In recognition of her initiative and accomplishments, Dahs, one of more than 450 Wittenberg students who will receive diplomas during the university's 162nd Commencement exercises on May 12, received a Global Awareness Award at the university's annual Honors Convocation on April 13.
The Spanish major participated in a 2004 summer trip with Wittenberg's Spanish department to Guatemala, where she performed community service for credit. She has also racked up four visits to Nicaragua, a second visit to Guatemala, and she studied abroad during fall semester 2006 on a Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) in the Dominican Republic.
"It's an addiction – to travel and meet people who become really good friends," Dahs said. "I have adopted some of their customs."
Dahs spent each of her four spring breaks on service trips to Nicaragua, where students worked in conjunction with the non-profit organization Bridges to Community. She has served as a student leader and shared the latest project building houses in a rural community with her mother, who accompanied the group (see related story below).
Wittenberg Students Build Homes, Relationships On Spring Break Service Trip to Nicaragua
Breaking the pattern of the typical college spring break, six Wittenberg students and Christine McIntyre, associate professor of languages, built houses to help impoverished residents of the Central American nation of Nicaragua.
The Wittenberg group, along with an alumnus, a faculty member and students from Clark University, spent a week building houses in the small rural community of Guanacastillo, Nicaragua. During the trip students not only built living quarters for families in need but they also gained a new perspective on life. Read More
Out of the classroom, Dahs volunteered at the Emiliano Tardiff children's home, where she received accolades for organizing an Olympics Day before she had even been in the country a full month. Photos of the children, ranging in age from five months to 15 years, were featured on the CIEE's Web site and its Monumental Moments newsletter.
"I love to travel and to meet new people," Dahs said. "How many people can say they have good friends in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic?"
Dahs plans to fill her life with service in developing countries and has applied for work in the Dominican Republic. In the meantime, the recognition received from Wittenberg remains special to her.
"It was really cool," she said. "To do what I love doing and be recognized for it – it's wonderful. My mom was so proud – both Mom and Dad were here."
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
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