CANTON, Mo. -- Alexis Westerhausen, a Culver-Stockton junior, is researching the curative powers of the hot springs located in Ain Sukhna, Egypt, some 6,700 miles away as part of her studies at C-SC.
Westerhausen, who is from Girard, Ill., credits Culver-Stockton’s innovative academic approach – EXP@CSC: The Total Learning Experience – for giving her the opportunity to conduct real-world research that could result in publication of her results before she even finishes her undergraduate degree.
“My professor, Dr. (Mohamed) El-Bermawy brought the water back from his trip to Egypt and asked me to help him with this research,” Westerhausen says “I worked with the water every day as part of a three-week independent study course that he created just for me. If I had tried to do this research in a regular class as part of a typical semester, I never would have been able to focus so much of my attention and get as much done.”
As part of EXP@CSC, most Culver-Stockton students take three weeks every semester to focus on just one subject.
People from around the world flock to the hot, fresh water spring at Ain Sukhna, a region along the Red Sea about 70 miles from Cairo. The springs are believed by many to cure skin diseases.
“Dr. El-Bermawy brought back two liters of water and some samples from the bottom of the spring. We are testing it for its various levels of sodium, sulfur, potassium, and other compounds – it smells really bad,” Westerhausen laughs. “We have to be careful not to contaminate the water, because we still have a lot of work to do to try to determine what might give the water curative properties.”
Westerhausen’s work with the Egyptian water will continue as part of her senior research project and later this fall she will travel to Egypt along with other C-SC students and faculty members as part of a three-week study abroad course. “Egypt will be my first travel experience,” she says. “I don’t know if we’ll get as far as the hot springs area, since most of our coursework will be along the Nile, but we’ll get there if we have time.”
EXP@CSC: The Total Learning Experience offers at least one study-abroad course in each three-week term of each semester.
“EXP@CSC is exciting,” Westerhausen adds. “As students, you can concentrate more on what you want to study and get more done in the three-week term. I love being able to explore other cultures without missing classes. I think it’s important to see, in person, how businesses, hospitals, and organizations operate.”
Westerhausen, who is majoring in biological chemistry with an eye on medical school, is also pursuing a minor in music (piano) and has received numerous honors from C-SC in both fields. Westerhausen, a member of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), chose Culver-Stockton because of its DOC affiliation.
“I love Culver-Stockton. I love the size of the campus and being able to recognize everyone on campus. It’s the perfect size for me,” Westerhausen says. “I love knowing the faculty. I’m the kind of student who needs a personal relationship with her teachers to succeed.”
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