Andy Ray Travels the World — Faculty Highlight

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By Dani Moritz-Long

109 cities. 29 countries. One awe-inspiring trip around the world.

This was Building Construction Technology Professor Andy Ray’s itinerary for his 2015 sabbatical, in which he journeyed throughout the western hemisphere from country to country in search of expanding his faculty-insight-news-idknowledge of alternative and renewable energy production, 3D printing applied to manufacturing, historical architectural sites, and construction processes and techniques for integrating technology into the classroom.

His travels took him across borders to Scandinavia, which included a stop at Akershus College in Lillestrøm, Norway — where he learned about the College’s product design through metalworking, woodworking and 3D printing — to the architectural monuments of Eastern Europe in cities like St. Petersburg, Russia, and Warsaw, Poland.

andy-ray-270wHe then traveled to Germany to witness Berlin’s expansive solar power installations — stationed at former Nazi Luftwaffe (Germany’s World War II aerial warfare branch) bases — before journeying onward to the Netherlands, Belgium and France, where he continued his analysis of European construction. He visited Spain to tour wind farms and universities and experienced what Andy coins “cultural and architectural gems.” Of course, Andy’s adventure didn’t end there. He went on to the Czech Republic, Turkey, Italy and, finally, Iceland — discovering something new and invigorating every step of the way.

Throughout his travels, Andy gained key insights on how educational institutions around the world blend technology in the classroom to teach construction and manufacturing, found inspiration for future study abroad trips with the potential to showcase renewable energy to student participants and found renewed vigor in his passion for teaching a generation of tomorrow’s builders.

Perhaps most important, however, was the connection Andy gained to the world — and the kind of grounding that inherently manifests itself in the kind cross-cultural adventure Andy experienced.

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Although Andy personally funded his trip, he’s grateful to Valencia for permitting him sabbatical leave — which allotted him his normal salary and covered his courses during his absence, making it possible for him to travel, recharge and expand his knowledge.

“Thanks to the Foundation, this trip allowed me to visit some amazing places, including five colleges and universities where our students could study abroad,” he said.

He’s also extremely grateful that his wife was able to join him for 144 days of the trip and they were able to enjoy the perfect vacation getaway via a Mediterranean cruise they embarked on in the middle of their journey. After all, it’s not every day we’re able to perfectly combine a quest for knowledge and fun.

Looking forward, Andy plans to adapt his educational experiences in the classroom setting and beyond as he sets his sights on future travel abroad opportunities that will give his students a first-hand look at the world we have built and the world we can build.

To learn more about Andy’s adventures, visit his keenly titled blog, www.arayfarfaraway.wordpress.com.

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