May 13, 2011
This summer marks the fourth year that the Belize Problems Without Passports course will be run. Last summer we brought 5 undergraduates to Belize for a week and a half of fieldwork in Southern Belize, exploring Mayan ruins, studying the societal collapse of the Classic Maya civilization and how changing climate may have exacerbated their societal problems. How much fun did the students have? Well, this is just one of the many pictures of smiling students from that class. We had such a good time that we decided to offer the class again this year, incorporating new experiences and improving on the best ones from last year. So where are the students from last year now?
Sarah Wescott, one of our Progressive Degree Program students, is graduating with her BA in ENST from USC and will continue her MA in the fall at USC. She had such a great time in Belize last summer she jumped at the chance to come along again this year as the teaching assistant for the course.
The Belize experience spurred Ira Calos to pursue graduate study. She is graduating from USC this spring and spending her summer at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. Ira was selected and awarded an Energy Research Undergraduate Laboratory Fellowship. She will spend her summer working closely with a team of scientists and will present her research as a scientific paper at the end of the internship program.
So what’s new for this year’s course? This year’s course is the largest yet, with 19 students which is why we added an alumni student TA. We’ll be spending a few extra days in Belize and completing a service-learning project, working with Mayan students at the Tumil K’in Center of Learning, a school for Mayan children. We will also work in the Santa Cruz public schools with Belizean children tutoring then in math, science, and English. The course will also examine modern ecology in Belize, visiting the cayes off the coast for a day of snorkeling and taking a day to visit the Jaguar Reserve in Placencia.
Stay tuned to meet our course staff and this year’s students as we set off for adventure and excitement in Southern Belize!
Dr. Lisa Collins
Lecturer & Academic Advisor
Environmental Studies Program