Rio Grande, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College Madog Center for Welsh Studies welcomes its new intern Dan Rowbotham, a 2016 graduate in Performing Arts from University of Wales, Trinity Saint David. Director for the Madog Center Jeanne Jindra said Oak Hill residents Evan and Elizabeth Davis sponsor the internship to bring a fluent Welsh speaker to Rio and provide a Welsh dynamic to campus life and community activities.
“Dan possesses all of the skills we look for in a Welsh intern. He is first-language Welsh, and he also took his entire education in the language. He has an interesting tie to this area because he is from Southwest Wales, which is where many of Southeast Ohio’s Welsh settlers came from in the 1800s,” Jindra said. “We are very excited to have Dan here on campus because he came highly recommended for this internship. It was originally developed because there are so few fluent Welsh speakers here, and we want to foster understanding and appreciation for our area’s Welsh heritage. One of the goals of the Madog Center’s mission is to include contemporary Wales into sharing Welsh culture, so it’s really nice to have a young person from Wales for this internship. Dan is the fifth intern we’ve had since I came to Rio to help us represent Wales and our heritage both on campus and in the community.”
Rowbotham comes to Rio from the small village of Llangeitho in the Aeron Valley of Wales. Following his graduation from Trinity St. David, he became president of the student union, representing students from all of UWTSD’s campuses and has also served as president of Yr Urdd, a charity providing Welsh language extra-curricular activities for young people along with an annual eisteddfod, a competitive music festival. He was awarded the Meredydd Evans Memorial Prize by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, the National Welsh College, in 2016, which recognizes a student’s contribution to Welsh culture and life within the wider university. Along with his internship, Rowbotham is a student in the Integrated Arts graduate program. He said he has enjoyed his first month in America and is excited to continue his education at Rio and share Welsh culture with the community.
“I think Rio has a unique connection with Wales, which extends to the community and in my experience it’s important to come to experience the area and the community as well as the school. So far I’m loving this area because it’s so different, yet so similar to home with the Welsh dragons everywhere,” Rowbotham said. “My classes have been very interesting. One of the biggest differences is this is the first time my education has been in the English language. I’m also hoping to incorporate skills from my classes such as grant writing and learning theory into my internship as we work closely with community groups, museums and schools through the Madog Center.”
Rowbotham plans to earn his Masters of Integrated Arts Degree and return to Wales in 2020. He said that while in America, he is excited to share his love of Wales with Americans as he becomes involved in campus, local school and community activities.