With new students arriving next week, the Department of History, Philosophy, and Political Science is gearing up for a new year at Bethel University. Once we launch fall classes at the end of the month, you can expect to start seeing more content from us at this blog and on our Instagram and other social media accounts.

But first, we thought we’d take one look back at our months away from campus and share some photos of student and faculty summer travels. First up, professors (plus one student) — in rough order of how far away their travels took them.

AnneMarie Kooistra water-skiing on Lake Pleasant, MN

Prof. AnneMarie Kooistra (History): We visited a friend’s cabin on Lake Pleasant, MN twice this summer. The family is BIG into waterskiing, and I always appreciate the opportunity to learn something new. I had managed to get up on skis a few summers ago, but this summer was the first time I skied with four other people simultaneously behind a boat. Plus, it’s always nice to be somewhere beautiful.

Andy Bramsen and extended family inside the Split Rock Lighthouse

Prof. Andy Bramsen (Political Science): This summer my mom, sister, nephew and niece came to see us for a week, so we took them up to Split Rock Lighthouse. Here you can see pictures of me and my family as well as my nephew and niece inside the Lighthouse.

Prof. Sara Shady (Philosophy): I had the opportunity to travel to Chicago to attend the Interfaith Leadership Summit with two students, Christina Castaneda and Htoo Paw (right, currently pursuing a Social Studies 5-8 endorsement to go with her Elementary Education major). We spent three days learning alongside 500+ participants about how to build bridges of understanding with people who are different from us so that we can all work together for the greater good. We also had time to explore the Magnificent Mile, ride the Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier, take a river cruise on the Chicago River, and eat a lot of great food!

Prof. Chris Moore (Political Science): This summer I was able to spend a week in a lakeside cabin with my family in Indiana.  I’m grateful that I got to record oral histories with my parents about their grandparents, their lives, and the world around them. I look forward to sharing those interviews with my grandchildren someday. It was also a great time to continue working through the extended reading list I developed during my spring sabbatical. Need a recommendation on something to read on nationalism, populism, and the role of our faith in both? Come chat with me this fall!

Amy Poppinga and family in Colorado

Prof. Amy Poppinga (History): We were able to take a quick trip to Colorado to see family. We had a great time hiking, playing outdoors, and this is a photo of us before we took a white water rafting trip. I intentionally did not provide a photo of us after the white water rafting!

Prof. Matt Kuchem (Political Science): My wife Courtney and I took a fabulous three-week tour of London, Scotland, and Paris. We visited a number of museums, cathedrals, and gardens in London and Paris and took a driving tour of the Scottish Highlands. Europe is wonderful because there is such a deep sense of history and tradition. We felt very young as Americans traveling in the “Old World.” A few highlights:

Best hiking: Isle of Skye. Absolutely magical. Best part of the trip.

Most moving experience: Evensong service in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Biggest geek-out moment: seeing the Code of Hammurabi at the Louvre.

Most terrifying experience: driving on the left “side” of the road on Scotland’s round-abouts and one-lane backroads.

Best art: Monet’s eight large Water Lily murals at the Musée de l’Orangerie.

The most British experience ever: standing at the Mall for five hours with a quarter-million Brits to watch Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee birthday parade.

Best cultural moment: breakfasting with a lovely Scottish couple in Inverness

Best food: the chocolate and bread in Paris are to die for. Really.

Chris Gehrz standing in front of the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany

Profs. Chris Gehrz and Sam Mulberry (both History): In June the two of us spent a week traveling around Germany, scouting locations for a June 2023 tour we’ll be leading. This photo shows Chris in front of the Wartburg, the medieval castle in Eisenach where Martin Luther hid out in 1521-1522 and translated the New Testament into German. (Not pictured: what we looked five minutes earlier, just after two forty-something historians finished their hike up the not-so-gentle 400-meter ascent.) But we also saw everything from Roman ruins in Trier to a stunning Carolingian cathedral in Aachen to haunting Holocaust and Cold War memorials in Berlin.

Click through to see some student travel photos.


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