May 4, 2001

Students to Pursue Diverse Summer Opportunities

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Many students are mixing fun with business this summer by pursuing academic interests in Cornell summer programs. Along with taking classes in their respective programs, students will travel to exotic countries to experience different cultures, or stay within the United States and explore a different section of the country.

Trip to Argentina

Students in Geological Sciences 417 will sojourn to Buenos Aires, Argentina to field map parts of the Andes Mountains. Students will fly into Buenos Aires on July 4 and stay in the country until the end of the month. They will be researching the rock formations in the San Juan and Mendoza provinces.

“We have a field requirement [for the geological sciences major],” said Katherine Porch ’02. “You can take a course at Cornell or in Argentina, and I was like why not Argentina? When will I have the chance to go there again?”

Rock Formations

The students will be touring the country during its winter.

“Usually they have a mild winter, but last year it was the coldest in thirty years and the first time it snowed in twenty-five years,” Porch said.

One of the famous attractions in Argentina, along with tango and soccer, is the rock formations. Students will be researching earthquake-prone areas as well as places with active tectonic plate movement. Areas such as the Precordillera and Pie de Palo Range show evidence that the land may have moved from southeastern North America and collided with South America a long time ago.

An objective of the students is to analyze the land to see the different types of rocks and determine which time period they were formed.

“From my understanding, you go to different sites and we’re responsible to research cross-sections,” Porch said.

The course is held in collaboration with the University of Buenos Aires.

Students from Argentina, as well as from colleges such as Harvard and Brown, work together for approximately a month on field mapping projects.

For the first two weeks, the students conduct field mapping projects among themselves and attend lectures. After this period, Cornellians continue with another mapping project and a tour of the Main Andean Cordillera.

“We have to get up at 7:00 a.m. and go back to camp at 7:00 p.m. I hear that it is a lot of fun,” Porch said. “I hear that you eat ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch everyday.”

Students do have scheduled free time to enjoy the sights of Argentina.

“We’re going to be with Argentine students, so we’ll be immersed in their culture. There are day trips into the city,” Porch added.

During the trip, students camp out in tents, stay in hotels, or sleep in rooms provided by the University of Buenos Aires.

“For the last part of the trip, we’ll be in cabins since it will be too cold for it to be physically safe to sleep outside,” Porch said.

While students brave the Argentine cold, others are staying within the borders, learning about marine life at the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

Working with the administration at the University of New Hampshire, the University sends students to Appledore Island, off of the coast of Maine.

Dubbed the “Learning Island,” students get the chance to study in depth their interests in marine life with hands-on experiences, rather than in the classroom. The island is a secluded, self-contained community.

The inhabitants support their own water systems, and generate their power supply.

“I’ve heard that it’s a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere, but everyone is concerned about learning,” said Sara Miller ’04. “We have lectures everyday and we go to the lab.”

Students take one class during their stay and concentrate on that subject.

They spend different lengths of time on the island, depending on the course.

All of the labs have special sea tables with seawater to study live marine organisms while the John M. Kingsbury, a research vessel, gives the students an in-depth look at the marine world.

When students have free time, they can take ferry rides to Portsmouth, Maine or take part in different activities on the island.

“We get two free weekends. Some groups go on whale watches, but most of the time you’re on the island,” Miller said.

Participants pick classes from a range of interests, such as research-based classes like Ecology of Animal Behavior (Shoals Marine Laboratory 329) and Marine Vertebrates (Shoals Marine Laboratory 477).

“I’ve always been interested in marine biology and it sounds like a good opportunity to learn about it in a good atmosphere,’ Miller commented. “I’m taking a course in field marine science. One of my friends is taking a course on underwater marine research.”

Miller will stay on Appledore Island from May 28 to June 25.

Another program that fascinates students is centered in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Students have the opportunity to travel to other countries to study different types of architecture.

“These are travel programs during the summer,” said Department Chairperson and Associate Prof. Mark Cruvellier, architecture. “Depending on faculty interests, they go to different places. It’s a version of a semester they would have on campus.”

Students take between 12 and 15 credits of classes while being supervised by faculty members for an eight-week period. This year, students will travel to Japan and North Africa.

“These places are so exotic,” said John Miserendino ’02, who will be traveling to North Africa. “It’s so hard to imagine it — that’s what makes it so exciting.”

The architecture students visit contemporary as well as older buildings in the countries. Before leaving the United States, students conduct preliminary research on their primary interests for the trip. They each focus on a particular interest and collect information to complete a project from their experiences. Students will stay in North Africa from May 21 to July 13.

“They will have a project and design something for it,” Cruvellier said. “Depending on where they go, they will meet different contacts.” North Africa is unique since the countries have been influenced by so many cultures, from European to Islamic. This affects the style of architecture that predominates the area.

“You get weird hybrids. There is Islamic architecture and there is this weird French infusion [in certain buildings]. In Egypt you have British and Egyptian Modernism,” Miserendino said.

“In Egypt there are villages that they dig into the dirt, and are underground. You’ll be walking on the ground and come to this courtyard dug into the dirt,” Miserendino explained.

Students take classes while in North Africa about the history, construction, theory, and visual aspects of the architecture. Each student has a different interest, so they focus on collecting information for their projects.

“We’re taking classes, but we move so fast,” Miserendino said. “We’re not in the same place for more than three or four days.”

As in other countries, North Africa is a bastion of cultural activities.

When the students have free time, they will tour the other sites and get a closer glimpse of the countries. The students will also sojourn in southern Spain for part of their trip.

The Cornellians have to take health precautions while in North Africa.

There is the risk of dysentery and food poisoning. They have to get rabies shots,
as well as Hepatitis and malaria shots.

“We’re all nervous. I want to try the local thing, but it’s hard [stopping the onslaught] with diseases. We have to be careful,” Miserendino said. “I’ll give it a shot — take a chance and see how it goes.”

Students will also have to deal with the sultry heat of Africa.

Temperatures can rise to 105 degrees Fahrenheit in certain areas.

Unlike North Africa, students traveling to Cochabamba, Bolivia will face temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Students will have the choice to take classes in the Quechua language and about Bolivian culture.

The program runs from June 4 to July 16.

“Bolivia is the poorest country in South America,” Jessica Beegan ’02 said.

“I’ve never been to a Spanish-speaking country and I want to improve my accent and language.”

Bolivians hold many folk festivals throughout the year. The natives enjoy playing soccer and many organize dance groups that compete.

Llamas and jaguars frequent the country while the coca plant and other medicinal scrubs grow in the rain forests.

While in Cochabamba, students will engage in cultural activities as well.

“I will be living with a Bolivian family and we will be going on fields trips. We will be interacting with the people,” Beegan said.

Along with taking classes in Bolivia, students also find jobs or internships at different places.

“They work in internships and organizations,” said Mary Jo Dudley, Associate Director of the Latin American Studies Program. “They work at places such as clinics, soup kitchens, cooperatives, and archaeological sites.”

A double major in Chemistry and Spanish, Beegan will be using the trip to scout out possible career incentives in the Spanish country.

“I’m applying for an internship there,” Beegan explained. “Since I’m pre-med, I would like to get an internship at a health clinic.”

Beegan is also interested in working at an orphanage since she wants to work with children as a doctor.

Since Bolivia has a shortage of water, the students will have to implement safety precautions.

“I have to get a lot of vaccinations and take malaria pills before I go.

They say that most people get sick from the water,” Beegan said.

Cochabamba is known as “Internal Spring” since the city is situated in the valley of the Andes Mountains. It will be winter there while the students are studying.

Beegan was considering going to Spain through another college’s summer program, but is glad that she is going to Bolivia through the Latin American Studies Summer Program.

“It would be easier to speak English in Spain,” Beegan commented.

After students finish their finals and flock away from Ithaca, some students will continue their studies in other interesting places during the summer. They plan to have fun touring the sites, as well as fitting in a few classes.

Archived article by Kelly Samuels