The Presidential Scholars will travel to Lithuania and Poland Jan. 5-14. The Scholars will visit those countries in connection with this year’s Common Reader, Between Shades of Gray. The book’s author, Ruta Sepetys, is the daughter of a Lithuanian refugee, and the novel focuses on the plight of Lithuanians during World War II. Lesley Ingham, an Honors Program coordinator and Presidential Scholars leader, said she is excited about this year’s trip. “The book is beautifully written, and I am excited to be taking this trip,” she said. Ingham said the Scholars will be busy on the trip. They will do a two-day learning service, volunteer at a soup kitchen, participate in a simulation of a Soviet prison camp, and visit salt mines in Krakow, the Fryderyk Chopin museum in Warsaw and the Auschwitz concentration camp. The Scholars are campus leaders and top honors students. The program encourages world travel, appreciation of different cultures, learning service development and leadership development. Members work with charities such as Habitat for Humanity and try to encourage cultural experiences and art appreciation.
AC also will sponsor a trip to London and Paris during spring break 2016 that is open to all students. “I am hoping that it will be a good trip, but with everything that has happened over there, I am not really sure how it is going to go,” Ingham said. “However, I know that we can help out in some way.” The Presidential Scholars program is open to incoming freshmen who were in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. “It’s an amazing opportunity to branch out, encourage world travel, appreciate different cultures, learn service development and become a top leader,” Ingham said.