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Cover Story: Oh the Places We Go!

  • Author:
    Paula M. Davenport
  • Published:
    Summer 2014
            No matter where you travel, you’re likely to run into someone or something with a Spartan connection. Spartans are an intrepid, intelligent and altruistic bunch. Last year alone, Spartans could be found in every corner of the globe. 
            They may have been working, learning, volunteering or simply enjoying themselves.
            Many of them took sumptuous photographs of the landscapes, people and cultural touchstones in such places as Bolivia, Malawi, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Mongolia, Portugal and Europe.
            On the following pages, you’ll find some of their images. All were recently lauded in MSU’s annual Global Focus photo competition.  
            International Studies and Programs, in partnership with the MSU Alumni Association, sponsors the friendly photography challenge to highlight the involvement of the MSU community around the world.
            We hope this selection of this year’s winning images will mentally transport you to some of the amazing locations touched by Spartans.
            Perhaps you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and the photography bug. That can be a costly combination. 
            To help you get up to speed, we turned to a Spartan alumni couple. Don Roberts is a former IBM engineer. His wife Bethany A. Roberts is a former school teacher. Both graduated in the Class of 1962.
            Their award-winning images have frequently been honored in the MSU Global Focus competition – begun in 1999.
            The couple didn’t dabble in photography until their retirement years. However, their frequent visits to museums and galleries over the years gave them a solid grounding in the art of good composition, Don Roberts says.
             “We most enjoy locations where indigenous people continue to keep most of their traditions. That includes the U.S., where we’ve visited Native American communities,” he says.
            Don Roberts says outside the U.S., you don’t have to speak a foreign language to approach someone about taking their photograph. You do need to be a people person and that needs to come through in your approach. Most of the time, smiling at someone is enough for them to allow their photograph to be taken. He says in some instances you may also want to offer a small gratuity.
            Check out Don Roberts’ blog and a gallery of his photos at: and