Students create magic with spring break plans

Linda Cummins

A&F Staff Writer 

Spring break is what students make of it. It can be mostly down time from studies. It can be a time to squeeze in more learning. Or it can be time to make a little magic.

Several UNCA students will make the trek to Orlando as part of an Alternative Spring Break program. Photo by Karrigan Monk

Julia Quigley, a new media sophomore student, will head to Florida, but she is not going for the typical beach spring break that can lead to headaches and embarrassing photos. She will head to Disney World for the alternative spring break that UNCA offers.

“This is really exciting. I’ve got the countdown going, already packed,” Quigley said.

About 10 UNCA students will attend the Disney Leadership class at Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

“It was an application process based on your experience and why you wanted to go. I had to go through an interview and answer questions with the programming supervisors,” Quigley said.

Students will attend classes about team building and how to cultivate an experience the Disney way.

“We spend the first half of the day in class and then the second part we have free time. One day we do volunteer work in Orlando,” Quigley said.

Students will work hand-in-hand with Disney employees to grow their leadership skills.

Disney Institute offers these leadership courses not only to universities, but also to business leaders to polish their skills. Students attending the Alternative Spring Break  will learn to identify their personal values that will drive them as a leader throughout their lives and careers.

“You’re never too old for Disney. I mean that’s why I’m a new media major so that will enable me to work for Disney or Pixar,” Quigley said.

Erin Madden, a freshman chemistry student, said she plans to catch up with sleep. While some professors may opt to use spring break as an opportunity to relax, others such as assistant chemistry professor Ryan Steed, continue their academic work throughout the break.  For Steed, this means traveling to Clemson to research and collect data in addition to catching up on his grading.

Jon Deutsch and Rebecca Stowe, both senior chemistry students, will spend part of their spring break with Steed on this trip. The group will study a biological molecular machine called ATP synthase.

“We want to know how all the moving parts are working together,” Steed said. “However, the machine is a protein inside your cells, so it is way too small to observe directly. We are using an electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometer to detect movements within the protein.”

Steed said he travels to Clemson multiple times a year for this project.

“We’re trying to work out this method to measure the movement, but we haven’t gotten it quite perfect yet,” Steed said.

Lee Fussell, senior Spanish student, will also be working on a life goal during spring break: obtaining housing for next year.

“Most of spring break at the beginning is going to be me meeting with my future roommates and we’re going to be looking for housing around Asheville,” Fussell said.

He is scheduled to go on a study abroad trip in the summer and said he wants to get the life stuff planned out before leaving.

“Once I’m gone there’s no way I can come back and make other arrangements for other people or really get in touch with anyone,” he said.

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