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Two students were selected from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) for a study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic as part of the Oklahoma Study Abroad Project (OSAP). Students Canyon Dewey and Brittnie Tipton will leave May 13 and return May 21. History instructor Dr. David Loving will accompany the two students on the trip. NEO President’s Partners is the primary sponsor and is helping the students and faculty with much of the travel costs. “The ongoing private support provided through President’s Partners continues to provide NEO students and faculty with opportunities that would not normally be available,” said NEO President Dr. Jeff Hale. “We are grateful for their support and excited that NEO students and faculty will experience a study abroad program this summer.”

Brittnie Tipton hails from Vinita, Oklahoma. Tipton is a second-year nursing student and will be traveling to El Castillo to study abroad. “I will benefit from this opportunity, and I am so grateful to have been selected,” Tipton said. “As a nursing student, I will have an opportunity to share healthcare information while learning the culture.”

Canyon Dewey is from Lavaca, Arkansas and is majoring in agriculture business. Dewey was a member of the livestock judging team, agriculture ambassador and recently named Outstanding Agriculture Graduate. “Traveling and studying abroad is a great way to experience new cultures and traditions while broadening my knowledge of the world,” Dewey said. After NEO Dewey will transfer to the University of Arkansas where he will complete his bachelor’s degree in agriculture business.

Oklahoma Study Abroad Project The member institutions of the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (OACC) are partnering together to offer and administer a service-learning based study abroad experience for a group of Oklahoma community college students who, without this program, would otherwise not have such an opportunity. Eleven community colleges across the state of Oklahoma are planning a trip to the Dominican Republic as a part of a new statewide initiative to encourage service learning abroad. Each community college has selected two students via their own defined selection process. In addition, each institution is providing funding assistance for the students. Faculty from Murray State, Connors, and NEO are leading the trip. The travel provider is EF College Study Tours.

Upon return from the Dominican Republic, students will engage in a local community service project – in essence, giving back to local Oklahoma communities. The OACC Service Learning & Leadership Development program Steering Committee & EF College Study Tours share the belief that this “program” is a sustainable approach through service learning programming that instills the humanitarian values that encourage a lifetime of service.  By working directly with communities in the Dominican Republic, this program will develop students’ cultural empathy and awareness through firsthand engagement in generational poverty, equality, public health and sustainability.

By partnering in meaningful and sustainable serve learning projects “in the world,” students are able to make a positive impact in local communities – and gain critical thinking and leadership skills necessary to becoming global citizens. In the end, they return home with a newfound understanding of collaboration, the motivation to make a difference and the tools to implement change in their own communities. For more information, please contact Katie Dewey at 918-540-6211. Back row, from left: Dr. Bethene Fahnestock, vice president for academic affairs and President’s Partner; and Jennifer Hessee, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation Front row, from left: Canyon Dewey, Brittnie Tipton and Dr. David Loving, OSAP sponsor

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