The Biology Department at the University of Costa Rica has
developed a new education abroad program in biological and environmental
sciences. This unique program will not only teach students about ecology
and conservation biology in the classroom, but will also take students
to tropical forests to experience first-hand the research of tropical
biologists. This new and innovative semester abroad program will meet
the academic science requirements for most undergraduate programs and is
designed for U.S. students.
We think that undergraduate students from University College
will benefit greatly from this program and that it will complement the
curriculum of most university biology departments. We would appreciate
it if professors of biological science could announce this program to
their students and to other faculty members in the department.
Our program includes the following courses: 1) Costa Rica
Natural History, 2)Tropical Ecology and 3) Tropical Conservation
Biology. These three classes are 4 credits each and will be taught in
English. In addition, the program offers a 4 credit Spanish class. The
classes will be held at the University of Costa Rica and students will
live with a Costa Rican family near the University. The campus is
located in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The University of Costa
Rica is host to approximately 35,000 students including many exchange
students from the United States-Canada and Europe. Aside from the
academic excellence, the University of Costa Rica offers a stimulating
intellectual and academic environment.
This innovative program will provide the opportunity for
students to have a =93hands-on=94 experience in tropical field ecology. In
addition to formal classroom lectures, a large component of the course
is taught in the field. During this 3 month program, students will
visit 10 different sites, mostly National Parks and field stations
operated by the UCR, and they will conduct field projects in small
groups, led by the faculty. The first part of a field trip will
concentrate on describing the habitat and the natural history of the
flora and fauna in the area. The next part of each field trip will
focus on either an ecological question or a question related to
conservation biology. The field projects are designed to evaluate a
hypothesis. After conducting the field work, the student groups analyze
the data and prepare for an oral presentation to the rest of the class.
At the end of the semester, the students will present the best of their
projects in a public poster session for the rest of the university,
interested students and faculty. We have included a syllabus that
provides more details about our program.
The professors that participate are faculty from the Department
of Biology at the University of Costa Rica and are experienced tropical
biologists. Dr. Maria Zaldivar obtained her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania
State University and M.S. and B.S. from the University Simon Bolivar,
Venezuela.. She currently teaches courses in genetics and conservation
biology and her current research focuses on the study of the genetic
structure and conservation biology of endangered primates in Costa
Rica. Dr. Jose Manuel Mora obtained his Ph.D. from Texas A & M
University and M.S. and B.S. from the University of Costa Rica. He is
currently curator of the mammal division of the zoology museum and
teaches courses in mammalogy, herpetology and Costa Rican natural
history. Dr. Mauricio Quesada obtained his Ph.D and M.S. from the
Pennsylvania State University and B.S. from the University of Costa
Rica. He currently teaches courses in ecology, tropical field ecology
and plant conservation and evolutionary biology. He is conducting
research on the effects of forest fragmentation on the reproduction and
the genetic structure of timber species of the tropical dry forest. Dr.
Kathryn Stoner obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and M.A.
and B.S. from the University of Michigan. She will be the academic
coordinator for the field studies. She currently teaches courses in
tropical field ecology, mammalogy and animal anatomy. Dr. Stoner=92s
current research evaluates the population dynamics and altitudinal
migrating patterns of bats in tropical dry forests. In addition to the
permanent professors mentioned above, other faculty from the
department will actively participate in our field studies.
This program will provide a unique educational opportunity for
any undergraduate student interested in biology. Please do not hesitate
to contact us if you have any questions or comments.
World Class Adventures in Education
1300 Post Oak 1750
Houston, Texas 77056
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"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness -
all foes to real understanding. Likewise, tolerance or broad, wholesome
charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in
our little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." -- Mark Twain
"He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And
he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy. 'Mister!' he said
with a sawdusty sneeze, I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees." -- Dr.