IRR graduates find a calling in war-torn Ukraine

Frightened families huddled together trying to keep warm despite tattered and journey-warn clothing.  Any loud noise—even a honking car horn—makes them jump as if bombs are falling. These Ukrainians are just looking for a safe place to stay, and Andrew and Kelila Saunders are helping to provide for those families.

Refugee Migration Crisis: Learn and Act

For Dr. Ed Allen, a Bible and religious studies scholar and professor at Union College, watching the plight of refugees around the world meant more than just another bad story flashing by on the evening news.

“I was moved by the photos and news reports of refugees, particularly the three year old whose body washed up on the shores of Turkey and the refugees in Hungary,” said Allen. When he discovered the immensity of the worldwide refugee crisis, he starting planning an event to bring awareness to problem. 

New Exhibit: Sharing Light Around the World

On March 5 a new exhibit featuring the stories of thirty Union College alumni honored with golden cords opened in the library's gallery.

IRR seniors head to Nicaragua

On January 19, seven International Relief and Rescue students, alongside IRR instructor Aaron Kent, traveled to Nicaragua for their annual overseas semester—the final step in completing the degree.

This year’s group includes seniors Emilian Grigor, Amy Matsuda, Jonatan Rojas, Shannice Baker, Tyler Underwood, Tylar Bissell, and Connar Kragel.

While in Nicaragua, students will obtain experience in the fields of medicine, community interactions, and international development.

Campus clubs build leadership skills

Like many student leaders at Union College, Sameera Sigdel didn't go looking to be in charge. But thanks to Union's leadership minor and campus work experience, when the time came she was ready.

Born and raised in Nepal, Sigdel first arrived in America in 2009 to attend Campion Academy in Colorado. Told that it was a safe place for international students to attend school, Sigdel started classes that September—a choice that set her on the path to Union College.

Video: Why I chose International Rescue and Relief

Matthew Russell, who graduated with a degree in International Rescue and Relief in 2014, explains why he liked the IRR program and what makes it so unique.
To learn more, visit

Iraq memorial service aims to begin healing, reconciliation

“We received nonstop phone calls begging us for help,” said Laila Khoudeida, a Lincoln woman whose Yazidi family immigrated to the U.S. when she was 12. “I cannot sit around and do nothing about what they are telling me.”

The Yazidi are a group of Kurdish-speaking people who live largely in northern Iraq. In early August, President Obama drew attention to the slaughter and persecution of Yazidis by ISIL in Iraq when he authorized food drops and air strikes to help save a UN estimated 40,000 people trapped on Mount Sinjar.

Nursing students learn in the Nicaraguan jungle

“Lindsay, get up, there is a woman in labor that needs our help.” The voice from the darkness jarred Union College nursing major Lindsay Harrison from her midnight slumber.  As her mind cleared of its sleepy grogginess, suddenly the hot Nicaraguan jungle, the villagers and her Frontier Nursing class came flooding back into her consciousness.

She quickly jumped from her resting place and discovered the disembodied voice belonged to Adam Neep, a Union international rescue and relief student who had come to take her to the laboring mother in the nearby village.

Across the Unionerse: Kylie Schnell

Photo of Kylie with Nepali children.

Kylie Schnell, a 2011 alumna, joins hosts Emily Wood and Scott Cushman to talk about making friends, moving to Nepal and loving children. 

International Rescue and Relief Students' training culminates in Nicaragua

“Glue the pipe together here,” he indicated with one hand, “and angle the ninety-degree elbow up, like so.” He tweaked the joint, stepped back to admire his work, and proclaimed, “That’s a finished product.”

Posed over a jumble of PVC pipes, brackets, angles, elbows, and drills, Carl Ladd resembled more of a mad scientist than an International Rescue and Relief contract instructor. The contraption at his feet seemed like a prop from some fantasy film instead of a water pump.


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