Eastern professor to give presentation Tuesday afternoon

Ryan Meyer, Staff Reporter

Eastern’s Academy of Lifelong Learning is holding a virtual event called “Lost in a Free Land” on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Amy Davis, Assistant Professor of Elementary Literacy, will be presenting her story as a first-generation college student who grew up with a European father and American mother. She said her experiences growing up led to her wanting to share her story with students who may be experiencing similar challenges.

“It was difficult to navigate two cultures and I wanted to share my story with those who are first-generation college students who have had a similar experience,” Davis said. “I’ve had to forge my own path despite my dad’s protests and the ‘ideas’ he had for my life.”

Davis said the event will start with a discussion about listening to others’ stories and the effect that can have on one’s own empathy.

“The presentation begins with discussing the difference between empathy and sympathy and how listening to others’ stories can connect us to each other and develop our own empathy,” Davis said.

She also mentioned that she’d be narrating her father’s story as an occupant of a refugee camp after escaping into Yugoslavia, to being stationed in Hawaii as a member of the U.S. Army to meeting Davis’ mother and starting a family.

Davis said that while those in attendance may not all be able to relate to her experience, an open mind can help understand what first-generation college students like herself may be trying to navigate.

“I think those who attend may have not experienced these obstacles, but I think they can listen and be open to hearing how others have overcome obstacles to fulfill their dreams of being a college graduate,” Davis said.

Growing up battling ideals of traditional gender roles and the aforementioned two cultures helped shape Davis’ perspective, she said.

“A result of my experience has been that I’ve developed an openness and acceptance of others because we never truly understand what others are going through or where they’ve been,” Davis said.

The Academy of Lifelong Learning invites those interested to “Come and listen to this story and gain a new perspective on cultural diversity, compassion and acceptance.”

 

Ryan Meyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]