Earlier in March, I was contacted by the Florence Darlington Technical College, in Florence South Carolina. They asked me if I would come visit them through the Fulbright Outreach Fund, meet their students and give a talk during the Arts and Science festival they were organising by the end of March.
I accepted immediately, as an opportunity to discover the USA, both people and teaching system, with a different view from the one I have daily at Duke University and Durham. I didn’t regret it. Everyone was really nice and the whole week passed by in a most interesting mixture of science and culture.
I was welcome by Steven Weingartner, from the Department of Business and International Programs also appointed as local Fulbright contact, who had arranged the week program on behalf of the President Ben Dillard and Vice Presidents Suresh Tiwari and Marc David. I had many occasions to exchange with students following Business, Physics and Biology classes, discussing with faculty and administrators during the Council meeting or during a home cook out. I shared my experience as a Fulbright, and my work as a scientist talking about climate change impacts on forests. I really appreciated the exchanges during and after the talks.
I also visited a neighboring college, Coker College, at Hartsville to give the talk on climate change and visited scientists working on similar topics than mine at the USDA in Florence.
Between all this, Steven took me around at Columbia, the state capital where I could visit the State Capitol, in Charleston to see one of the most beautiful historical town of the USA and to the Reserve to admire one of the oldest and more intact swamp forest with hundred years old Tupelo and bald Cypress trees.
This shared experience can happen to you, either being picked by some college or by proposing your visit. So don’t hesitate, it was a rich, interesting and fun experience.
Thank you Florence-Darlington Tech College for having me this spring!
Steven Weingartner, President Dr. Ben Dillard, Dr. Suresh Tiwari, vice president for academic affairs