The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

Get the Cal Times delivered to your Inbox!


PennWest Offering Trip to the Galapagos

Professor of History, Sean Madden, Has Been All Over the World, but Never Here
EF Tours
Charting the Galapagos Islands

Sean Madden is on the move again.

The worldly professor, who has been at PennWest California since 1989, has partnered up yet again with Education First Tours, known more simply as EF Tours, a company specializing in taking college students around the world to “bring education to life, unlock new potential, and open a world of possibilities,” all through the medium of travel.

This time, though, Madden enters a world he’s never seen: The Galapagos Islands, off of the coast of Ecuador. Ever the colorful personality, Madden stated simply why this trip stuck out to him.

“I look for areas that combine a variety of interests, ranging from architecture to environment to food to gender,” he said. “Ecuador–where we will start—and the Galapagos are a lot more than big turtles.”

Story continues below advertisement

Chaz Berkshire, a Junior studying Interdisciplinary Business and Commerce in Tourism and Hospitality Management, echoes the same sentiments, having recently gone with him on a trip to Scandinavia. According to Berkshire, this trip promises something different, with the same friendly atmosphere commonly attributed to a Madden excursion.

“What drew me to the Galapagos Islands is the uniqueness compared to everywhere else on Earth,” he said. “There are pristine landscapes and wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else. After such a positive experience with Dr. Madden to Scandinavia, I immediately knew this was a trip I wanted to participate in.”

The trip will run for 9 days, starting on March 3, 2025. With a daunting price tag of $4,269 per person, everyone confirmed for the trip understands that they will need to raise some money. No one knows that more than Madden himself.

“Yes, we are going to try, and this one is tricky,” he said, “Ideally, if you raise funds, you want all of those who participated to share in the benefits. But it’s tricky because different travelers enroll at different times. We have some ideas and we’re gonna give it a go.”

A GoFundMe has reportedly been set up by the group to elicit donations from the public.

Participants can expect to see the various flora and fauna that helped to establish Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, including the world-famous giant tortoises and flamingoes, as well as the ever-popular finches and mockingbirds that populate the various islands.

Also included is a tour of the Ecuadorian town of Quito, as well as an exploratory excursion to the Equator.

Mia Elizabeth Swanson, a Secondary Education Biology major, has never been on a trip with Madden. In fact, Swanson has only ever been outside of the US to Canada. The Galapagos interested her in the same way it interests the world: nature.

“I have always loved nature and the outdoors, so a beautiful place like the Galapagos would be a top option of travel for me,” she said. “This is going to be a once in a lifetime kind of experience, so I knew that I had to go on this trip. Being a secondary Ed. Biology major, I have obviously learned all about Charles Darwin and his adventures to the Galapagos Islands.”

Swanson sees this as an opportunity to become more in touch with the things that she will teach in the future.

“Just thinking about telling my future students of my trip to the Galapagos Islands excites me more than it should,” she said. “I fear that some may never hear the end of it.”

Madden may be the biggest proponent of world travel on PennWest California’s campus, and he wears it like a badge of honor. When asked why students should travel the world, his answer packed a punch, like it always does.

“It is my belief that to know the world, and the people in it, you must see the world and meet the people,” he said, “So much of our knowledge of the world is, especially now, based on headlines or political initiatives, and that is not what the world is, nor what the people are. See it for yourself.”

Students can see the full itinerary and register for the trip by going to the link below.

Charting the Galápagos Islands | EF Educational Tours (

Students can also donate to the GoFundMe page at the link below.

Fundraiser by Dr James Krebs : Supporting Cultural and Educational Exploration (

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Andrew Havens
Andrew Havens, News/Reviews Editor
Andrew Havens is a staff writer for the CalTimes and a Junior Communications Studies major with a minor in Marketing. Being from right across the river in Brownsville, PA, Andrew knows and loves the local community, trying his hardest to show off the amazing people in his hometown as well as his university. Andrew is just starting to pick up real-world writing and marketing experience, interning for both and Heartland Fabrication over the summer, as a staff writer and marketing intern respectively. The research gathering process is his favorite part of the job, because: "if you've researched correctly, the story just falls together!" You can find Andrew all over campus: attending meetings with the Graphic Design Club, writing away furiously on his laptop, working up a sweat at the gym, or simply getting his favorite sushi from Umami. He is entering his second year writing for the CalTimes.

Comments (0)

All Cal Times Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *