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ESS 499 UAHuntsville Undergraduate Research Capstone Study Abroad Program Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean This course syllabus pertains to the UAH-CATHALAC 2011 Study Abroad Summer Program, which is comprised of Internship Research for 3 credit hours. Course Title:

Internship Research Project

Course Number:

ESS 499

Course Date:

June 5 - July 31, 2010

Course Location:

CATHALAC: City of Knowledge 111, Clayton, Panama, Republic of Panama


Thomas L. Sever, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, UAHuntsville. Tel: 256-961-7958. Email: Rob Griffin, UAHuntsville. Email: Osvaldo Jordan, Academic Advisor, CATHALAC. Tel: 011 (507) 317-3203,

CATHALAC Internship Supervisors: Joel Perez, Senior Scientist, CATHALAC. Tel: 011 (507) 317-3230. Email: Osvaldo Jordan, Academic Advisor, CATHALAC. Tel: 011 (507) 317-3203 Email: Bessy Garcia, Research Scientist, CATHALAC. Tel: 011 (507) 317-3224. Email: Betzy Hernandez, Research Scientists, CATHALAC. Tel: 011 (507) 317-3224. Email: Description The Internship Research Project is an essential component of the Study Abroad Program on Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The acquired knowledge, skills and methods learned in the Program, are to be applied during the development and implementation of the internship research projects. Throughout the

Program students will review and familiarize themselves with different research methodologies, including GIS, remote sensing, and in-depth interviews. To facilitate this learning, the course also includes a mandatory Spanish language component that will help students prepare for their work experience in a Panamanian environment. The internship provides students the opportunity to gain professional experience by working on projects alongside CATHALAC’s international staff. The students will work in groups that will be guided by an Internship Supervisor to whom they must communicate and report on a regular basis. All students will have access to CATHALAC office facilities during normal business hours, yet some students may also be required to conduct field research and/or work with other external organizations. Upon completion of the internship, students present their research findings to CATHALAC staff and a larger audience. Objectives ¾ Conduct original, independent research ¾ Encourage critical-thinking skills and employ them through investigation ¾ Enhance scientific and technical knowledge ¾ Provide hands-on experience at an international applied research facility (CATHALAC) ¾ Develop team work skills in an interdisciplinary environment ¾ Be part of a process dedicated to developing innovative solutions to environmental problems Expected Outcome By the end of the Study Abroad Program students will have gained invaluable experience in executing their own group research project, which they may choose to develop further in their university or professional careers. Requirements ¾ Successful completion of at least two semesters of undergraduate work. ¾ Responsibility, commitment, initiative, and a good work ethic. ¾ Capacity to work in teams and practice tolerance and respect towards student peers. Research Topics ¾ Climate Change and Environmental Stress in Tropical Islands. ¾ Extreme Weather Events, Vulnerable Communities and Indigenous Survival in Eastern Panama. ¾ Climate Change Impacts on Agricultural Production in Central Panama. These are general research ideas that must be further refined by the students and supervisors. Students will team up into groups of two or three. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the projects, students will be assigned to groups with other students of different but complementary strengths and experiences in order to educe more holistic approaches to addressing the problems at hand. Schedule Date 9 June

Activity Introduction to research methodologies. Spanish classes begin.

10 June 11 June 23-24 June 30 June 1 July 7 July 14 July 21 July 27 July 29 July

Study site visits. Round-table about study site visits. GIS tutorial for research project design. Work Plan preparation and group meetings with supervisors. Work Plan presentations and discussion. Work Plan revisions due. Spanish classes end. Informal presentations to peers and supervisors. Formal presentations and deliver draft reports. Final papers due (11 AM).

Grading The Internship Research Project will be graded based on the following items 1. Spanish Training (20%) 2. Work Plan (10%) 3. Oral Presentation (20%) 4. Final Report (50%) The grading scale is as follows A: 90-100 B: 80-89 C: 70-79 D: 60-69 F : <60

** Please note. Attendance at all program activities is mandatory and is crucial to student success in the program. Students will be expected to work full-time on their research projects, report as requested to their supervisors, be involved in excursions, be punctual and cooperative, and respect instructors, guides and supervisors. Work Plan The Work Plan should document the expected results of the studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; projects. It should include a Chronogram of Activities that contain important dates and all activities recorded down to the hour. This will be the guide to achieve the goals established between the students and the Center and will be revised by group supervisors. The Work Plan should evolve into the Final Report as the projects progress, and the Chronogram of Activities will be included in the Appendix of the Final Report. The informal presentations (July 21) provide students the opportunity to share their refined research questions and proposed methodologies to their peers and other scientists and professionals at CATHALAC. The objectives here are to practice how to present the projects and to initiate brainstorming sessions that should enrich the projectsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; development. Only 10 minutes will be designated for each presentation, and an additional 5-10 minutes of feedback. Feedback will be recorded in peer-review forms that will be filled by the students. The topics to present are:

The context of the independent research project and relevance to climate change and sustainable development • Specific research question and objectives • Proposed methodology • Expected results • Obstacles encountered so far or those the students anticipate in the future, and possible ways to overcome them Given the brevity of these discussions, groups should limit their presentations to 5-7 slides. The following day the students should deliver an updated version of the work plan according to the suggestions provided by their peers and supervisors. Formal Presentation The formal presentations will be given in front of project supervisors, other CATHALAC staff, invitees and peers. Each presentation should last 20 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions and should include the following: • The context of the independent research project: students’ backgrounds and relevancy to CATHALAC, climate change and sustainable development • Objectives • Brief methods • Results • Interpretation of results (discussion and conclusions) • Lessons learned, both academic and professional Depending on level of Spanish proficiency, it is encouraged—but not required—that Powerpoint slides be prepared in Spanish. Students may present in either English or Spanish. Previous to formal presentations, students should deliver a draft report to CATHALAC. Both the draft and the final report should include an Executive Summary of approximately 300 words. The Executive Summary describes the essence of the project and should include title, student and organization names, general context, specific objectives, brief methods, results, and conclusions/recommendations. This should be prepared in both English and Spanish and turned in with the Draft and the Final reports. Final Report The Final Report will be one of the products delivered to the Director of CATHALAC and project supervisors. It will be due two days before departure and will include: • Title page with students’ names, university(ies) logo(s) and CATHALAC logo • Table of Contents including graphs, tables and figures • Contact information for CATHALAC and students’ universities • Introduction (general context, literature review) • Problem statement / research question • Methods • Results • Discussion • Conclusions • References, Appendices and other information o Includes Chronogram of Activities / amount of time dedicated to the Project


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