case western reserve university



Case experiential fellows in arts and sciences span the globe

Undergraduates from Case Western Reserve University’s College of Arts and Sciences will span the globe this spring and summer to undertake special research projects in their majors and minors.

Their travels are made possible through Arts and Sciences’ Experiential Learning Fellowships, which encourage student research projects in the humanities, arts and social sciences. Each semester the college offers several awards that average approximately $5,000 each.

Receiving the honor are third-year students Tarron Amin and Robert Arons, economics majors; Andrew Karnavas, English; Elizabeth Kiracofe, psychology; Katie Steiner, art history; and Katherine Voss, Spanish and international studies.

Economics of China

Amin will take a first-hand look at the Chinese economy when he travels to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for the summer program, “China: Emerging Economics Structures,” conducted by the business faculty at Chinese University and Northwestern University.

He will take three courses—China’s Political Economy, Modern China and Language Training in Chinese—that will introduce him to recent political and economic changes in China and the effect of these changes on China’s role in the global marketplace, Amin said. He also will hear from guest lecturers from businesses like Nike, Pepsi Co. and Crown Motors and will have the opportunity to visit local businesses.

His interest in the Chinese economy was heightened during the summer of 2003. Organic chemistry lectures and lab work sent him on many trips to the library, where Amin read a chemical journal article about how China will become the largest producer and supplier of pharmaceutical intermediaries.

“Since that day in June, I have been researching the expansion of the Chinese marketplace and how the continued development of the Chinese economy will revolutionize world markets,” states Amin.

U.S. Minimum Wages

Arons will undertake the research project, “Effects of Minimum Wage Laws on Low Income Workers” with his fellowship.

He says that he plans “to investigate the relationship between minimum wage laws, low-wage employment levels and employee turnover rates in low-wage jobs.”

Arons will use San Francisco as his “natural experiment.” The city recently raised its minimum wage to $8.50 per hour. He said he does not foresee the national government “altering” wages, but other cities may follow San Francisco’s example and institute their own increases. Cities nearby to San Francisco that have not adopted a new minimum wage will become the control group for his study.

“These changes could have important effects on the welfare of low-wage workers,” stated Arons.

The Experiential Learning Fellowship will enable Arons to attend a conference and purchase the statistical software package to analyze the data he collects from such sources as California’s unemployment insurance program and the Current Population Survey.

Italian Filmmaking

While spending five months in Milan, Italy, in an Italian studies program through the Institute for the International Education of Students, Karnavas plans to create an in-depth booklet and documentary about Italian filmmaking and donate his finished project to the Kelvin Smith Library for other Case students to view and use in their research.

Karnavas will record interviews with individuals in casting production, editing and post-production marketing divisions at Cinecittá, a major film studio in Rome. He will also include material from filmmakers at studios in Milan and other Italian cities.

He plans to attend a number of film festivals and talk to Fabrizio Ferrari, the director and feature film consultant of the Roma Independent Film Festival.

“I am interested in how and why a theme is chosen for a festival each year, how submitted films are selected and judged and who selects them and how each festival is marketed nationally,” states Karnavas.

He adds that “this research opportunity ties all aspects of my studies related to Italian and film into a single, powerful learning experience” that enables him to gain command of the language and to enjoy first-hand interaction with the Italian culture.

The Health of Bolivia’s Children

Kiracofe will combine her interests in medicine and early childhood studies when she travels to La Paz, Bolivia, to volunteer through Child Family Health International, which offers students the opportunity to learn about healthcare policy in a number of different countries.

The Case pre-med student will volunteer in pediatric health clinics, where Kiracofe says she will work in a medical setting helping a number of disadvantaged children, as well as having the on-site opportunity to analyze the similarities and differences of how the country’s healthcare system is functioning in comparison to that in the United States.

Kiracofe, who has aspirations to be a pediatrician or pediatric psychiatrist, plans to keep a journal about the health of the children in La Paz and compare it to children she encounters during her volunteer work at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, the Cleveland Municipal School District and the Church of the Covenant Preschool.

When she returns to campus in the fall, Kiracofe intends to share her experience with other Case students enrolled in an urban health course.

Art in Germany

Steiner will begin her Experiential Learning Fellowship immersed in German as a participant in Case’s Munich Experience, a program run by the department of modern languages and literatures. the program will allow her to hone her German—an important skill for an art historian, she says. During her Munich stay she will spend three weeks with a German family and participate in classes about the language and culture that include visits to museums and discussions about the art and architecture of the city.

The art history major will continue to explore the wealth of art found in and around Munich during her free time.

“Germany, in particular, with its strong tradition of art historical scholarship, has been one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of our understanding of the world’s material culture,” said Steiner.

Following her Munich immersion, she will conduct an independent research project in Colmar in the Alsace region of France. Colmar is a city near the German border and home to the Unterlinden Museum, which houses the famous Isenheim Altarpiece and engravings by Martin Schongauer. The city also has a large collection of important manuscripts that she hopes to draw from in an investigation of “the influence of religious drama on Renaissance prints, manuscripts and paintings.”

Foreign studies in Spain

Hola, Espana!!! A Case Spanish major, Voss will put her years of Spanish classes to work when she immerses herself in spring semester studies at the University of Seville through the Council on International Educational Exchanges (CIEE). She will be expected to keep up with the native Spaniards in three university courses, where both the discussions and course work are all strictly conducted in Spanish. During her stay, she will also have an intercambio partner, a peer from the university to help her converse in Spanish.

To ease into the new cultural environment and in advance of the classes at the university, Voss will spend three weeks in a CIEE class—an intensive course on Spanish grammar, business or history.

While in Seville, Voss plans to explore the countryside of Andalusia and its rich Spanish history, giving special attention to the influence of Muslims and Jews.

To further enrich her experience, she plans to volunteer with a local social, political or religious organization or tutor Spanish children. She also will attend a number of planned workshops that provide an opportunity to reflect upon the culture of Seville and compare it to that of America.

The College of Arts and Sciences funds a wide range of experiential learning projects to enable students to attend conferences, travel abroad and complement course work associated with their majors. Students with majors in anthropology, art history and art, classics, English, economics, history, modern languages and literatures, music, philosophy, political sciences, psychology, religion, sociology and theater and dance can apply for this support.


About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work.