Chinese high school students visit Quad-Cities Campus


Marilynn Bartels, associate professor of biology, speaks to Chinese high school students visiting the Quad-Cities Campus.

Published: July 17, 2012

Black Hawk College welcomed 24 high school students from China on Sunday, July 22 as part of the Rivers as Bridges 2012 program.

The students are from the top third of China’s finest high schools. They are visiting Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin from July 20 through Aug. 6.

View photos and media coverage of the Rivers as Bridges 2012 event at Black Hawk College:

Photos on the Black Hawk College Facebook page
The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus – Chinese students take unique Midwest tour
The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus – Chinese students cap Q-C stay with river visit

Rivers as Bridges examines the sister-river relationship of the Mississippi River in America and the Yangtze River in China. The Yangtze and Mississippi have rich histories and are vital channels of commerce in each nation.

Students are learning scientific procedures in field research, wet labs and hands-on experiments in natural resources sciences with study about air, water, biology, soil, fisheries, wildlife and wetlands.

The students and their 13 chaperones visited the Quad-Cities Campus, touring the new Sustainable Technologies Building, learning about curriculum such as the new Materials Science program, and meeting BHC students.

“The college is really great. I like it,” said sophomore Chunyi Wang.

This is Wang’s first visit to the United States. She doesn’t know yet what college she will attend, but she plans to major in computer science. Most of the students in the group want to go to college in the United States.

“When I was in China, I hadn’t heard about community colleges in the U.S.,” said Dr. Xixuan Collins, Black Hawk College assistant professor of biology and a native of China.

“This was a good opportunity for the Chinese students to know about us and for us to showcase our wonderful facilities and programs,” Collins said.

The project host is the Environment and Public Health Network for Chinese Students and Scholars (ENCSS), based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with members connecting 23 U.S. states and 27 Chinese provinces. ENCSS connects students, scholars, business and government institutions in China, America and other countries to improve the environment and public health.

Maria Ontiveros was one of the two University of Wisconsin-Madison students who coined the phrase Rivers as Bridges. She is the granddaughter of Black Hawk College alumni Bob Ontiveros, chairman and founder of Group O.

Xiaodong Kuang, executive vice president of ENCSS, said he was very impressed with Black Hawk College’s new Sustainable Technologies Building.

“We feel privileged to be the first group to get to see the new building. We will take this information back to introduce to students, family and friends in China,” he said.

Rivers as Bridges also is sponsored by the Quad City Chinese Association. The association hosted a July 24 event on the Rock Island riverfront for the Rivers as Bridges students and chaperones.

For more information about Rivers as Bridges, contact Juanita Zertuche at 309-796-5186 or