2008 Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellows

Maria Cristina Garcia, Professor, Department of History, Arts & Sciences

The service-learning course “Immigration” (HIST 485) introduces undergraduate students to the history of immigration to the United States since 1965; the immigration and refugee policies that have facilitated the entry of various groups; contemporary debates about immigration control; the transnational ties of immigrants to their homelands; guest workers programs; and the special needs of today’s immigrant populations.

An essential component of the course is the service project where students can work with a variety of local agencies and organizations that address the needs of the immigrant and refugee populations of Tompkins County. The course was first offered in the fall of 2007. The Kaplan Family Fellowship will help further develop the course. In the fall of 2008, for example, interested students will have the opportunity to participate in a new oral history project that documents the experiences of first generation immigrants in the local area. Students will also take part in at least one field trip: to the Batavia Detention Facility outside of Buffalo, New York, and to the Immigration Court in Batavia. The fellowship will be used to purchase films, books, recording and transcribing equipment, and video recording equipment.

Maria Cristina Garcia earned her BA in American Studies from Georgetown University and her MA and PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She taught at Texas A&M for nine years before joining the faculty of the History department at Cornell University in 1999. Garcia teaches courses on 20th century US history, immigration history, Latino Studies, and Cuban history. She is the author of Havana USA: Cuban Exiles and Cuban Americans in South Florida (1996) and Seeking Refuge: Central American migration to Mexico, the United States, and Canada (2006), both published by the University of California Press. She is also the author of several articles and book chapters on immigration history, and serves on the editorial board of several journals including the Journal of American History and Cuban Studies/Estudios Cubanos.

Paul Eshelman & Gary Evans, Professors, Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, Human Ecology

For ten years students in two courses in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, DEA 250 and DEA 301, have been collaborating in a richly structured semester-long service learning experience. The structure for this experience consists of a number of interrelated components including: clear role differentiation among collaborators, information-based design, design for a special population, community engagement to promote intrinsic motivation, and modeling design ideas in full-scale. These components will be applied in a collaborative, service-learning experience that engages students in both courses in a collaborative design process with residents and staff at Kendal at Ithaca. The challenge is to use interior design as a means for promoting vitality in elder years.

Gary Evans is the Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology. He is an Environmental and Developmental Psychologist interested in how the physical environment influences children’s development. He feels privileged to be able to work closely with Cornell students and colleagues like Paul Eshelman who are talented, dedicated, and committed to using their skills and abilities to make a differences in the lives of people.

Professor Paul Eshelman holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois, in industrial design.  Before coming to Cornell, he designed train interiors for Amtrak in Washington, D.C., and furniture for Herman Miller Research Corporation, Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1990-94 he was Editor of the Journal of Interior Design, the only refereed journal currently serving the field of interior design. At Cornell, he is an award winning teacher of interior and furniture design. His teaching and research interest is design for special populations--groups of individuals who deviate from the norm in society due to stage in human development, aging, injury, disease, or genetic abnormalities. Professor Eshelman incorporates community service as a learning component into each of the courses he teaches. For over ten years his students in DEA 301, a third year interior design studio, have collaborated with students in Professor Gary Evans’ course, DEA 250/660, Environment and Social Behavior, to develop interior designs for special populations including people with Alzheimer’s in residential care facilities, college students with physical disabilities residing in residence halls, and at-risk youth as members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.