Memory of son’s travels inspire BSC students to explore the world

Photo of BSC student with children

Bailey Wells, a Bainbridge State College student from Colquitt who is pursuing an education degree, is with children she observed in the classroom during her study abroad trip to Belize in March 2013. Bailey received course credit in biology, education and anthropology for the work she completed while on the trip.

By DR. JENNY HARPER

Bainbridge State College Associate Professor of Biology

Traveling is something most people would love to do, but are often hindered due to the high costs and the difficulty in making complex itineraries to somewhere they have never been.

How do you know where to go? What to see and do?

These things are no different for college students, who are often hampered further because of tighter budgets.

Not only is Bainbridge State unique in all the offerings it has for study abroad, but also because of a very special scholarship that is available strictly for students who participate in study abroad programs through Bainbridge State – the Marsicano Scholarship.

Bainbridge State College is very active in many study abroad programs, offering three different study abroad programs to China, Belize and Scotland. Nevertheless, consider that persistent question–cost.

Bailey Wells from Colquitt traveled in March 2013 to Belize as part of Bainbridge State’s study aboard program, and she said she would not have been able to had it not been for the scholarship.

“It was the best experience of my life, and I am so lucky to have had the chance to go,” Wells said.

Ariel and Eric Brock of Vada traveled to the Galapagos Islands in May 2010. They both received the Marsicano Scholarship. They said they would not have been able to go were it not for the Marsicano Scholarship.

“I would have probably never considered [traveling abroad] if not for the scholarship,” Mrs. Brock said. “The scholarship helped make my dreams not seem impossible.”

Mr. Brock said thanks to the scholarship, the opportunity changed his outlook.

“Being able to go see a different world opened my eyes to new and exciting things. I see the world differently now. The Galapagos was amazing because of the different animals and creatures we encountered. I have to say it was the best trip of my life,” Mr. Brock said.

When Bainbridge Junior College opened its doors to students in 1973, it was fortunate to have among the charter faculty Dr. Edward Marsicano, an English and humanities professor.

Dr. Marsicano was a much-traveled individual who spent one year as a study abroad student from Florida State University in Venice, Italy. After acquiring his Ph.D. at Emory University, he spent a summer in Europe and then made an extended trip to Russia. Writing and travel were his primary passions in life.

Sadly, in his early 40s he contracted a rare form of cancer and died. His parents, Ruth and Rocco Marsicano, made a generous contribution in Dr. Marsicano’s name to Bainbridge State College for student study abroad programs and travel scholarships, a gift the community also graciously supports.

The Marsicanos provided another large financial gift to the Marsicano Foundation following their deaths in 2013. Ruth and Rocco Marsicano chose this type of scholarship because of their son’s passion for travel and his years of involvement in study abroad programs.

Since Dr. Marsicano’s death, the Marsicano Foundation has sent more than 100 students from Bainbridge State College abroad and given more than $216,000 in scholarships. This level of generosity established by Ruth and Rocco Marsicano is truly unique and is a wonderful gift to the College’s students.

The benefits of traveling abroad with Bainbridge State College are vast and the cure for any wanderlust. Some of the domestic and foreign locations that its students have traveled include Washington, D.C., New York City, Greece, England, Scotland, Russia, Belize, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.

Future trips include China, which economics Instructor Roger Lunt will lead this June, and Scotland, which history Associate Professor David Nelson will lead this May. These programs will continue into 2015, as well as the addition of Costa Rica at the University of Georgia research facility. A trip to Italy and Greece is planned for 2016.

“Traveling abroad impacted me in many ways. One way was when I went to Belize [on a previous trip] I got to see the children in the schools dance. That inspired me to reach out and join an outreach program and teach dance to Boys and Girls Clubs and Helping Hands in Thomasville,” Mrs. Brock said. “Going to the Galapagos made me want to find more ways I could help out in the environment and become more active. I am more than grateful for the scholarship and hope to travel more in the future. I encourage anyone to take a chance and explore the world.”

For Bainbridge State College students interested in traveling abroad and applying for the Marsicano Scholarship, please contact Dr. Jenny Harper at jharper@bainbridge.edu. The minimum requirements to be considered include a specified grade point average, written essay and completion of the application form for the Marsicano Scholarship.

If you would like more details concerning any of the travel options described, you can contact Mr. Roger Lunt about China at roger.lunt@bainbridge.edu, Dr. David Nelson about Scotland at david.nelson@bainbridge.edu, Ms. Valley Rogers about Belize at vroger@bainbridge.edu, and Dr. Jenny Harper about Italy at jharper@bainbridge.edu.

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