An update on how your generous support is impacting our students
In May, Douglas Hart traveled to Costa Rica as a recipient of the Ron Carroll and Carol Hoffman Costa Rica Travel Award. Upon his return Doug was kind enough to share several photos of his travels and a few words of appreciation.
This May I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Costa Rica, a country known for it’s immense beauty and significant biodiversity. On the trip, myself and 13 other students were led by Scott Connelly to study tropical ecology. Being an ecology major, I had a good deal of general knowledge about the science beforehand. This did not prepare me, however, for the tremendous amount I would learn about tropical systems and culture found in Costa Rica. We travelled all across the country, from the lowland rainforest, to the Pacific Ocean, and then to the UGA campus situated high in the mountains. We explored all these environments thoroughly; making sure to study the many organisms and ecosystem components we crossed. The educational style was like none I had taken part in before; we were taught in a hands-on manner that came directly from our observations in the field. We then utilized this knowledge to design experiments within a group, which ended up being a valuable experience. Though I have worked in a lab for almost a year now and designed some experiments in science classes, the total freedom to study any of the fascinating natural patterns surrounding us inspired deep thinking and creativity.
Aside from growth in the scientific realm, I learned a great deal about Costa Rican culture. Having only left the country once before, this was an opportunity to surround myself with the unfamiliar and detach myself from an American way of living. My skills in Spanish improved, especially while with my homestay family, and I got to know and understand many natives. Overall, the trip was hugely important to me and one I hope to remember vividly for the rest of my life.
Thanks to the support of Ron Carroll and Carol Hoffman – and many alumni and friends of the Odum School – many more students – like Doug – will benefit from this award. We thank you all!