Six BVU Students Head to Chile in January for Second Global Fellows Program

Six BVU Students Head to Chile in January for Second Global Fellows Program

Six BVU Students Head to Chile in January for Second Global Fellows Program
The 2013 Global Fellows studying macroinvertebrates in a BVU science lab with Dr. Heather York, assistant professor of biology. From left: York, Lourdes Arreola, Brian Meis, Rebecca Bassich, Anne Reiva, Kelsey Mitchell, Natalie Bellairs.

Six Buena Vista University students and two faculty advisors will travel to Cape Horn, Chile in January 2013 as the second group in the Global Fellows program which was launched last January.

In Cape Horn, the students will participate in a program coordinated by the University of North Texas, the Universidad de Magallanes and the Chilean Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity. The UNT program is a semester long for UNT students, but BVU students will join them for three weeks to learn more about research education and the conservation activities of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve. The reserve is comprised of pristine marine areas, islands, fjords, channels, forests and moorland.

The BVU sophomores in the 2013 Global Fellows program are:

  • Brian Meis, a criminal justice major from Sioux City;
  • Natalie Bellairs, a biology major and pre-med student from Osage;
  • Anne Reiva, a history major from Sioux City;
  • Lourdes Arreola, an international business and Spanish double major from Storm Lake;
  • Rebecca Bassich, a social work major from Malvern;
  • Kelsey Mitchell, a mathematics major from Decorah

The Global Fellows program is designed to link the globalism focus of BVU's University Seminar for first-year students with a significant academically-oriented international experience and service to the University community through presentations and mentorship.

The faculty advisors are Dr. Melinda Coogan, assistant professor of biology, who co-led the January 2012 trip to Cape Horn, and Dr. Heather York, assistant professor of biology. The group will leave the United States on Dec. 29 and return Jan. 22, 2013.

"The Global Fellows experience is one I look forward to because of the tremendous impact this unique opportunity has on the students who participate," says Coogan. "Through involvement with the Biosphere Reserve, students are able to integrate academic and cultural experiences into a holistic understanding of biocultural conservation. This, then, leads to the development of more responsible global citizens who understand how interdisciplinary approaches to education and research benefit each one of us as we attempt to find innovative solutions to global issues."

This fall, the students are enrolled in a course to prepare them for their January trip to Cape Horn. Part of the preparation was choosing an individual project for each to complete during the experience. When they return from Cape Horn, the students will engage in a debriefing seminar and prepare a presentation for a spring academic event for BVU's Academic and Cultural Events Series (ACES) as well as for Scholars Day, which is held in April.

"I really think this trip will help my future career in biology and my aspirations in the medical field by providing a new array of knowledge about culture and research," says Natalie. "There is so much to be learned from a different culture and the people who live there, and I hope experiencing that will help me to better understand cultural differences, and to enable me to grow as a person."

"I hope that this experience will help me get outside my comfort zone," says Anne. "I've never been to a foreign country – so this will give me the chance to try a lot of things that I never would have done otherwise. I'm also excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the different cultures there. I really want to know more about their language, politics, and history."

Coogan will also take a one-day overnight side trip to Antarctica to visit scientific field research stations. She will be joined on that trip by Laura Page, a junior biology major from Hutchinson, Kan., who will be studying at Navarino Island and the Omora Ethnobotanical Park at Puerto Williams on the southern tip of Chile to continue the research and collaborations she started on the Global Fellows trip last January. Her trip is being funded in part by the J. Leslie Rollins Fellowship award. (Read more about Laura's trip.)

Coogan is also finalizing paperwork required to collect algal, macroinvertebrate, and water samples in Antarctica for analysis when she returns to the science field station in Puerto Williams and also for her research sabbatical during the spring semester.