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Hamilton Awarded Grant; Connects Meramec and Middle Eastern Students

November 13, 2012

Student using Soliya Connect  
A student chats using the Soliya Connect Program.

St. Louis Community College-Meramec recently was awarded a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council in the amount of $2,500 to support a project titled, “The Middle East in Midwest: Intercultural Chat Rooms in the World Lit Classroom.”

Angela Hamilton, associate professor in English at Meramec, developed the grant proposal for this project, which is through the non-profit organization Soliya and its Connect program. This program brings together university students from the West and Middle East for dialogue on post 9-11 issues.

Students in Hamilton’s world literature class will interact in real time with students from European and Middle Eastern universities, discussing topics such as politics and religion, expanding their ideas of what Middle Easterners represent.

While on sabbatical, Hamilton researched organizations linked to the United States Institute of Peace. She volunteered for Soliya as a co-facilitator in online discussions, during which time she discovered the Connect program.

“I knew that Soliya’s Connect program would be extremely beneficial for my students,” Hamilton said. “I worked with Institutional Development (office) to find a way to fund the project.”

Hamilton has high hopes for participating students.

“My hope is this will shape STLCC students into educated viewers of the media and help them become our next ambassadors of international goodwill," she said. "Their experiences with Soliya will reverberate within their families and communities. I look forward to seeing these effects.”

St. Louis Community College is the first community college in the United States and the first higher education institution in Missouri to participate in the Connect program.