Thought I would celebrate the fifth anniversary of the arrival of our SUSIE students, twenty-three young women (14) and men (9) from Central America (Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua) and the Caribbean (Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago). Most arrived on Sunday, 28 June 2009. We were all excited.
SUSIE is an acronym for Study of the U.S. Institute for the Environment, and was funded and sponsored by the Study of the U.S. Branch in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It was a five-week summer program that dealt with water supply, water quality, water and wastewater treatment, land and coastal development issues.
Ana Maria Peralta, one of three Dominicanas, who later pursued an MBA in Spain, assembled this photograph:
The instructors are arranged along the left side and top. Starting with me at the top left, below me are Anna Harding (public health); Todd Jarvis (water resources); Christine Kelly (environmental engineering); and Ken Williamson (civil and environmental engineering). To the right of me is Marion McNamara, who did the heavy lifting with respect to the administrative aspects of the program. She and I were co-directors. Next to Marion are Evan Miles, now a PhD student at Cambridge (the head TA) and TAs Jessica Nischik and Kate Swenson. The picture of Mt. Hood is signifcant because on the day before we all went to Washington, DC, we took them up to a few patches of snow where they all experienced snow for the first time.
Here is a larger picture of all of us in Washington, DC, where we spent a week after five weeks in Oregon:
Each student was different, but all shared great intelligence and a desire to learn. I told them that they were going to spoil me for my fall 2009 Geology 101 class. They did!
Two years ago at this time I was traveling through Honduras and Nicaragua and saw three of the SUSIE students. I saw Julio Eguigurems (above) on 27 June 2012 in Honduras. He works at the national forestry school in Comayagua. I then traveled to Nicaragua to see Laura Espinoza García and Natalia Raudez. Laura just completed her first year studying for a Master's degree in Belgium on a scholarship and Natalia is married and a mommy. I unfortunately missed Lucia Paiz Medina, who has completed her Master's degree in Brussels.
Julio may be applying for a Master's degree at OSU, and Dara-Marie Raggay of Trinidad and Tobago was accepted at OSU for a Master's in Environmental Science but did not matriculate.
You don't know how much I miss you and how much you enriched my life!
Postscript: our State Department overseer loved it and thought we did a fabulous job. She joined us for a big dinner in DC, loved the students, and thought the program was a great way to connect with our hemispheric friends. When we reapplied for another similar program, we were turned down. Go figure...
"Sometimes the only difference we can make is passing our wisdom to someone else who will make the bigger difference." -- Linda B. Gray