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By Land and Sea, STEM Students Study Abroad


There’s a great big world of off-campus studies, and it’s not just for art history or French majors. To help prove the point, biology major Angel Pichardo ’17 gave a talk at a recent Hamilton College colloquium about his semester in DIS Copenhagen. His program focused on biomedicine and drug development. The experience, says Pichardo, was the best four months of his life.

Hamilton’s Off-Campus Study office held the colloquium in part to spread the word about the abundance of worldwide study opportunities in “STEM” or science, technology, engineering and math. Students in STEM disciplines are underrepresented in study abroad, despite their need to learn to function in a global milieu and to handle complex global problems, says Carolyn North, assistant dean of off-campus study.

With Copenhagen as home base, Pichardo visited eight countries – and earned four Hamilton credits, two of them in biology, in the Copenhagen program. Through fieldwork and more traditional academics, he pursued his interest in epidemiology, biomedicine and the pharmaceutical industry. Pichardo minors in math.

Joany Lamur ’17, who also spoke at the colloquium, hit four continents during her semester off campus. She took part in the School for International Training’s International Honors Program, which allows students to study in multiple countries.

Lamur spent more time learning outside a classroom than in it as her semester unfolded in the U.S., Vietnam, South Africa and Argentina. She focused on health and community, globalization and culture, work that dovetailed with her on-campus agenda. As an interdisciplinary studies major, Lamur studies genetics and social justice. She also majors in Hispanic studies.

As she and Pichardo made their cases for science study abroad, four other Hamilton students were incidentally doing the same far from College Hill, in a floating classroom. They are among 26 students nationally doing environmental studies out of a tall-ship research vessel in Polynesia, through the SEA Semester program. Participants are required to stay off the internet except to post entries on the SEA Currents blog. Based on what Hamilton students posted, they are fully engaged, even watch-standing with the crew.

“Things have been shaken up aboard the Robert C. Seamans today! Around 0200 last night, right after the dawn watch had taken over for the early morning, we sailed into the low pressure system that was moving towards Tonga. Fear not, we are all safe and sound and enjoying the bumpy ride. Dawn Watch experienced a nice, constant downpour, along with strong winds of up to 40 knots,” Emma Karsten ’18 posted Oct. 11. She’s an environmental studies major.

Other Hamilton STEM students who have recently studied abroad include:

  • Geosciences major Mary Langworthy ’17, geoscience field research, Kenya
  • Math major Emily Hedison ’17, STEM courses, Sweden
  • Math and psychology major Rebecca Butler ’17, psychology and language acquisition research, Chile
  • Environmental studies and math major Jonah Boucher ’17, sustainable development, Costa Rica

 

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