Thursday, March 5, 2015

HU biology students travel to Brazil to conduct research in Atlantic Rainforest

HU biology students travel to Brazil to conduct research in Atlantic Rainforest 

Eight Hampton University biology students traveled to the Iracambi Atlantic Rainforest Research Center and to Rio Pomba, where they conducted research on sustainability and conservation from Jan. 5-23. 

The students on the trip were sophmores Brandi Adams, Rebecca Castro, Zenquia Miller; seniors Ashanti Bernateau, Pamela Cameau, Shalanda Grier, Crystal Smitherman and December 2014 graduate Carena Miles.

The first week of the program focused on learning Portuguese, where the HU students explored Rio de Janerio, traveled to Rio Pomba, communicating with locals, and learning about the culture from a group of Brazilian students from the local IF Sudeste-MG campus.

During the second week of the program both HU & IF Sudeste MG-Rio Pomba students studied topics including sustainable communities, reforesting, bird watching, bio-construction and environmental management. Learning took place both inside and outside the classroom, between lectures and presentations. 

"I learned that the purpose of the conservation of forestry is to track development," said Smitherman. "This experience has humbled me and given me an appreciation for the rainforest and all that it contributes to the ecosystem. It is important that we all learn about conservation in the rainforest, in order to protect our world and the environment."    

In the third week of the program the HU students traveled to the IF Sudeste-MG campus where they learned about sustainability, how students conduct research in the forest and how the students in Rio Pomba are preserving and rebuilding the rainforest. 

The trip was sponsored by the Washington Baltimore Hampton Roads-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WBHR-LSAMP), which focuses on increasing the number of underrepresented minority students involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).   

"My favorite part of the experience was the interaction with other students that were so open to learning about our culture and language as much as we were to learning theirs," said Castro. " This experience opened my eyes to new possibilities for careers."

- Matthew A. White '10

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