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Off the Beaten Path

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The short yellow bus “Juanita” is up and running with diesel smoke flying behind, leaving the summer of 2016 in the dust. Senior and Fine Arts Major Miranda McFarland spent some of her summer in Tahoe working on her bus and traveling.

McFarland spent five weeks in Panama this summer with her friend Rain Bauer after being accepted to her first art residency. She learned about the culture and traditions with her hosts, an indigenous tribe named the Guna Yalas who inhabited the village of Armila, on the border of Columbia.

“We had a workspace to come up with concepts and ideas and brainstorm in our artistic creativity. I didn’t really make anything there; it was more about soaking it all up and learning a lot from the indigenous group. They taught us how to focus in on the femininity and the goddess power,” said McFarland.

She spoke highly of the tribe and their worship with young women. “When a girl gets her menstrual cycle for the first time they have this huge seven-day-long ceremony where they put the girl into this hut that they build (inside their own hut) and she is isolated for seven days as they bring her food and water. On the seventh day they have a huge ceremony and community party in honor and celebration of her womanhood.”

She expressed how important the tradition was in the village and the vast differences from how she grew up in Southern California.

“The highlight of my trip was meeting a lot of incredible people. Every single person I met was bilingual; it was really inspiring. I want to keep practicing my Spanish. I definitely want to keep traveling, too, and go to different art residencies and practice my artwork.”

She spent the rest of the summer working in San Francisco with her uncle, a structural engineer. He taught her how to use AutoCAD, as his drafter, and she has been working with him for two years now.

“I would draft up blueprints for construction sites and houses being remodeled. I go and take measurements and put in into the software, and do the designs from the structural foundations to the roof plans,” said McFarland.  

Senior Richard Evangelista led the freshman orientation group this summer in Desolation Wilderness.

“We spent four nights and five days, with the first night on Sierra Nevada College’s campus and the next day we shuttled to Echo Lakes. It was really fun; it was my second time leading it, and it’s a really good experience for the freshman,” said Evangelista.

Junior Shelby Hawkins went to several country music festivals, including Country Music Festival in Tennessee and Night in the Country in her hometown of Yerington, Nevada. She also went to Burbank, California, to the official Vampire Diaries Convention, her favorite show.

Sophomore Heidi Peinthor, double majoring in Business Marketing and Fine Arts, also spent her summer traveling and working in Tahoe.


“I went on a trip to Mount Hood in Oregon for three weeks and lived in a van. I had never been there before, so seeing everything was new to me and how green everything was, the waterfalls, and snowboarding in the summer was pretty rad.”

For the remainder of her summer, Peinthor stayed local in Tahoe, hanging out with friends, going on hikes and soaking up the beach every day after work.

With school in full swing, we can wish our summers goodbye and look forward to the upcoming events and activities at SNC.

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Off the Beaten Path