IST students take cultural immersion trip to Washington, D.C.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — On March 23, students from the College of IST enjoyed an educational and cultural trip to Washington, D.C. The students toured the heartbreaking and inspiring National Museum of African American History and Culture, took in the beauty and fragrance of the abundant cherry blossoms and experienced an undercover mission at the International Spy Museum.  

The trip was sponsored by IST’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement. Three staff members accompanied 30 students from the Millennium Scholars Program, the Educational Equity Scholars Program and the 2024 Spring IST Diplomat Leadership Training cohort. 

“It is immensely valuable that students have the opportunity to bond with their peers while becoming culturally aware,” said Madhavi Kari, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the college. “Experiences beyond the classroom enable students to build community with not only their peers but also faculty and staff.” 

Kari explained that this sense of community and belonging helps boost retention efforts. 

“As students find comfort in their environment, they strive to do better and become more engaged,” she said.  

According to Kaitlin Ladlee, OIDE student services assistant, outings like this cultural immersion trip provide an opportunity for students to make connections, gain insights and take a step beyond their familiar environment. 

“Through visits to museums and exploration of the city, students are exposed to cultural contexts, historical consciousness and new perspectives,” Ladlee said. “We believe this exposure will help cultivate empathy and critical thinking abilities and deepen their comprehension of societal intricacies, thereby preparing the students to become more well-rounded people and professionals.” 

By Mary Fetzer 

Photo Credit: Jena Soult/Penn State