Category Archives: Emilie

Penn Museum Lecture Series Returns

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

Every year the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology hosts a thematic lecture series open to the public. This isn’t the first time I’ve touted this fantastic program. As you may remember from my previous posts here and here, last year the theme was “Great Voyages,” and the year before Penn Professors discussed topics on the theme of “Great Battles.” Well this year I’m even more excited about the chosen theme: Great Wonders of the World. Who doesn’t love learning about these mysterious and ancient wonders constructed many millennia ago?

header_programs_greatwonders

On the first Wednesday of every month–from October 2014 to June 2015–a Penn Professor or visiting scholar will discuss a wonder of the world in about an hour’s time. Some topics that I’m particularly interested in learning about include:

The Great Pyramids of Giza (October 1st with David Silverman, Ph.D., Curator-in-Charge, Egyptian Section)

All Giza Pyramids

 

Monumental Geoglyphs of Amazonia (December 3rd with Clark L. Erickson, Ph.D., Curator-In-Charge, American Section)

100104-amazon-lost-civilization-circles_big_thumb[3]

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and its Successors (May 6th with C. Brian Rose, Ph.D., Curator-in-Charge, Mediterranean Section)

Mausoleum_of_halicarnassus

The Great Walls of China (June 3rd with Ph.D., Assistant Curator, Asian Section)

The Quaker sits atop the Great Wall of China during one of his adventures on a Penn Alumni Travel trip.

The Quaker sits atop the Great Wall of China during one of his adventures on a Penn Alumni Travel trip.

Of course, there are many more fascinating topics for you to explore. To learn more about the lecture series or to sign up for one or more lecture, click here. Hope to see you at the Penn Museum this year!

Leave a comment

Filed under Emilie, Penn Museum

Penn Alumni Travel: Celtic Lands

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

In May, I had the pleasure of joining a Penn Alumni Travel trip to the “Celtic Lands” with faculty host Professor Rebecca Bushnell (who wrote a lovely post about the tour here). The tour was a seven-day cruise to Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Normandy, and England- the Celtic Lands. In addition to Professor Bushnell, we were fortunate to have four other wonderful lecturers aboard from Brown University, Dartmouth College, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Smithsonian Journeys.

One of the unique qualities of a Penn Alumni Travel trip is access to these world-renowned scholars. Nearly every tour we run includes a Penn faculty host who not only gives formal lectures during the course of the trip, but also participates fully in the program and is available for conversation and informal discussion throughout the journey.

On this particular cruise, there were more scholars and more lectures than even the best alumni student could keep up with! As I noted, the theme of the tour was “Celtic Lands,” and so we had a wonderful lecture “Who Were the Celts” by Dwight Young of the National Trust. Professor Bushnell continued this theme with her theater-themed lecture “Shakespeare and the Celtic Lands.”

IMG_1390

Rebecca speaks to lingering alumni after her talk.

Rebecca speaks to lingering alumni after her talk.

But that wasn’t the only theme explored on board our ship Le Boréal. We had several interesting lectures about transatlantic journeys from Professor Christopher Griffin of Smithsonian Journeys and, of course, there were many lectures about World War II and Operation Overlord. In addition to the scholars who joined us for the entire tour, we had two special guests at the end of the trip: D. David Eisenhower II, grandson of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Celia Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill.

Both David and Celia joined the cruise just before we reached the D-Day beaches of Normandy on June 5, one day before the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. We heard fantastic lectures from both. David presented “Operation Overlord” and Celia discussed “Memories of my Grandfather.” Both talks were full of interesting details and personal reminiscences that brought that period to life for those on board.

When we arrived in Caen, France David joined our Penn bus and spent the day pointing out significant landmarks and discussing his own lengthy research about the battle and his grandfather.

David at the Pointe du Hoc with Penn alumni and friends.

David at the Pointe du Hoc with Penn alumni and friends.

David speaks to an American soldier at Omaha Beach. Many troops were in Normandy for the 70th Anniversary commemorative ceremonies. Photo courtesy of Penn alumnus Frederick Allen, C’60.

David speaks to an American soldier at Omaha Beach. Many troops were in Normandy for the 70th Anniversary commemorative ceremonies. Photo courtesy of Penn alumnus Frederick Allen, C’60.

It was a truly special moment for everyone on board. Our hope at Penn Alumni Travel is that every tour experiences moments such as these—unique insights into a culture, a people, or a moment—that will transform the trip into more than just an itinerary.

Next year we’ll be joining David again on a Celtic Lands cruise. For more information, click here.

For information on all our 2015 tours, click here.

We hope to see you on a future Penn Alumni Travel trip!

Leave a comment

Filed under Emilie, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

Penn Museum Lecture Series

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

One of my favorite things about working for Penn is the access to world-renowned scholars. At Penn Alumni Travel, we find that that is also one of our travelers’ favorite things about touring with us: access to a Penn faculty host during the trip. With over 4,400 standing and associated faculty at the school, it’s difficult to narrow down our list of travel host prospects. Luckily, there are many ways to hear from and learn about a Professor’s work and research. The Penn Museum’s annual lecture series in one such way.

Every year, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology holds a thematic lecture series that takes place every first Wednesday of the month during the academic year. This isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about this lecture series (see my February 2013 post) and, over a year later, I’m still a fan. This year’s theme is “Great Voyages: Travels, Triumphs, and Tragedies.” (Last year’s theme was “Great Battles: Moments in Time that Changed History. I’m excited to find out what next year’s theme will be!)

header_greatvoyages

The lectures take place in beautiful Harrison Auditorium and span such topics as Ferdinand Magellan, the detours of Ibn Battuta, and Gilgamesh. They are an excellent opportunity to learn about something new and hear from some of our best Penn professors in the fields of archaeology, history, and classical studies.

At a Penn Museum lecture earlier this winter.

At a Penn Museum lecture earlier this winter.

There are two lectures left this year: “Searching for the Golden Fleece with Jason and the Argonauts” with Professor C. Brian Rose and “Darwin’s Beagle Voyage” with Professor Michael Weisberg. Both professors are also hosting Penn Alumni Travel trips this fall. Professor Rose is traveling with our group to Turkey and Professor Weisberg with our group to the Galapagos.

If you have some free time tonight or on June 4th, consider spending it at the Penn Museum. I think you’ll find it was worth the effort to come to campus and return home a little later than usual. And, at $5/person, these talks are a great deal.  Click here to register for either Penn Museum lecture.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Alumnni Education, Emilie, Penn Alumni Travel, Penn Museum, Travel

Penn Alumni Travel: Travel Webinars

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

Today, Penn Alumni Travel is hosting a free travel webinar on the British archipelago and Viking culture with Professor David Wallace of Penn’s English department The webinar begins at 12 p.m. EDT, and there’s still time to register- just click here.

Professor Wallace will be discussing some of the highlights of Viking exploration as well as the legacy of Viking culture in today’s society.

An example of Viking navigation.

An example of Viking navigation.

Our education and travel webinars are fantastic forums for interesting mini-lectures, lively discussion, and the chance to get your questions answered about the topic at hand. We encourage all our participants to come ready to engage with our Penn professor and other travel experts who join us on these hour-long webinars.

We have two additional travel webinars coming up this spring and summer: The Great Journey Through Europe with Professor Andre Dombrowski (May 15 at 12 p.m. EDT) and Turkey with Professor C. Brian Rose (August 27 at 12 p.m. EDT). Both webinars will explore the history and culture of the specified region and will follow with travel tips and an opportunity for Q & A. You can register for all these free webinars here.

The excavation at Troy. Professor Rose spent time digging at this location.

The excavation at Troy. Professor Rose spent time digging at this location.

If you’re itching for more than just an online travel discussion, perhaps you’re ready to join a Penn Alumni Travel trip where you can visit these sites in person while having access to a Penn faculty host’s expertise. Click here to view all our 2014 tours. And check out our site tomorrow when we reveal our 2015 schedule!

2 Comments

Filed under Emilie, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

A Marshmallow Squared Donut? Yes, Please.

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

There are many great restaurants in University City: White Dog, Distrito, POD, etc. The list is always growing, but if you’re looking for a quick and delicious breakfast or a mid-afternoon sweet stop, then the choices are quite slim. Sure, there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on Walnut and 34th, and Insomnia Cookies is just across College Green, but when I’m looking for a gourmet sweet experience–a truly melt-in-your-mouth fried ring of batter–I now have a place to turn. Federal Donuts on Sansom Street between 34th and 36th streets.

Federal Donuts on Sansom Street- It's open!

Federal Donuts on Sansom Street- It’s open!

The shop opened today and, as conscientious alumni relations personnel, we felt it was our duty to try it out immediately. Now, we can personally recommend this new donut and fried chicken shop to visiting alumni.

Alumni relations staff pose with the new store front.

Alumni relations staff pose with the new store front.

Inside, the shop was busy but the wait was not long. The menu included “fancy donuts,” “hot fresh donuts,” and “fried chicken.” If you’ve never tried a hot fresh donut from Federal Donuts, I suggest you do. They fry them to order which means they come out hot, soft, and irresistible.

Federal Donuts menu.

Federal Donuts menu.

Nicole and Molly enjoy a warm donut.

Nicole and Molly enjoy a warm donut.

In the end, I decided on a Marshmallow Squared donut.

Yum!

Yum!

It was lightly fried, covered in a marshmallow glaze, and topped with actual toasted marshmallows. It also didn’t last long. Luckily, I know where to find more!

If you find yourself at Federal Donuts this year, let us know what donut is YOUR favorite. I’ll be keeping an eye on the comment section below. Happy University City eating!

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Emilie

Penn Alumni Travel: Cuba Part 1

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

This year Penn Alumni Travel went somewhere we haven’t gone to in over a decade: Cuba. Cuba has long been off the travel menu for most United States citizens, but, in 2011, certain groups could again travel to Cuba under a specific “people-to-people” license from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Penn Alumni Travel received its People to People license last summer, and immediately over 40 Penn alumni and friends signed up to join one of two Cuba departures last month.

Penn Alumni and friends on the first Cuba departure. We’re excited to visit Hemingway’s Cuban retreat.

Penn Alumni and friends on the first Cuba departure. We’re excited to visit Hemingway’s Cuban retreat.

Traveling on a People to People itinerary is a little different from your typical overseas trip. Every day must be filled with meaningful exchanges with the Cuban locals. This means most hours between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. are filled with visits to museums, artists’ studios, and other local places of interest. We also had lectures with historians, experts in Cuban agriculture, and representatives from the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, and even visited the Cuban Rap Agency. After a lively discussion at the rap agency, we were treated to an impromptu performance.

Conversations in a graphic art studio in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

Conversations in a graphic art studio in Cienfuegos, Cuba.

Here we met with the Cuban Rap Agency in Havana.

Here we met with the Cuban Rap Agency in Havana.

Luckily our alumni are used to a full schedule filled with educational offerings, and they took the busy schedule in stride. One of my favorite moments of the trip was the private classical guitar concert in the Ceramics Museum of Havana. After a tour from the museum director, we all filtered into the museum’s beautiful interior courtyard and listened while classical guitarist Luis Manuel Molina played several songs. From the first note, it was clear Molina was a world-class musician, and he was playing just for us! Truly a superb ending to a busy day.

Luis Manuel Molina plays classical guitar for Penn Alumni Travel.

Luis Manuel Molina plays classical guitar for Penn Alumni Travel.

My second favorite moment? The farewell dinner in a Havana paladar (a restaurant run out of a family home). Not only was the food delicious and the ambiance unique, but by the end of the meal song had broken out, and we ended the trip with a hearty rendition of “The Red and the Blue” and “Drink a Highball.”

I’ll leave this blog entry here. As I mentioned, we had two Cuba departures each with a faculty and a staff host, and so you can expect three more Cuba blog entries after mine. But Cuba is such a unique and interesting destination that 100 blog entries would not do it justice. Enjoy the rest of the tour!

The Quaker in Trinidad. He loved all the bold colors!

The Quaker in Trinidad. He loved all the bold colors!

[Penn Alumni Travel will be returning to Cuba in 2015. Please email Emilie C. K. LaRosa at emiliek@upenn.edu to be added to a priority reservation list.]

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Emilie, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

Penn Alumni Travel Photo Contest

Author: Emilie C. K. LaRosa

Penn Alumni Travel is hosting our 4th annual photo contest. If you’ve traveled with us in the past, you are eligible to enter a travel photo by FEBRUARY 28, 2014. Winners receive an Amazon Kindle or $300 trip credit.

Photos are judged in four categories: People, Places, Culture, and Nature. To learn more about the contest or to submit a picture, click here.

Our winners from 2013 were:

Grand Prize Winner and First Place, Places Category: “Reed House-Uros Islands,” by Amy Converse

Grand Prize Winner and First Place, Places Category: “Reed House-Uros Islands,” by Amy Converse

First Place People Category: “Father at Monastery of St. John,” by Robin Love

First Place People Category: “Father at Monastery of St. John,” by Robin Love

First Place Culture Category: “Street Musician-Havana,” by Arthur Brown

First Place Culture Category: “Street Musician-Havana,” by Arthur Brown

First Place Nature Category: “Orchids of Machu Picchu,” by Alex Converse

First Place Nature Category: “Orchids of Machu Picchu,” by Alex Converse

And this isn’t the first time we’ve posted about the photo contest. Check out our other photo contest blogs below!

Announcing the 3rd annual photo contest winners.

Announcing the 2nd annual photo contest winners.

The FIRST annual photo contest entries.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Emilie, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel