CONWAY, Ark. (August 15, 2013) – Eight Hendrix students spent
two and a half weeks in Vietnam this summer.
Student participants included:
- Laura Klasek ’13 from St. Louis, Mo.
- Anvesh Kompelli ’14 from Shreveport,
- Giang "Gaby" Le ’14 from
- Andrew LeMay ’15 from Little Rock,
- Van Phung ’14 from Maumelle, Ark.
- Kate Skorija ’14 from Kansas City, Mo.
- Annie Slattery ’14 from New Orleans,
- Allison Tschiemer ’13 from Dallas,
The students were accompanied by anthropology professor Dr.
Anne Goldberg, photography professor Maxine Payne, and English professor Dr.
Alex Vernon. Vernon holds the Bost Odyssey Professorship, which provides
support for faculty development and projects that expand engaged learning
opportunities in Asian studies for Hendrix students.
Three Vietnamese undergraduate students and one Vietnamese
trip coordinator accompanied the Hendrix group for the entire journey.
The purpose of the trip was for students to get a general
sense of contemporary Vietnam, Vernon said. Six of the eight students took
Vernon’s Vietnam and Literary Imagination course, which he taught in the spring
The group spent the first week in Ho Chi Minh City in
southern Vietnam, where they heard lectures on the agricultural economy,
environmental and women’s issues from Vietnamese educators.
They spent a day at the National Film Institute, where they
learned about the beginnings of the Vietnamese film industry and met with some
of the country’s early actors and producers. They also toured the film archives
and saw some of the original film equipment.
In Ho Chi Minh, the students visited several art galleries
and met with writers who discussed the current literary scene in Vietnam.
After Ho Chi Minh, the group toured Hue in central Vietnam for
a couple of days and heard lectures on the history and challenges of the
country’s central region.
In the second week, they stayed at a commune north of the 17th
parallel. The region was the focus of several wartime documentaries that
depicted the challenge residents living underground trying to farm while being bombed.
The group met women’s union leaders and conducted household
interviews of area residents. They also performed humanitarian work. Mixing
concrete and carrying bricks, they built a toilet for a local nursery.
Dr. Goldberg and Professor Payne continued their ongoing
collaborative ethnographic and photographic research on women in rural areas.
The two faculty members have conducted similar research in the United States, Costa
Rica, Tanzania, and along the U.S. – Mexican border.
Students on the trip will complete a collaborative writing
project on issues in Vietnam they are interested in and observed on the trip,
Vernon said. The project could ultimately be an online journal, similar to “The
Treatment” online magazine that another group of Hendrix students completed in
The Vietnam experience was particularly meaningful to Van
Phung, a Vietnamese-American student from Maumelle, Ark.
about a variety of different topics from environmental issues, gender and
women’s issues, to the education system of Vietnam was academically meaningful
because I gained an understanding of just how truly different things are in
comparison to these same issues in America, as well as the priority each
country makes in taking measures toward these issues to change them for the
better,” said Phung.
Vietnamese-American and culturally immersed in Vietnam, I have come to find out
a lot about myself and gained a better understanding of a beautiful country
that I identify so much with,” she said. “Growing up, my parents seldom told me
stories about their experiences with living in Vietnam … We now talk about
Vietnam all the time; everything from the food, the sights, the war, the
language, etc. I also got the opportunity to stay in Vietnam a little longer to
be reunited with my family that I have not seen in 15 years, and that was
undeniably the most personally meaningful part of the trip for me.”
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in
engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the fifth consecutive year,
Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by
U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix
is featured in the 2012 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s
best 377 colleges, the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change
the Way You Think about Colleges, Forbes magazine's annual
list of America's Top 650 Colleges, and the 2013 edition of the
Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist
Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.