Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A beautiful journey

Students live, learn, explore in Bhutan

Bhutan is breathtaking and unforgettable, says James Elliott ’15, pictured above

Flying into Paro, Bhutan, you go through a blanket of clouds that slowly dissolves as mountains emerge, cradling the emerald lushness of a valley dotted with colorful buildings. Even before your feet touch the ground, Bhutan takes your breath away. And, once you are there, it starts working on your heart and mind, say students who have participated in Wheaton’s study abroad program in Bhutan.

Bhutan dancing

Devotees seek blessings from the enormous silk appliqué thondrol depicting Guru Rinpoche in his many incarnations, displayed at the conclusion of the masked dance festival (tsechu) held at Nyimalung Monastery in Bumthang, central Bhutan.

“When we first flew over Paro, I was utterly speechless, and almost in tears. It’s undoubtedly the most beautiful place I have ever been,” says James Elliott ’15, one of six students who spent the fall 2012 semester in Bhutan.

Months after the experience, with his feet firmly planted in Norton, Mass., Elliott’s mind is still there. “Seeing the happiness and contentment of Bhutanese citizens, who have a very simple lifestyle in such stark contrast to how most Americans are brought up, really has expanded my worldview and solidified my convictions about how I live my life,” he says.

“One man started a conversation with me while I was waiting on the street, and it ended with him offering me a job, a place in his home and food for the duration of time that I would work for him. Each time someone gave us a ride that was clearly out of their way and refused any compensation, or helped us find a destination across town by personally escorting us there, I thought to myself I would feel so proud to be a part of this culture.”

The psychology major now plans to seek an additional independent major in contemplative studies, saying the Bhutan experience intensified his interest in psychology and sparked a desire for a more holistic approach to his studies. “I want my education to be more than a means to a monetary end. I want it to benefit as many people as possible.”

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Family matters

Joseph Lee ’08 brings leading-edge science to infertility research

Joseph Lee ’08As Superstorm Sandy chased tens of thousands of New Yorkers from Lower Manhattan in October, Joseph Lee ’08 played a role in an altogether different human drama less than two miles from surging floodwaters.

At the Midtown offices of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York (RMA), where Lee is research project manager, live incubated embryos awaiting uterine implantation suddenly were at risk when much of the island lost power. So were the childbearing hopes of as many as 10 women scheduled for fertility treatments that had to be performed within a 48-hour window. In the end, the power held, even as stress levels spiked.

“There was a lot of confusion and nerves were high. The phones were ringing off the hook,” says Lee, who was unable to return to his Queens home because of the storm. “We tried to answer everyone’s questions, and we were on 24/7 alert to make sure everything was OK.”

There was good reason for vigilance. Sixty blocks south, NYU Fertility Center not only lost power, but its basement flooded and generators failed, forcing frenzied staff to safeguard embryos in liquid nitrogen. No embryos were lost at either center, and RMA of New York was able to provide transportation and lodging to patients with scheduled appointments.

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Education appreciation

Adrienne Wheeler Rudge ’63When Adrienne Wheeler Rudge ’63 arrived at Wheaton, she knew that she had landed in the right place.

Go Beyond, Campaign for Wheaton“I liked the small classes. I liked the relationships you could have with your teachers, most of whom I thought were top-notch,” said Rudge, an English major. “It was the only time I had gone to a single-sex school during my student career, and there was a nice comfort level there in speaking out in class.”

The value of the education proved itself after she graduated. “I felt very well prepared when I left college, and I enrolled in a master’s program at NYU.” In fact, she recalls reading articles in graduate school classes that were written by the late Professor of English Curtis Dahl.

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Details, details…

You have walked this campus a million times.
You know every inch like the back of your hand.
Or, do you? Test yourself. 

Here are some architectural details of buildings that you should be familiar with.

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