McDonough Scholars blogging while studying abroad this spring

Laura Aldrich '10 is more than 3,000 miles away from the Marietta College campus studying abroad at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador this semester.

Want to know how the Plymouth, N.H., native is doing?

"I am almost miserably sick from the smog and altitude of Quito (2,820 meters or 9,252 feet, which is almost twice as high as Denver, Colo). Known as 'altitude sickness,' it should pass soon, but it is a frustrating and sometimes a scary challenge since over-the-counter medicines don't help and I have never felt short of breath before," Aldrich recently wrote on her blog (

Aldrich is one of nine Marietta College students, all McDonough Scholars, who are keeping a blog this spring while studying abroad in places like China, Costa Rica, France, Ireland, Scotland, Senegal and Spain. All of the blogs can be found at

During their junior year, many McDonough Scholars choose to study abroad as part of the experiential requirement for the major in International Leadership Studies and the minor in Leadership Studies. While abroad, they participate in the McDonough Worldwide Blogging Program, which encourages leadership students to reflect on their study-abroad experiences. For the students studying abroad, blogging also becomes an opportunity to exchange ideas with students taking sophomore-level Leadership 203 (Global Leadership). The Global Leadership students are required to follow at least two of the blogs and write comments during the spring semester.

"This initiative is a very innovative way to link the students' study-abroad experiences with the materials students are discussing in the classroom," said Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of McDonough. "Through the blogs, the upper-class Leadership students will help the sophomores expand their knowledge of the world. That's exciting!"

The other student bloggers are Stephanie Gelo '10 (Postville, Iowa) and Jennifer Gibson '10 (Lebanon, Ohio) in China; Grace O'Dell '10 (Buffalo, N.Y.) in Costa Rica; Blakely Dye '10 (Toledo, Ohio) in France; Melissa Varga '10 (Canal Fulton, Ohio) in Ireland; Katy Black '10 (Canal Winchester, Ohio) in Scotland; Miranda Beha '10 (Albany, Ohio) in Senegal and Anna Bjerstedt '10 (Franklin, Ohio). Jack Brossart '10 (Mount Airy, Md.) may also join the group in February from China upping the total number of bloggers to 10.

"The countries represented this year literally cover the globe and the bloggers also have majors and minors in a wide variety of fields," Perruci said. "This is consistent with the leadership program's mission to benefit students from all academic areas across campus. The Leadership 203 students will start writing their comments next week, but the bloggers have already started posting entries. I expect the dialogue to be in full swing by the end of this month."

The McDonough Center is named in honor of Bernard P. McDonough (1903-85), a self-made industrialist and entrepreneur who ran wide-ranging global business interests from his Marmac Corporation headquarters in Parkersburg, W.Va. From humble beginnings, he built an industrial empire after World War II with diverse holdings, including concrete plants, construction companies, shoe factories, marine barges, lawn and garden tool factories, and sand and gravel operations.

In 1986, through a generous $5.5 million gift from McDonough's wife, Alma McDonough, and the McDonough Foundation, Marietta College established the Bernard P. McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. The Center offered one of the first comprehensive undergraduate leadership programs in the United States.