Lauren Palmer graduated from Marian University with a double major in Spanish and French. She received her Master of Arts in Teaching Spanish from IUPUI. Lauren has always been passionate about language and culture and she is devoted to sharing that passion with students and her community. In the past Lauren has taught as an adjunct professor of Spanish at both Marian University and IUPUI. Lauren is currently working on a POLIS Center Project, the Study of Religion and Urban Culture 2.0, that focuses on local faith communities in Indianapolis. This will be Lauren’s third semester in the American Studies program.

As the world becomes ever more interconnected, it is vital that our students be prepared to participate in an active and successful manner. In order to create students that are able to contribute to the continuingly global world, they need to be educated to think both locally and globally. This should start while they are in school. Of course, it would be ideal for all students to have the means and ability to study abroad. However, the reality for the majority of students does not include a study abroad experience. Therefore, it is up to higher education institutions to provide programming that facilitates a similar type of global learning experience. The focus of Lauren’s doctoral studies at this time is on creating a multicultural learning program for students. Her specific interest is in programs that facilitate a study abroad like experiential learning for students who are not physically able to live and study in another country. The hope is to broaden students’ senses of self as well as how they identify and interact with others, especially those different from themselves. The type of programming creates an opportunity for students to become more self aware and fosters critical thinking, compassion, communication, and understanding.