Zander Rothering, a Biology major from Richland Center, Wis., gets visibly excited when he talks about the summer of 2016. He and twelve other students traveled to South America, where they journeyed from Quito, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands, in the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles west of the continent.
“It was an incredible experience,” Rothering says. “Probably the highlight for me was hiking up Sierra Negra, the volcano on Isabella Island, the largest island in the Galapagos. I knew it was going to be awesome, just looking from a distance, but it still blew my mind when we got to the rim, and looked out, and there’s 15 kilometers of basaltic lava – it was crazy seeing that.”
Rothering and his fellow students completed the Biological Sciences class in the spring, “Special Topics: Galapagos.” This course is an exploration of “the flora, fauna, and people of Ecuador,” and “challenges students to explore and to critically reflect upon their personal values, beliefs, spiritualities and worldviews in the context of decision making.” The two-week trip is the ‘capstone’ of the class.
Rothering, also a member of the Eagles men’s soccer team, is the third in his family to attend Edgewood College. His brother Tyger is currently a student, and older brother Thor graduated with a degree in Graphic Design in 2013. He says the work and preparation that it took to make this journey was well worth it.“We did learn a lot about the biology and the natural science of the Galapagos,” Rothering says. “But experiencing a different culture than what I’m used to, that was part of the sensory overload. Not being able to speak the language, not being able to take for granted how easy I have it (in the U.S.), I think everyone should experience that because it was a great learning opportunity.”