McCullough enjoys a fire festival in Nara, Japan. Photograph by Kelsey McCullough
McCullough enjoys a fire festival in Nara, Japan. Photograph by Kelsey McCullough

Alumna Shows Sixth Graders the World

March 5, 2020

Editor’s Note: With the Corona virus at large, alumna Kelsey McCullough’s trip has changed with multiple destinations cancelled, such as China, Malaysia, India and Seychelles.


Traveling and studying abroad can be a life-changing and exciting experience, and sixth grade teacher Katie Lhotsky is thankful her students have the opportunity to- through Skyping with an alumna.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania junior Kelsey McCullough partakes in the Science Technology Engineering and Math Student Experiences Aboard Ships (STEMSEAS) Program, which gives college students hands-on learning experiences in STEM, and shares her worldly cruising experience with Lhotsky’s Friendship Elementary sixth grade class. 

McCullough hopes to impart knowledge from her experiences, exploring  Mexico and crossing the Pacific Ocean to Japan, Vietnam, and Mauritius. 

I chose to study abroad because I wanted to experience different cultures and gain a better understanding of the world. Traveling abroad always seemed like such a great way to travel while getting [a] college credit,” said McCullough. “In the future, it will be much harder to be out of the country for this length of time due to working and adulting in general, so I wanted to make the most of this opportunity while I could.”

McCullough isn’t the only one benefiting from this experience; Lhotsky’s sixth grade class is as well.

“[The students] are very interested in [McCullough’s project] because we are getting ready to start geography, so they know they are going to learn about all these places as we start to study around the world,” said Lhotsky. “It is interesting for them to get to see pictures from the actual places they are going to study and understand the culture.”

McCullough hopes to have a positive impact on the students.

 “I hope to teach the students that the world is a big place with so much to learn and uncover,” said McCullough “I think it is so important for them to learn about the opportunities they can have in the future, and I hope that I can spark their interest in traveling and learning about these cultures.” 

As Lhotsky teaches her students and learns from McCullough’s experiences, she hopes they have a better understanding of the area and the culture. 

“I want them to  have a desire to travel and learn [more] about different cultures and understand there [are] so many different sights to the world,” said Lhotsky. “[Hopefully they want] to operate those differences and cultures into other lives, either learning more about it [by]being a part of it or wanting to travel to go see these places and people that live there.”

This experience has connected McCullough, Lhotsky and her sxith grade class as they learn more about the world together.

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