EF @ OU: An International Education Partnership

Exciting things are happening at Oglethorpe this year! In addition to the new scene shop and developing track and field and campus center, Oglethorpe just established a great partnership with Education First, or EF. As both an OU alum and an EF employee, I’m very excited to watch this partnership evolve! If you don’t know what EF is, we’re an international education company that aims to break down barriers of language, culture, and geography. We have more than 40 schools around the world, including sites in Boston, London, Rome, Paris, and Sydney, just to name a few.

Our site at Oglethorpe, referred to as EF Atlanta, is the newest EF school. Currently, our students come from a wide range of countries, such as France, Taiwan, Japan, and Colombia. Most students live on campus in the recently reopened Schmidt Residence Hall. Though our students live on campus and come abroad, they are different than the traditional OU international students. Unlike traditional international students, our students do not take OU classes; instead, they take English classes with our EF teachers. However, our students are almost identical to OU students in other ways: they eat in the cafeteria, pay activity and facility fees, and want to meet other students and make friendships while they are here.

In addition to occupying Schmidt, most of our classrooms and offices are located in the newly renovated lower level of Robinson Hall. If you haven’t checked out the new area, I highly encourage you to drop by! It’s incredible that a storage area can be transformed into such a beautiful spot in just a few short months!

Going forward, EF Atlanta aims to have 150-200 students, both on campus and with nearby host families. We also aspire to unite with existing groups on campus, so that EF and OU students can benefit from the combined resources and innovations of two amazing schools. Students can expect more co-planned activities with EF and OU, like our upcoming trip to Cirque du Soleil on October 26th. In the future, we hope to work with Oglethorpe’s study abroad program to offer a more comprehensive and diverse experience for OU students looking to learn another language while immersing themselves in another culture.

Current students can help us and OU out by showing our students the famous Oglethorpe hospitality, attending our many events, and introducing yourselves to our students! If you’re a local alum with an open room, you can help out by hosting one of our students.  I think that this partnership is amazing for Oglethorpe, and I hope that yOU want to be a part of it with me. (Even as an alum, I can hardly resist the urge to underline or capitalize every consecutive “OU” that I come across!)

For more information, contact Justin at 404-547-0419 or email justin.sabree@EF.com.

Oglethorpe Psych Students Excel at Research Conference

The annual Georgia Undergraduate Research in Psychology Conference was recently hosted by nearby Kennesaw State University. More than 110 students from nearly 20 universities presented either research posters or talks. Many were honor students from their respective universities—which this year included universities from surrounding states as well.

The Oglethorpe Psychology Department was represented by seven students who had their work accepted for the conference: Jahnavi Delmonico, Julia Fukuda, Cassie Hendrix, Allison Moore, Justin Sabree, Brittany Weiner and Janet Wood. They presented a mixture of research posters and talks based on the original data they had collected in their respective studies from the past year. In addition, all of them participated in a juried competition sponsored by the Georgia Psychological Association (GPA) for best research at the conference. Judges consisted of executive members of the GPA and professors of research methodology.

For the fourth year in a row, an Oglethorpe student earned first place! Specifically, Cassie Hendrix submitted a study she completed during her “Theories of Personality” course on the effects of anxiety on people’s ability to correctly interpret the emotions expressed in facial expressions. She presented her research in a 250-seat auditorium, where she led the audience through a Powerpoint presentation of her study, followed by a question and answer session. Cassie and I (as her faculty sponsor) received certificates of recognition and Cassie received a cash award. She joins previous GPA-sponsored conference winners Ilana Olin and Mary Beth Bidgood (2009), Alyx Buonanotte (2010), and Balbir Khalsa and Brittany Weiner (2011).

Participants had the opportunity to attend all the talks and poster sessions, as well as listen to a keynote address and attend a career/graduate school panel discussion. It was an excellent opportunity to meet students and professors from other schools and to learn from fellow excellent researchers.

All of the students gained valuable experience, practiced publicly presenting and defending their work, and had a good time spending the day with each other and the department faculty. Congratulations to all of you!

Editor’s Note: The Oglethorpe University Psychology Department routinely encourages its students to submit original research they have designed and conducted to professional research conferences. Our students typically attend several conferences during their undergraduate education. Submitting one’s work for peer review by experts in the field and then defending that work in a professional setting is wonderful training for graduate school, professional schools (e.g., medical and law) and many careers.