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Iceland expedition

Alissa Widman Neese • Aug 17, 2014 at 5:50 AM


It's likely difficult for aspiring photographers to cultivate their skills in the confines of a college classroom.

So when BGSU Firelands student Dominic Sberna learned he could journey to picturesque Iceland and earn college credits, the decision was a no-brainer.

"I couldn't pass it up," Sberna said. "I thought, 'these are the photos I'll use in my photography portfolio until the day I die.'"

It appears the trip met his expectations.

In fact, some could argue the vivid images of sprawling landscapes his class provided the Register are fit for mass-produced postcards.

Dan Kelley, an assistant professor of geology at BGSU Firelands, coordinated the study abroad program, making Sberna's journey possible.

From Aug. 4 to 14, three BGSU Firelands students, one alumna and four students from Bowling Green State University main campus voyaged across the entire Icelandic coast, studying its geological formations.

Kelley is the first BGSU Firelands faculty member to organize an excursion through the education abroad office at main campus.

The trip is also historic because it is one of the few opportunities for introductory-level students at BGSU Firelands to study abroad.

"We don't have upper level geology majors (at BGSU Firelands), so we had to create a new course to allow our undergraduates to have this field experience," Kelley said. "It's not just for students who are pursuing a career in geology."

For example, Sberna, of Bellevue, is in his final year as a visual communication technology major.

Kaitlyn Davis, of Berlin Heights, graduated from the same program this past year and participated in the trip as a guest student.

"If I didn't do it now, I'd probably never get an opportunity to do something like this again," Davis said.

While in Iceland, students studied geysers, glaciers, volcanoes and more.

They also soaked up some Icelandic culture, observed wildlife and visited traditional tourist sites.

Pearson, a renowned education company, plans to highlight the students and their journey in one of the "virtual field trips" featured on its website.

The highly publicized trip may be Kelley's first with BGSU Firelands students, but it likely won't be his last, he said. 

"A lot of students still view this as something they can't do, because it's too big or too crazy," Kelley said. "I hope these brave students, our poster children, will help us show them that studying abroad is possible, and it's a wonderful opportunity they shouldn't pass up."

Joshua Kaman, of Sandusky, and Nicole Adams, of Huron, were the other two BGSU Firelands students who traveled to Iceland.

Want to learn more?

For more information about study abroad programs through BGSU Firelands and Bowling Green State University, call 419-372-0479, email edabroad@bgsu.edu or visit the education abroad website.

Click HERE to visit the BGSU Firelands Geology page on Facebook.

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