Students Spend Winter Break Studying in Costa Rica and Spain

Costa Rica

Communication studies student Kirsten Chu takes a photo of a nesting sea turtle in Ostinonal, Costa Rica. (photo by Steve Madigosky)

The Winter break was no respite from learning for more than a dozen Widener students.

Ten students joined Dr. Stephen Madigosky's Special Topics in Sustainability Science course on an 11-day service-learning trip to Alajuela and Ostional, Costa Rica. The trip was designed to introduce students to unique sustainable development projects that have a significant economic and social impact on villagers and farmers who harness biological resources for a living.

In Alajeula at the Las Lajas farm, students focused on characterizing the physical aspects of a coffee farm that produces organic, shade-grown coffee compared to a farm that produces sun-grown coffee to learn how consumer decisions impact the environment. The farm that produces the shade-grown coffee is the source of the beans for WU Brew, Widener's own brand of coffee. Sales of the coffee helped fund the trip.

In Ostional, one of the world's most important nesting sites for Olive Ridley sea turtles, students examined the dynamics of how harvesting a fraction of the turtle eggs helps support the local economy. Students had the opportunity to speak directly with community members about all aspects of the operation.

The course is the brainchild of Dr. Stephen Madigosky, a professor of environmental science. He, along with several of his colleagues including Tim Scepansky and Drs. Chad Freed and Itzick Vatnick, use this opportunity to develop within students a sense of inquiry that hones their research skills while addressing real world problems and applications.

Six students accompanied Dr. Mary Shoemaker's Principles of Marketing honors course on an eight-day trip to Spain. The students traveled to Avila, Madrid, Salamanca, Segovia and Valladolid during the trip. It included tours of a ham factory, a technology park and a food testing and inspection facility. They met and discussed Spain's business and economic climate with local business leaders.

The course presents marketing from the perspective of an individual manager or firm in the design of a marketing mix, target market selection, environmental assessment, securing information and understanding consumer behavior. It also examines marketing's interface with society and the ethical responsibilities of managers in a global context, which was the focus of the study abroad experience.

Students making the trip to Costa Rica included:

  • Paul Berger, a senior environmental science major from Ardsley, Pa.
  • Kirsten Chu, a junior communication studies major from Flanders, N.J.
  • Jenelle Gomes, a senior environmental science major from New Castle, Del.
  • Mariah Kerr, a junior civil engineering major from Branchville, N.J.
  • Ben MacLuckie, a junior environmental science major from Pottstown, Pa.
  • Elisabeth Powell, a senior environmental science major from Newark, Del.
  • Peter Pulhac, a junior environment science major from Bordentown, N.J.
  • Katie Randolph, a junior environmental science major from Phoenixville, Pa.
  • Anna Roman, a sophomore communication studies major from Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Anne Sevon, a senior environmental science major from Lansdale, Pa.

Students making the trip to Spain included:

  • Cory Bennett, a junior management major from Fishkill, N.Y.
  • Jared Hager, a junior international business major from Bloomsbury, N.J.
  • Cary Lambert, a senior management major from Endicott, N.Y.
  • Tyler Lewis, a junior management major from Langhorne, Pa.
  • David Recchiuti, a senior accounting major from Havertown, Pa.
  • Stephanie Smith, a junior marketing and advertising management major from Brooklawn, N.J.

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