Webster Students Study Abroad in Athens, Volunteer at Refugee Center, Conduct Field Research

Aug. 16, 2018

Athens Study Abroad Students Volunteer at Refugee Center, Conduct Field Research
The group celebrated their final week with lunch from the renowned Kostas, a famous spot near the Athens campus known for traditional Greek souvlaki.

Webster students wrapped up their summer “Global Health and Inequality” study abroad term at the Athens campus with field research and service experiences, including participating in community response to the wildfires in the region.

The group of psychology majors anticipates presenting their findings at upcoming research conferences, including Webster University's Research Across Disciplines conference in December.

Webster Athens has developed a number of existing relationships with local professional organizations and individuals, which afforded program participants the opportunity to engage in unique in- and out-of-class experiences.

During the second half of the program, interested students and faculty participated in a blood drive in response to the tragic fires that occurred near Athens. Students also volunteered at the Caritas Athens Refugee Program, which offers meals, services, and other programs aimed at helping refugees meet their needs and integrate into the community. Some students took advantage of the class blog to share their reflections with others. 

Students volunteered at the Caritas Athens Refugee Program
Students donated blood as part of the response to local wildfires, and also volunteered at the Caritas Athens Refugee Program.

Invited guest speakers added to the experience. In the second half of the program, students spoke with Amy Carlon, Counselor on Political Affairs from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, Greece, about her career path. Students also heard from Karen Wharton, a Webster graduate student in international relations, who spoke about sex trafficking.

Finally, data collection for the one-credit field research experience was completed. Their project examined the association between SES and life expectancy. Using the height of various tombstones in cemeteries around Athens, the group sought to replicate findings from a classic study (Smith, Carroll, Rankin, & Rowin, 1992).

Measuring in Athens
Using the height of various tombstones in
cemeteries around Athens, the group sought
to replicate findings from a classic study.

Students enrolled in this course met with Eric Goedereis, program leader and associate professor of psychology from the Webster Groves campus, to learn the basics of data entry and management and review the analyses. The group anticipates presenting their findings at upcoming research conferences, including Webster University's Research Across Disciplines (RAD) conference in December.

"This was an incredible opportunity for our students," Goedereis said. "The staff at the Webster Athens campus organized so many unique experiences for us. Their constant support and assistance really helped pull everything together in a way that made all of these experiences accessible and connected to one another. It was truly transformative."

'Global Health and Inequality' Study Abroad in Athens

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