Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), Ecuador
Partners: Clemson University, South Carolina,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, North Carolina,
University of New Mexico, New Mexico,
Oregon State University, Oregon,
Juniata College, Pennsylvania
Increasing Study Abroad Participation in the Sciences through the Latitude Zero: Ecuador Research Initiative (L0ERI)
This project focused on both northbound and southbound exchanges to and from Ecuador to facilitate student research projects. Five (5) students from five (5) separate institutions—Clemson, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of New Mexico, Oregon State and Juniata College—had the opportunity to travel from the U.S. to Quito in order to conduct research in the area of sciences or engineering. Their research interests varied from subjects such as animal behavior, nature conservation and water quality. The students had opportunities throughout the semester to share and discuss stories, challenges and results. One of the sustainability measures that this grant aimed to achieve was curriculum integration of research projects and exchanges. Although there were difficulties in attaining course equivalences in Quito, relative to U.S. credit courses, curriculum integration was successful at North Carolina State University and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The grantee has made progress in identifying courses which overlap in both Quito and US universities. Continuing their sustainability measures, USFQ was able to send five (5) additional students northbound and five (5) additional southbound during the grant period, totaling ten (10) additional students above their target. These students left in the spring as a second round after the pilot year. Overall, this program gave students an opportunity to experience higher education and culture in a different and international setting while still receiving a quality education.