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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release


Five Northwest faculty members and five students visited Panama for a week of service learning. They are pictured here with staff at San Vincente de Paul Colon, a shelter for orphans.

Aug. 11, 2010

Faculty, students return to Panama for service learning initiative

MARYVILLE, Mo. - Five Northwest faculty members and five students visited Panama, July 28 through Aug. 6, for a week of service learning.

The faculty and students led a day-long workshop for regional teachers that addressed classroom management and learning styles. The profits from the workshop will further the work of the Pro-Ed Foundation to improve teacher skills in Panamanian classrooms.

The Pro-Ed Foundation, founded by Panamanian philanthropist Alex Psychoyos, is headed by Psychoyos' daughter, Debbie Psychoyos, who was Northwest's 2008 Ploghoft Lecturer and is currently an Ed.D. candidate in Northwest's cooperative doctorate program offered through the University of Missouri-Columbia.

This was the second consecutive year Northwest faculty and students visited Panama to work with the Pro-Ed foundation to support student service learning. A Northwest group visited Panama last July, and Panama teachers visited Northwest in February.

"Our growing friendship with the Pro-Ed Foundation has made a difference in our students' lives as they strive to understand culture and international relationships," said Carla Edwards, who chairs the department of psychology, sociology and counseling. "This relationship has blossomed into strong personal as well as professional relationships that will last a lifetime."

Added Ryan Wessell, assistant professor in the department of psychology, sociology and counseling, "Pro-Ed has made a difference to parents and teachers in Panama, and of course the exchange of ideas between Northwest and Pro-Ed has improved understanding about education."

During their recent visit, Northwest faculty and students also worked at Casa Esperanza Center, a shelter for children who live on Panama City streets, and with the parents of at-risk primary and secondary school children at Centro En Busca de un Manana. They led teacher training sessions for classroom management at Fe' y Alegria School and visited San Vincente de Paul Colon, a shelter for orphans.

The group also visited partners at UDELAS University and its satellite campus for training sessions led by students who are studying there to provide services to disabled and impoverished people in the region.

Along with Edwards and Wessell, other faculty participants were Dr. Roger Neustadter, from the department of psychology, sociology and counseling; Dr. Jan Glen, from the department of educational leadership; and Nissa Ingraham, from the department of curriculum and instruction. The student participants, all from the department of psychology, sociology and counseling were Michael Webster, of Nevada, Mo.; Kristen Stewart, of St. Joseph, Mo.; Curtis Rogers, of St. Joseph, Mo.; Jaclyn Strohm, of Maryville; and Camie Steinhoff, of Trenton.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468