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Bearcats on the Road

Directed Research, Presentations and Packing Up

Posted by Samuel Geer on Tue, Jul 12, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

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The past week has been entirely devoted to directed research. The complement of 22 students in the program were broken up into six different groups whose research groups included both physical and social science topics. Some of the most interesting projects, in my opinion, were: biodiversity in local forests, the growing cordycep (an extremely valuable Himalayan fungi) market, conservation around religious sites and, my own research project, the effects of forestry management practices on local forest stands. 

Being that the entire summer semester program is six weeks long, the directed research component is extremely compact. The first day of the project was spent writing a six-page research proposal with my three other colleagues. The next four days of the project were used to collect data at nearby Kikila Pass, a local conifer forest at the top of a mountain. This field research included coring trees and collecting data on the regeneration of specific pine species in a managed forest stand. The field research experience is a new type of learning that I’ve never been exposed to before, and it was something that I really enjoyed. I got to work closely with authors in the field who had written the research that I’d used in my proposal which provided me with an incredible wealth of information to tap into. 

Presentation.jpgAfter four days of data collection and in-depth data analysis, the hardest part of the research was upon me. The requirement for our research paper was 16-pages (single-spaced) written in the span of around 36 hours. In addition, we had to develop a presentation and a poster for a symposium. Needless to say, there was relatively little sleep the past several days, but the research materials somehow got finished! After giving the presentation to our classmates, I was selected with another member of my group to give the presentation again to the government staff the following day. 

Anyone who knows me somewhat well knows that presentations aren’t exactly my favorite thing in the world, but after another jam-packed 24 hours of work, I was ready to present the research in front of a crowd of 50 people in our symposium. I was the very first student to speak in the first presentation of the day, but I can say that the presentation went very well and that I also looked rather official in my all-black gho that I had to wear for the occasion.  

After all the stress of the research, the program directors decided that we were due for a bit of break. That break came in the form of an eight-mile hike to the top of the ridge above campus. Luckily, I enjoy rigorous hikes, but I can’t say the same for all my peers. It was a tough hike, too, but the payoff at the end was incredible. From the top, I was surrounded by prayer flags, whipping winds and around 40-degree temperatures (Yes, in summer! We were at about 12,000 feet). I could see the valley we have been staying in, Bumthang, as well as the neighboring valley of Chumae, which culminated in being one of my favorite experiences of this entire study abroad so far. 

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So, now it’s time to move again. I’m all packed up and tomorrow we head off to one of Bhutan’s larger cities, Paro. We’ll be finishing up our studies there and visiting the world-famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery before heading back for the states on the 15th. It’s hard to believe it’s that time already.

Topics: nature, study abroad, research, Samuel Geer, Bhutan, presentation, Bumthang

About this Blog

In Bearcats on the Road, students chronicle their lives while studying abroad or completing internships away from campus.

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Paige Casario is a junior International Business major with minors in Spanish and Operational Excellence. She is studying Business and Spanish and living with a host family in Sevilla, Spain, for the spring semester. She is very excited for this opportunity and experience and can't wait to venture all over Spain and Europe.

Hi! My name is Nicole Reitz and I’m a junior psychology major at SVC. This spring, I’m studying at Edge Hill University in England.

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Hi! My name is Gianna Boburka. I am an international business major with minors in operational excellence and entrepreneurship. I will be studying abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece, this summer for five weeks. In addition to taking two classes abroad, I will be exploring many different sites around Greece.

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Theresa Thimons is a sophomore majoring in mathematics. She is the proud little sister to nine siblings and aunt to seventeen nieces and nephews. Theresa believes that each encounter she has with another human is an opportunity to better understand the heart of Jesus, as every person is the result of God’s love. In whatever career path she ends up taking, she looks forward to solving problems and hopefully inspiring more people to explore the world of fun that is found in math.

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My name is Sam Geer. I’m from Murrysville, Pennsylvania, and I’m a junior at Saint Vincent. I’m getting my major in Environmental Science and minoring in Public Administration. I’m a work study at the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve and am a member of the Benedictine Leadership Studies Program. This summer, I'll be traveling to Bhutan in the Himalayas of Central Asia, home of the bearcat, where I’ll be studying environmental sustainability and Bhutanese culture. 

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Hi! Im Gabrielle Kohl, an avid reader who loves to travel around the world! I love to experience new culture, literature, people and food. I aim to make a positive impact in the lives of people with whom I interact in order to make the world a happier place.

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Hi! My name is Nicole Berry and I am currently a junior studying communication and psychology. I also am minoring in children studies. I am a commuter and currently live in Delmont, PA. I am hoping to graduate in May 2017 and go on to graduate school for my Masters in Social Work and Juris Doctorate.

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Anastasia Jaeger is a junior English education major with a minor in German and a minor in peace and justice. She has always dreamed of being able to travel around the world and is thankful that Saint Vincent College has these opportunities available to students. When she is not at college, she is likely working her part-time job at a local bakery. In the future, she hopes to travel more and do humanitarian work or teach high school students English.