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Lehigh Carbon Community College

Tyler Gaines, pictured with Dr. Katrina Smith, participated in the Southern Sociological Society annual meeting in April.

Reinhardt University students took their knowledge to New Orleans last month to present at the Southern Sociological Society Annual Meeting.

Students Tyler Gaines and Nicolle Amaya were accompanied by faculty members Dr. Donald Gregory, Dr. Cheryl Brown and Dr. Katrina Smith.

Amaya presented on “The Impact of Travel on Monolingual People,” and Gaines spoke about his study abroad trip to Cuba last year. Both earned their bachelor’s degrees during Reinhardt’s 131st Commencement Ceremony May 4. Amaya graduated summa cum laude with degrees in social services, criminal justice and cultural diversity, and Gaines graduated cum laude with his degree in criminal justice.

“Being a student in the Social Sciences department includes having the opportunity to go on trips like this, where you get to study abroad, do research and then have a chance to present in a regional conference, in New Orleans, no less,” Amaya said. “Not many schools give you this one-on-one attention. I’m really lucky to have found Reinhardt.”

Gaines said it was an honor to be able to present his research, especially in an environment that helped him learn the pros and cons of presenting with a poster format.

“While I was in Cuba, I researched American perceptions of the nation before and after traveling to the nearby island. I wanted to discover if the U.S.’s history of rough political relations with Cuba affects modern-day American perceptions of the county,” Gaines said. “I found that Americans tend to leave Cuba with a significantly better perception of the country, its citizens and its culture.”

Dr. Brown and Dr. Smith gave a presentation on “Helping students overcome traveling in the time of Trump: Creating a safe place with interdisciplinary study abroad adventures.”

Funding for the trip was made possible by the National Alpha Kappa Delta office, which gave a total of $1,050 in travel grants for this excellent learning opportunity.

“Presenting original research at an academic regional conference is a privilege and affirmation of one’s achievement. Receiving funds from the national AKD office is a further indication of the success, dedication and accomplishments of these students and our faculty,” said associate professor of Sociology, Dr. Gregory. “We beamed with pride watching our students discuss their work. With memories of their journeys thus far and our dreams for their future.”