Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Two OU-C education students extend their horizons through international teaching experiences

Megan Patterson
Sharles Thompson

Two Ohio University-Chillicothe early education students will expand their horizons, both literally and figuratively, by teaching in international classrooms this fall. Megan Patterson and Sharles Thompson are both participating in the Ohio University-sponsored Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) program, which offers teacher candidates the opportunity to live and student-teach abroad in English-speaking classrooms for a semester.

Patterson will be teaching in Costa Rica, while Thompson will pursue her international experience in the Netherlands.


Patterson has been intrigued by others’ culturally-expanding experiences and decided to experience diversity for herself. A Southeastern High School graduate, she will be teaching kindergarten students at Country Day School in Escazu, Costa Rica.

“A lot of things led up to this. My mom does medical mission work and has traveled to central and southern America.  Also, Dr. (Mary Barbara) Trube does a lot of work in China and talks about it often in class, and other teachers have emphasized the importance of diversity. From all of this, I became interested in opportunities to become immersed in another culture, and the only way to do it is to teach globally.”

Patterson looks to grow, both personally and professionally, from this experience.

“Being immersed in another culture makes the whole concept of diversity real and gets me beyond just thinking about other cultures but allows me to indulge in it,” she said. “Also, I hope it sets me apart from others in the job search. I want to stand out when interviewing for jobs. And, once I have my own classroom, it should help me to teach from a global perspective.”

Her Costa Rican experience offers a variety of cultures in itself.

“From what I have researched, it will be a mixture between different types of living conditions,” Patterson said. “Where I am staying is only eight miles from the capital of San Jose, so the luxuries of Walmart and Starbucks are just a little way away. There are also vendors in small markets selling their goods as well as local fruits and vegetables.”

For Patterson, the timing is right for this type of adventure.

“Although I have family here, I do not have anything tying me down, so I want to take advantage of that. I hope this opens up opportunities to travel again in the future.”

OU-C’s education faculty members have been helpful.

“Dr. Trube really encouraged me to try this, as did Dr. (Jamie) Harmount. Both have been very supportive and have always been there to help out.”


A great deal of serendipity paved Thompson’s upcoming path to the Netherlands. On her first day as a waitress at Lake Hope State Park’s lodge, Frans Doppen, the COST program coordinator, was one of her patrons.

“When he found I was an OU-C student, we got to talking about college and careers, and he said I should check out the COST program,” said Thompson, a Vinton County High School graduate. “I kept thinking about it, a couple of years went by, doors kept opening, and here I am.”

As a result of Thompson’s interest and those opening doors of opportunity, she will be teaching at the De Klinker school in Oud-Bijerland, the Netherlands, this fall.

“I have always wanted to do something like this, but I never imagined myself, being from Vinton County, would have this opportunity and it would all begin with serving tables,” she said.

Thompson looks for this experience to give her a new perspective that will benefit her throughout her teaching career by helping her to better connect with students and understand their viewpoints.

“If I can survive in that environment with the language and customs barriers I will face, what child is there I cannot reach?” she said. “Even if I teach in Ohio, there will always be students in the classroom who speak another language, who are from another country or face a similar barrier. If I can get under the surface and see how they learn, that will be my ultimate goal.”

“I feel I will be the one learning although I will be teaching the kids,” Thompson said.

To prepare for the trip, she has been learning the basics of the Dutch language as well as keeping up on current events in Holland. She plans to get the most out of this opportunity.

“I look to visit other countries while in Europe. I want to experience other lifestyles and customs. These are things I can take with me into the classroom wherever I wind up teaching.”


The two globe-trotting future teachers are bound to reap benefits that will extend beyond this fall’s adventures.

“Participating in the COST program will have lifetime benefits for Megan and Sharles,” Trube, professor of education, said  “Their personal, intercultural, academic, and professional experiences will be enhanced and enriched as a result of completing their professional internships (student teaching) abroad. They will have opportunities to increase their understanding of their own cultural values and biases as they learn about the culture of individuals in another country. Sharles and Megan have strong interpersonal skills and I predict both future teachers will be able to make life-long friends as a result of their semester in COST.”

Assistant Professor of Education Jamie Harmount said, “These types of experiences allow the students to bring personal experiences from another country into the classroom and to forge relationships with educators from another country. They also offer the future teachers to view diversity from another perspective and to gain a global view of education they can bring back and share with other educators.”

OU-C student speaks on body-positive movement at recent conference in San Francisco

By student public relations writer Madison Corbin

This past April, Ohio University-Chillicothe student Samantha Newman spoke at the Youth + Tech + Health Live Sessions in San Francisco, Calif.  The YTH Sessions invites entrepreneurs, innovators and social leaders to convene and consider some of the most prevalent topics in modern society.  Newman’s presence was requested on a panel that discussed online harassment, the effect it can have upon its victims and the positive action that can be taken to prevent damaging consequences.  

Newman is a dedicated activist in the fight against body-shaming.  She maintains a strong online presence, encouraging body-positive proactivity and respect for bodies of all shapes and sizes.  Following controversy over an Instagram photo during the summer of 2014, about which more information is available here, Newman has been awarded the public attention and social platforms necessary to promote her self-respect-centered message. 

“My overall experience was incredible,” said Newman. “Being surrounded by people who were as motivated to change the world as I am was an incredibly inspiring and moving experience.”
Newman was welcomed warmly to California, her insight into overcoming online harassment highly sought from audiences.  After speaking with fellow panelists whose work she admired and having the opportunity to provide input from her own experiences, Newman began to fully understand her impact.   

“To be able to feel like I was doing something right . . . like every choice and decision I had made to stand up for myself and speak out had lead me here . . . I knew I did the right thing.”
Newman works avidly to offer encouragement to her peers by participating in student organizations and by living a proud example.  She hopes to one day weave the specific lessons she has learned into influential curriculum, as a professor.  Her primary goal is to inspire those around her to love themselves and invite happiness into their everyday lives. 

“When you experience things like online harassment the way that I did, you wonder if you should have just left things unsaid. You feel afraid and alone,” said Newman.  The conference ignited a different emotion in her.  “I felt like no one could stop me from spreading my message and speaking my mind, and that was so empowering . . . I am so grateful.”

More information about the YTH Sessions can be found at

Leanna Ater named records management specialist at OU-C

Leanna Ater has been named records management specialist in financial aid at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

A resident of Chillicothe, she has been a registrar/office assistant at Adena Regional Medical Center since 2013. She was previously an administrative assistant at Westmoreland Place and a clerk specialist with the Southern Ohio Women’s Cancer Department of the Ross County Health District. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member in the office technology program at OU-C.

A former OU-C student, Ater earned an associate degree in office technology and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Ohio University while taking classes on the Chillicothe Campus. She earned the outstanding graduate award in her associate degree program and was employed as a student assistant during her undergraduate career. Ater is currently pursuing a master’s degree in higher education from Ohio University.

Ater has co-authored an article in a professional publication and has co-presented at conferences.

Hilltop Café temporarily closed

The Hilltop Café in the Stevenson Center will be temporarily closed and is scheduled to reopen June 11.