Alice Fonfa, Staff Writer
Athena Tse is a senior and Criminal Justice major here at SUNY Oneonta. Originally from Hong Kong, she is a world traveler. She has lived in the United States for the past five years but that definitely does not mean that she has confined herself to New York. This summer she took a ballet class in Washington D.C. and later spent a month and a half traveling Europe on her own. She went from country to country: Italy, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland, saying that by living with the locals she “really got a taste of every new place.” Tse says that it was a tough experience but she loved seeing how different everyone in Europe was, no matter how close the countries were geographically. The most memorable event for Tse was when she was able to run through the fields of the Alps. “It felt absolutely freeing,” Tse says. In fact, she felt rather like Heidi, the title character from the 1880 children’s book of the same name, one of the best-known pieces of Swiss literature. Apparently she looked like Heidi too, because a resident encountered her and thought the similarity was remarkable enough to take Tse’s picture and let her run around with his dog as in the book. Overall, Tse has discovered a lot about all of these different cultures and was able to sate her need for adventure over the summer.
Alex Soroka had one of the most exciting and productive summers imaginable. Soroka is a senior in the Environmental Science major whose passion for the sciences is impressive. This summer he worked at Hubbard Brook, an outdoor laboratory for ecological studies located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Soroka worked under hydrologist Mark Green, studying the isotopes of water and analyzing how ground water interacts with surface water at a low flow. He would go out for eight hours, collecting water samples and hiking four to eight miles every day. It was hard and calculated work but Soroka loved it. Because there were no trails along the river, he would have to determine his path by compass and bushwhack to get through. It was the meeting of the minds that Alex appreciated most about his summer experience; after the hard work of the day was over he could get together and relax with the some of the most influential minds in the field. According to him “it was intimidating but amazing to find that they are just people like you and me.” Alex Soroka definitely loved his summer. After all, not all of us get the chance to encounter a bear on our way home from the office.
Christina Michela, a senior from the Anthropology department, had what she considers the “perfect summer.” She spent two months living, eating, singing and learning with locals in different parts of Thailand. For the first five weeks Michela did research for an ethnographic field school on the identity of the local culture. After these classes Michela backpacked through the country meeting those she describes as happy and friendly locals. She considers Thailand to be one of the most beautiful and accepting places she’s ever been. Her most memorable experience was the jungle trek. For three days she walked through the jungle with her guide and stayed with different hill tribes. She listened to their folk music, played the guitar and sang western songs with the villagers. Michela says she found it “remarkable that the locals were able to integrate western culture in to their own without losing their traditions.” Then, she did something else that we all want to do: she rode an elephant. You don’t normally forget a summer where you ride an elephant through a jungle.
Joe Amoroso is a recent graduate of Oneonta with a degree in Philosophy. Amoroso spent his summer working at Bear Mountain State Park, which lies on the west side of the Hudson River in Orange and Rockland counties. Amoroso worked on the grounds crew and was able to spend his entire summer outside working, camping and bouldering. In addition to that, he recorded music and took out some time to visit us here in Oneonta. Overall it was a busy but enjoyable summer and he is now “just enjoying life before the real adventure starts.” Few people know exactly what they are going to do when they graduate but Amoroso’s idea is a good example of somewhere to start.