Rachael Swanson, Pacific, entertained members of the Pacific P.E.O Chapter BU at their July 12 meeting with stories of a trip to Barcelona, Spain, and Ireland.

Swanson went to Europe with a group of students from Cottey College, which is owned and operated by P.E.O.

The portion of the trip in Barcelona was the class trip for the seniors and included experiential learning modules. After a week in Spain, Swanson and five of her classmates went on to Ireland.

Some highlights included staying in a bed and breakfast, seeing the Cliffs of Moher and experiencing St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

After her trip to Europe, Rachael followed in the footsteps of her mother, Colleen Mealer Swanson, and Aunt Karen Mealer Belleville, and graduated from Cottey in May 2012 with an associate degree.

Cottey College is a two-year liberal arts and sciences college for women in Nevada, Mo.

More than 95 percent of Cottey graduates transfer to a four-year school, and Cottey has recently added several four-year programs to its curriculum.

Cottey is one of the projects of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization), an international sisterhood with the mission of promoting educational opportunities for women. These include a loan fund for post-secondary education, grants for women whose education has been interrupted, and scholarships for international students, graduating high school seniors and women pursuing doctoral degrees.

For more information on the projects, see www.peointernational.org

Colleen Swanson is president of Pacific P.E.O. Chapter BU and attended the state convention held in Columbia, Mo., in June along with more than 320 delegates. Next summer, the Pacific chapter BU will be celebrating its 100th anniversary at the state convention that will be held at Lake of the Ozarks.

Colleen’s mother, Marge Mealer, sister, Karen Belleville, and her two daughters, Rachael and Natalie, are among the 30 members of Chapter BU.