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Community Spotlight

With support from the Myers Foundation
Destination Dance launches this summer

Thanks to support from the Louis and Mary Myers Foundation, The University of Akron's Dance Program is launching Destination Dance Project this summer.

Destination Dance Project will be an annual and always-new collective of regional professional dancers plus professional dancers and a guest choreographer from a select American city.

Led this summer by artistic director James Sewell of Minneapolis-based James Sewell Ballet, Destination Dance Project 2014: Akron + Minneapolis will premiere a new work Aug. 8-9 at the nationally known Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron. The selected 2014 dancers will rehearse in both Akron and Minneapolis and also do a 2-week high-altitude intensive in Montana.

Sponsors of Destination Dance Project 2014 are The University of Akron’s Dance Program and Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series, and the City of Akron's Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival.

Throughout her life, Mary Schiller Myers was highly regarded in the art world. A passionate patron and avid collector of contemporary artwork, she served tirelessly on the boards and committees of numerous arts organizations in Akron, Cleveland, and New York City.

Mrs. Myers also was a devoted and generous alumna of The University of Akron, where she earned a B.A. in art history and later was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her lifetime commitment to the University and to enriching the culture of the region.

Together with her husband, Louis, Mrs. Myers established The Louis S. and Mary Myers Foundation that provides generous support for scholarships, artist residencies, and other programs in the visual and performing arts at UA. UA’s Myers School of Art is named in her honor.

What is Next for Graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences?

Research Spotlight: Sociology

Sobriety, spirituality linked for teens in treatment

Increased spirituality in teens undergoing substance abuse treatment is associated with greater likelihood of abstinence (as measured by toxicology screens), increased positive social behaviors and reduced narcissism, according to a study by Matthew Lee from The University of Akron and researchers from Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and Baylor University. Learn More


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Student Spotlight

Benjamin Nypaver

Economics student earns State Department scholarship to study in China

The University of Akron’s Benjamin Nypaver, a senior economics major, will spend two months in Guangzhou, China, as one of the 550 national recipients of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship.

The scholarship, intended to increase the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Russian, provides fully funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.

Nypaver, who is in the Honors College, will leave for China on June 13. He is one of the 20 students nationwide selected to take courses in Mandarin from Chinese instructors in Guangzhou.

Increased marketability

“Knowing Chinese languages is very useful in our global economy,” Nypaver says. “It definitely makes me more marketable to be able to go abroad for companies and negotiate.”

Nypaver, who could neither speak nor read a word of Mandarin before taking courses as a freshman, proved a quick study, attributing his success with the tonal language to his musical background.

“I’m good at mimicking sounds and have a good ear for tone, which I attribute to my years playing piano, saxophone and woodwinds,” he says.

But more than anything, Nypaver credits his 10-month stay in 2012 in Kaifeng, China, through UA’s Confucius Institute study abroad program, an experience that taught him about much more than language.

Benefits of studying abroad

“You learn so much, not just about the country and language, but about yourself,” he says. “You learn to adapt and react. And you gain a lot of confidence. If you can deal with being dropped in another country, and having to learn to another language, then everything here seems easier. I can’t stress enough how glad I am that I did this. I had to delay graduation a year, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.”

Each year the Confucius Institute, a partnership between UA and Henan University in China, offers Chinese language and culture immersion trips to Kaifeng. It also hosts “China Week” each fall, a celebration of diverse aspects of Chinese culture.

“There are so many great opportunities offered by the Confucius Institute,” Nypaver says, “which students don’t seem to be aware of. I encourage everyone to study abroad. I think the University should make it mandatory, in fact.”


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