Bringing UMPI to D.C.

      During the spring break of 2023, Dr. Jacqui Lowman brought 10 students and two service dogs to Washington, D.C. The students who went are part of clubs advised by Dr. J. The two clubs – University Times and International Students – worked together with Dr. J to make this journey to Washington possible. “I really appreciate how the club and the school supported us and how all of the students and also Dr. J helped each other,” Yunqian Zhan – senior at UMPI—said. 

     Yunqian, Dr. J  and the rest of the group got to see many new things because each day was an opportunity to see something new. “I liked the botanic garden and the art museum,” Yunqian said. The botanic garden is a huge garden with plants from all around the world. “It is an indoor garden and it’s really well designed. There were multiple different chambers with different plants from other climate zones,” Sheng Yan — junior at UMPI– said. The garden was a change of scenery from the northern Maine pine trees. “It was really good for guys like us –in the north—to be able to see,” Sheng said.

      Apart from the botanic garden, there were many Smithsonian museums in Washington that Dr. J and the group explored. They saw everything from dinosaur bones to famous paintings. “The National Art Gallery was my favorite part. There were a lot of authentic paintings by famous artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Da Vinci. And it was not even crowded there,” Sheng said. Even though the museums are free to the public, many people do not take the opportunity to go. This may be because of how much the city of Washington has to offer.

      Washington, D.C., is a big place and the group had only four days to explore. Some of the students and Dr. J took the Big Bus tour to see many of the tourist spots that the city has to offer. “The weather was very nice while on the top part of the tour bus. And also, the layout was very nice and the commenter was very good, too. It was comfortable. How the city is laid-out with monuments, is very nice,” Wesley Wu –senior at UMPI—said. Even though D.C. is a big city, the monuments make D.C. easy to navigate. “I like Washington. I think it’s better than Boston because the roads in Boston look all the same and I get confused,” Shafil Kabir Turzo – sophomore at UMPI—said.

      Each monument has captured big pieces of American history. But none of those monuments could compare to the one place in Washington D.C., that everyone knows something about – the White House. “The White House was my favorite part because it is a famous place. Everyone knows about the White House, especially in our country. It was a great opportunity. It’s a big deal for me. I took lots of pictures to show people back home,” Shafil said. “I was expecting that they would be more strict…. I tried touching one of the paintings and the security guy said, ‘Don’t touch!’” The group got to go through the building and looked into many different rooms. The students had hoped to maybe see Joe Biden. But even though he was not around, the trip was memorable. “It was not exactly what I expected. But overall, I liked the trip,” Sheng said. 

      In those four days, the group had seen enough of D.C. to be satisfied with the trip. For Dr. J, the trip was successful and something that may happen again in the future. “It went very well. We would like to do this again someday,” Dr. J said. “We are very proud of everyone who went with us.”

Dr. J with Saint and Dusty Lowman, Wenjun Teng, Wesley Wu, Shafil Kabir Turzo, Sheng Yan, Yunlong Li, Fan Mo, Megan Waceken, and Mikey Bramble in the White House.