Psychology professor to present research

Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, psychology professor and department chair at Northwestern College, will present her research at the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) annual conference Nov. 4–7 in Berlin, Germany.

Feenstra will present her work with her mother, Dr. Cheryl Feenstra, nursing professor at Calvin College, and Dr. Michael Woolf, deputy president and chief academic officer of CAPA International Education. Dr. William Hyndman, assistant vice president for international education and development at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and former director of Northwestern’s global education department, will serve as chair of the session.

Conference participants who attend the presentation, “Religion Matters: Religion, Diversity and Study Abroad,” will hear about the role of religion in study abroad programs from the perspective of faculty members who have led programs in countries such as India, Ethiopia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. Attendees will also learn about the role of religion in off-campus experiences from the point of view of an administrator who manages a global education program and an administrator of an international education organization.

“Although many study abroad programs focus on diversity, religion is often neglected in discussions,” says Jennifer Feenstra. “Religion is a vital aspect of many different cultures and is important to students in defining their own identity. Students, therefore, must understand religion’s role within a culture to more fully comprehend and relate to that culture.” The session will address why religion matters to study abroad programs and what faculty and administrators can do to better integrate religion into study abroad experiences.

A member of Northwestern’s faculty since 2003, Feenstra holds research interests in social support, volunteering and service learning. Her research has been published in numerous journals, and she serves as the faculty adviser for Northwestern’s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. In 2011–12, Feenstra was named a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded a sabbatical to teach and research in Romania. She currently serves on the Poland/Romania Fulbright peer review committee.

A graduate of Calvin College, Feenstra earned two master’s degrees and a doctorate from the University of New Hampshire.

CIEE is a nonprofit organization and world leader in international education and exchange. For over six decades, the organization has helped thousands of people gain the knowledge and skills necessary to live and work in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world by offering comprehensive, relevant and valuable study abroad and exchange programs.