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Reynolds ’25 and Weilbaker ’25 Find Room to Grow in Athens

It wasn’t the usual immersion experience, but for Preston Reynolds ’25 and Logan Weilbaker ’25, the impacts were all the same.

Reynolds and Weilbaker are consultants in the Wabash Writing Center and accompanied director Zachery Koppelmann to a summit of sorts in Athens, Greece, to discuss best practices with Student Academic Support Services personnel at the American College of Greece (ACG).

The duo experienced hands-on learning, new ways to think about writing center operations, and a burst of energy to share these new ideas. Some of the gains come from seeing how things work on a greater scale.

“There is a certain amount of perspective that you get from any trip, going somewhere and experiencing something new,” said Reynolds, a history major from Fishers, Indiana. “The American College of Greece is servicing five or six times the number of students that we are and they are working on a vast number of subjects in many ways that we can't. It helped me understand there's room to grow.”

Reynolds and Weilbaker (left and right, facing camera) chat with SASS staff and students at the American College of Greece. Other gains are the result of a shared passion.

“We got to meet with people who are really enthusiastic about their work,” said Weilbaker. “It reminded me that a huge key to success is passion, the kind I saw in them. Now, I feel more that passion more myself.”

Koppelmann made a visit to the ACG last year and discovered there was a lot of information that he and his counterparts wanted to share, which would benefit from a more intentional cultural exchange, so they worked out a plan for a future visit with two active student consultants.

This visit featured two full days on campus engaging in conversations with facilitators and students.

Koppelmann knew things were going well when his protégés were in a small meeting room with eight ACG students talking through ideas. Two hours later, he and his ACG counterpart could hear the conversation and feel the energy spilling out from behind the closed door.

“They were so energetic,” Koppelman said. “There was so much back and forth.

“As time went on,” he continued, “I could see them being viewed as peers with a different expertise. That’s very rewarding.”

In addition to the dialog, both Reynolds and Weilbaker had research questions to answer and cultural opportunities to pursue like visiting the Acropolis and Theater of Dionysus. All of that contributed to a memorable spring break experience.

“Working with the American College of Greece opened my eyes to how much fun it can be to work with other students and other writing centers,” Reynolds said. “I had a lot of fun with what I thought going in was going to be busy work. That changed my mindset and allowed me to enjoy this to the fullest.”

For Weilbaker, a native of Scottsburg, Indiana, his Greek minor came into play more than anticipated as he quickly became a translator for his traveling companions. He found it valuable to have the ability, especially with all the plaques and signs at the ancient sites the trio visited.

Weilbaker was particularly proud of his effort to work through the language while at the Acropolis translating the Weilbaker (from left), Reynolds, and Koppelmann at Arachova, not far from Delphi, Greece. story of two Greek teens who removed the Nazi flag from that location during Germany’s World War II occupation.

The experience brought so much into focus for the theater major.

“It was a huge eye opener because it touched on everything I've been studying this year,” said Weilbaker. “We got to see Greek theaters, like Dionysus on the Acropolis, which we learned about in my stagecraft class, the history and language in my Greek classes, as well as the writing center stuff. This trip was a big combination of everything.”

Leaving Athens with those good feelings didn’t change the primary goal of returning to campus with ideas to strengthen the Wabash Writing Center.

“That's why we go,” explained Weilbaker. “The hope is to bring back valuable information that we can share with everybody and improve the group as a whole.”