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Snakes in a communication class?

I am not a snake person. There are people out there who find the slimy, sometimes life-threatening reptiles interesting or cool, but I am not one of those people. I certainly would never go out of my way to see a snake. As a business communication POE, I never expected a college course to somehow land me two feet away from a four-foot Eastern Ratsnake.

Last week, I traveled to Shaver’s Creek with my Group Communication class. This class focuses on the communication and problem-solving within groups. We have small groups formed within the class which work together to assist local organizations in the community while also learning how to put our skills to use. The object of the field trip was to complete team-building activities in order to bond within our groups and learn how our groups can function most efficiently. Shaver’s Creek is a Penn State environmental center that facilitates team-building activities that provide important insights into how one’s team functions. The center also has animal care and conservation programs. An additional perk of visiting was seeing the raptor aviary and reptile room.

As we explored the reptile room, I heard two of my classmates whose programs of emphasis are wildlife conservation talking about some of the animals. The two wildlife conservation POEs spouted weird facts as an English POE, a design POE, and myself listened. My curious classmates then asked a worker how the snakes were fed which somehow led to my me and my friends being led to a private room to see a Ratsnake eating, or more like slowly inhaling, an entire rat. I didn’t quite know how to feel about being two feet away from a dining snake, but it was certainly something I will never forget. I joked with my professor saying I wasn’t expecting to see a snake feeding on my group communication field trip and she simply quipped, “That’s a liberal arts education for ya”.

 A liberal arts education has meant a lot to me in my past year and a half at Juniata. Although my concentration is business and communication, I have taken a variety of classes ranging from accounting to mindfulness to nutrition. I have talked to professors who do contract work for the State department, helped facilitate peace for Australian indigenous populations, or have worked in the music industry producing. I’ve done team-building activities and seen a snake eat a whole rat. I’ve had a wide range of experiences all thanks to the fact that I attend a college focused on creating well-rounded and complex students.

Talia Bertrando ’22 – Business Communication with Spanish POE, Small town Bon Vivant usually found on a sports field or singing something stuck in her head