in both U.S organizations and international”. I think myself and many who have come in contact with Professor Shirley over time can agree that without her help and guidance, the amazing things they do would not have happened without the foundations of her help, and with that on behalf of many I am happy to say we are grateful to have her as part of the Plymouth State University staff.