Dr. Nancy G. Rosoff, dean of graduate and undergraduate studies, recently engaged with a group of high school students in Linköping, Sweden to discuss the experience of being an American voter.
The students are in their first year at Berzeliusskolan gymnasium, in a three-year natural science program. My Palmgren Medin teaches English and history and one focus of her teaching this fall is the American election.
“As a teacher of English it is important not only to teach the language but also the different cultures and societies that are connected to it,” said Medin. “Seeing as it is an election year in the United States, I thought it could be beneficial for my students to not only learn about the political system, but also learn about how it is experienced by an American voter. I asked Dr. Rosoff to have a Zoom chat with my students about the experience of going to the polls in the US.”
The students asked questions about voter registration, the process of voting, and the electoral college, as well as barriers to voting. One student commented, “It was very interesting to hear about the U.S. and the voting system from a person with experience in it.”
"It was great to be in a classroom with teenagers interested in learning about politics,” said Dr. Rosoff, who taught high school social studies for many years. “Their questions were thoughtful and made me reflect on many aspects of our voting practices. We had an especially lively discussion about the role and future of the electoral college. The students were very well prepared for our discussion."
Dr. Rosoff met Medin while participating in a weekly trivia quiz that grew out of a Facebook group for listeners of the History Chicks podcast. The quiz began as a response to lockdown.
“I thought it would be for a week or two, if anyone turned up at all,” said Sarah Donnelly, from Northern Ireland, who organizes the trivia nights and serves as quizmaster. “I thought it would be for a week or two, if anyone turned up at all. Little did I know it would be going 28 weeks later and I would have made friends in Sweden, England, and the U.S. Nancy, My, and I are such good friends now, even though we have never met. I message them more than my own friends. The weekly trivia has become something to look forward to every week, so much so that a few of us are making plans to meet up when this pandemic is all over.”