2017 Undergraduate Travel Reports


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Five Duke Engineering undergrad awardees pose in front of a grease trap they constructed (Summer 2017) in El Pital, Honduras. It connects to the town's water system as part of a filtration process. Pictured [left to right] are:  Natalia Androsz, Gaurav Uppal, Chris Orrico, Sarah Blau, Hunter McNamara, and Samantha Hartzell (not funded by DUCIGS).

The Duke University Center for International & Global Studies (DUCIGS) provides funding for full-time undergraduate Duke students to complement their classwork with research experience in different social and cultural settings. In the 2017 competition, thirteen undergrad students received travel grants from DUCIGS. They submitted proposals for focused overseas academic research of a minimum of four weeks' duration. Their projects were designed to further their knowledge of a particular country or world region.

2017: From the field

Sarah BLAU - Honduras   (Duke 2019) - Biomedical Engineering; ECE minor
Julia M. Whitehead and Peter M. Miller Endowment Fund
"This summer, I served as one of the Honduras project leaders with Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID). My five teammates and I traveled to a village called El Pital, near the northern coastal city of La Ceiba, to repair a graywater treatment system that was backed up and causing minor flooding in the village. Over the course of our month-long trip, we identified ... ( BLAU  ) “

Noelle Garbaccio - Honduras  (Duke 2020) - Biology/Global Health; Phlosophy minor
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
"The preceding 5 weeks in Camasca, Honduras were a striking period of self-growth. In the absence of running water, reliable electricity and robust infrastructure, I developed an eminent passion for the Honduran people and their content to live in blissful humility. My research in women’s mental health and self-esteem, consisting of interviews and workshops to identify ... ( GARBACCIO  ) "

Hunter McNAMARA - Honduras  (Duke 2019) - Mechanical Engineering; Architectural Engineering Certificate
Julia M. Whitehead and Peter M. Miller Endowment Fund
"This summer, with the help of funding from the DUCIGS Summer Research Award Grant, I was able to travel with four other undergraduate students to the rural community of El Pital, Honduras for one month to implement two separate pilot/research projects: upgrading an existing grey water treatment system with new grease traps, and constructing a new type of cookstove in a home in the community. The goal of these two projects was ... ( McNAMARA  ) “

Emily NAGLER - Ecuador  (Duke 2019) - Global Health/Public Policy; Spanish minor
Julia M. Whitehead and Peter M. Miller Endowment Fund
"I spent eight weeks this summer living in Quito, Ecuador and volunteering for a reproductive health non-governmental organization (NGO) called El Centro Médico de Orientación y Planificación Familiar (CEMOPLAF). Going into the experience, I hoped to help CEMOPLAF work toward their mission of reducing unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates among adolescents, ages 13-19. I did not know ... ( NAGLER )"

Lissa NEIRA - Honduras  (Duke 2018) - Evolutionary Anthropology
Julia M. Whitehead and Peter M. Miller Endowment Fund
“This summer was the first time I had ever left North America for such an extended period of time. I spent five weeks in a very small town in Honduras called Camasca with my beloved Project HEAL team members. This year was also the first year that Project HEAL has gone to Camasca, Intibucá because in the past we normally went to the Cangrejal River Valley region. Not knowing what ... ( NEIRA  ) “

Christopher ORRICO - Honduras  (Duke 2020) - Mechanical/Energy/Global Engineering Development
Julia M. Whitehead and Peter M. Miller Endowment Fund
“Duke Engineers for International Development (DEID) has developed a relationship with the community of El Pital in Atlántida, Honduras over the past several years. Previous teams constructed and tested a greywater treatment system to reduce the damage that El Pital wastewater causes to the health of the town, the surrounding communities, and local eco-systems. The efforts undertaken by the town’s Water Board and ... ( ORRICO ) “

Erin WEINSTEIN - South Africa  (Duke 2018) - Biology; Chemistry/Marine Biology minors
Hewlett Challenge Endowment Fund
“I spent 10 weeks of summer 2017 in South Africa’s Kruger National Park and in several reserves of Swaziland. In our small group of 10, we conducted field research and presented our findings regarding the impact of elephants on biodiversity and the vegetative landscape of savanna ecosystems. It was a phenomenal experience. All my life I have been a pre-veterinary student, in love with animals and nature. Thus, when I discovered ...  ( WEINSTEIN  ) “