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AAP Plastino Enrichment Fund marks inaugural year

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The fund’s first recipients reflect on 2024 study abroad experiences, from midnight suppers in Spain to camel caravans in Morocco

Khalid Khider

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AAP alum Khalid Khider on a caravan in the Sahara

Six Associate in Arts Program alumni and one current AAP student were the first beneficiaries of the David A. Plastino Associate in Arts Program Enrichment Fund. Logan Elkins, Khalid Khider, Brayden Moore, Caroline Powell, Alejandro Trujillo-Reyes, and Ibrahim Wilson used the funds to participate in study abroad “micromesters” during winter session in January 2024, while one recipient, former AAP student Shanmarie Salmon, recently returned to the U.S. after participating in the spring 2024 study abroad program in Seville, Spain. She is graduating in spring 2024 from UD’s College of Education and Human Development with her bachelor’s degree in education and a concentration in English as a Second Language.

Established through a generous donation from longtime UD benefactor Dave Plastino AS78, the enrichment fund was created to offer financial support for individual AAP student activities, including study abroad. Each of the seven students in the inaugural group received partial funding toward their 2024 program costs.

“It’s been wonderful to hear from students who have returned from abroad about their life-changing experiences,” said AAP program director and associate professor David Satran, who leads a study abroad program each winter to Greece. “The Plastino scholarship provides a way for us to talk with students about funding opportunities for study abroad that they may have not thought were possible. Students can begin to see themselves abroad.”

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Shanmarie Salmon

AAP alum Shanmarie Salmon near Muelle del Sal in Seville, Spain

Plastino recipient and elementary teacher education grad Shanmarie Salmon said she gained a number of valuable insights during her trip. Salmon plans to teach abroad after graduation, which influenced her choice of study abroad programs. “I wanted to delve into educational differences across countries and enhance my cultural competence,” she said.

Salmon said she did experience some culture shock, such as the drastically different meal times compared with the average American schedule — breakfast at 10 a.m., long lunches that last until late afternoon, and dinner as late as 10 p.m. some evenings. However, she appreciates the insight it has given her into Spanish culture. “The variance in daily routines, such as meal times, has taught me to appreciate and adapt to different perspectives,” she said. “These lessons will be integral as I pursue a career in international education.”

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The fund’s first recipients reflect on 2024 study abroad experiences, from midnight suppers in Spain to camel caravans in Morocco
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