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KU Sociology Major to Spend Summer in Jordan Working with Refugee Children

April 17, 2017

Kristyn Rohrer, a sophomore sociology major at Kutztown University, will travel to Jordan this summer to complete a six week internship at Reclaim Childhood, a non-profit organization that operates a sports camp for refugee girls.  KUTZTOWN, Pa. -Kristyn Rohrer, a sophomore Sociology major at Kutztown University, will travel to Jordan this summer to complete a six week internship at Reclaim Childhood, a non-profit organization that operates a sports camp for refugee girls. Participants range in age from six to eighteen years old and are typically from the Syria, Iraq and Palestine areas.

Rohrer, who is from Manheim, Lancaster County, has a passion for helping people and that is the reason she joined the sociology program when she transferred to KU in the spring of 2016.

"I love it so much because I enjoy learning about people. I like studying the social interactions people have, and the role culture plays into conflicts within society." Rohrer said "Like race and gender and how they play a role in the way we interact. I just find it all very interesting."

While completing her coursework for her sociology major, Rohrer also minors and in German and crafts. She is a member of the Honors Program at KU, is vice president of the Sociology Club and plays intramural soccer.

Rohrer decided to start looking for an internship in the fall of 2016 but at first she was not sure exactly what she was looking for so she approached Dr. Kim Shively, a professor of sociology. Shively helped Rohrer research a few different programs and eventually the two decided that Reclaim Childhood would provide her with a great experience and matched her passion.

"I have a passion for Middle Eastern culture and I think it is a really important topic because of how misunderstood it is from some American perspectives. Specifically, I am interested in the Palestinian Israeli conflict." Rohrer said "The information I have learned in class has encouraged me to gather more information about it and inform other people. I hope to maybe use my talents in maybe art or education and working with the refugees in this camp to help get it noticed and push their cause to more of a forefront then it is now."

During Rohrer's time in Jordan, she and eight other interns will help coaches from the area run the travel camp in four different communities Thursday to Sunday. When they are not helping with the camp they will be involved in the NGO sector, a non-profit voluntary citizens group, in Jordan. This will provide the interns with a number of different opportunities to volunteer in the community and get a full grasp of the culture.

Rohrer is devoted to making the most of every minute while she is in Jordan and she has a few specific goals going into the experience.

"I hope to take some Arabic classes and I think it would be awesome to go to the West Bank for maybe a day when I am there just because I want to see it for myself." Rohrer said. "But I really just want to gather stories from people while I'm there and specifically the stories of the refugee kids in the camp. I want to learn about their lives and what they are going through on a daily basis."

Rohrer hopes that this experience will better prepare her for a career in the future.

"One day, I'll come home and maybe my career will be to help refugee's assimilate in the United States and I hope this experience will help me to better understand them as people and hopefully make them feel more comfortable. But I'm rolling with the punches and do not know exactly what I will end up doing following graduation, I just hope it is helping people in some way."