my pathway experience

Know Your Neighbor

Michael Nigro '10, a Sport Management major and Business Administration minor from Simsbury, Conn. who is involved in the Leadership Program and ESS Club, is a volunteer for Colby-Sawyer Admissions and manages the alpine ski team, discusses his Pathway, “Know Your Neighbor,” led by Exercise and Sport Sciences Assistant Professor Greg Austin. Pathways, the foundation of Colby-Sawyer's Liberal Education Program, are a group of theme-based, interdisciplinary seminars that students choose for their first and second years. Know Your Neighbor explores the many facets and perspectives of the global neighborhood and views the global neighborhood geographically, historically, politically, culturally, racially and ethnically. This Pathway also explores what it means to know your neighbor and the responsibilities that are the present reality of the global neighborhood.

Why did you choose this Pathway, and what are some of the important things you've learned through the course?

I have to say that before I came to college, I was skeptical of the Pathway program and how it worked, but I picked Know Your Neighbor as my first choice for my Pathway because it seemed interesting and I was curious about what the class would be like.

Through the Pathway, I have learned about several issues in other countries, including the crisis in Darfur, children issues in India, and what Iraq was like before the U.S invaded.

Pathways are designed as theme-based and interdisciplinary. What do you see as some of the major themes discussed in the course?

We talk a lot about people's viewpoints on topics that are brought to our attention. The major themes of this course are determining the role, place, and identity of the United States as a good neighbor.

Please describe some of the resources used in the class

We used the internet often for research, and we watched all sorts of documentaries and movies about Darfur, the atomic bomb, Iraq … we saw “Night and Fog” and “Born in Brothels.” This semester we chose our own book from another country to read, and we attended several events on campus. The one I enjoyed most was Cathie Ryan's performance of Celtic music, which was really great. We also had the opportunity to have dinner with her and learn a lot about Irish culture.

What kinds of projects have you completed for the course?

We have done several projects. One was having a pen pal in another country, and we did a research paper on a developing country. We had to do two group projects; the first was on a world event, past, present or future, and the other was to give a tour of a country.

The name “Pathway” suggests a journey. How has the course and you and your classmates evolved from one year to the next?

It was really neat watching everything evolve in the past two years. We met our Pathway class the very first day of Orientation and got to know each other through the orientation program, and then we started the class. Our first-year seminar had many things happen, but most notable was the students adjusting to college and everything that comes at them. My Pathway class was a great place to discuss those difficult times When we came back together for our second seminar as sophomores, the group had changed a bit. While our professor was the same; we had two new students join us and we had a couple leave Colby-Sawyer. The one thing that changed for all of us was that by then we were used to being in college and we had all become more mature.
The Pathway has been a journey for all of us, and it keeps going.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to say that Professor Greg Austin has made this Pathway experience extremely enjoyable. He teaches in a way that makes it so fun to go to Pathway. He lets us make suggestions about what we want to learn and how we want the class to run. Professor Austin is not just a professor, he is an advisor to all of us, and for some students, a professor that you can go to and talk to about anything. He is such a great professor.