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Research

Below is a list of field research studies that SUA grant recipients were able to conduct in the past:

Invasive Fish Species in Iquitos, Peru and Their Effects on Humanistic Development Summer 2014

Three SUA students, Hiromi Hashimoto, Wei San Loh, and Luisa Madrid, received the PBRC’s summer research grant, an award of up to $1000 to travel to conferences, institutes, workshops, or to conduct field research in developing countries. The students collaborated to research their varied interests in Iquitos, Peru. Iquitos is known both for being the world’s largest city not connected by roads and the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon.  The city thrives on fish farming and fishing due to its abundance of fish used for both ornamental use and as a food source. With this in mind, Hiromi Hashimoto, a junior at SUA analyzed the water quality of fish farms and other water sources in Iquitos and the role the government plays in protecting people’s health from unsanitary water. Wei San Loh, a senior at SUA, researched the economic relationship between malaria and the introduction of guppies in the Peruvian Amazon. Luisa Madrid’s research project investigated the management of aquaculture facilities in Iquitos and their role in both preventing and spreading invasive fish species. This research would not have been possible without the help of Ricardo Abadie, a microbiologist working for the US Navy offices in Iquitos as well as Carlos Chiquipiondo Guardia, a fish farmer in Iquitos, Soka University of America Professor Anthony Mazeroll, and Luis Tenazoa Maravi, in charge of fish sanitation in the Ministry of Fisheries in Iquitos, and, of course, the generous funding provided by the PBRC.

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Rural Community Development Program in Nepal in Summer 2010

In June of 2010, Soka University of America student Ariel Labasan travelled to Kathmandu, Nepal to participate in the Rural Community Development Program (RCDP). The program, locally operated within Kathmandu, provides volunteer opportunities related to a number of important social issues in the city and the opportunity to stay with a Nepali host family. With PBRC funding, Labasan volunteered through RCDP, to teach English to Tibetan monks in exile at Swoyambunath monastery. The student taught two classes daily, in addition to travelling around the city conducting interviews, visiting refugee camps and relevant commercial centers. As part of a larger project, the student visited and met with many individuals and organizations active in the Tibetan community in exile in Nepal. Labasan met with NGO leaders, refugees, and the head of the unofficial Tibetan embassy in Nepal to discuss current problems and social activism initiatives in the Diaspora. The English teaching experience allowed the opportunity to investigate shifting venues of cultural preservation as learning English is increasingly promoted by older monks. The main objective was to collect research and firsthand accounts (via translation when English skills were insufficient) of the affects of displacement on culture, and the importance of the Diaspora in transnationalizing culture. PBRC funds were granted and used to pay a program fee that benefits RCDP’s school building initiatives, and to cover the cost of the Labasan's airfare from California to Kathmandu.

Creative Education in Rural El Salvador in Summer 2010

Garrett Braun received $1600 from the PBRC to travel to El Salvador to implement a creative education program for rural school-age children. Braun brought art supplies to the community and formed four youth groups where he and the children would first dialogue on a range of topics, from personal values to community resources, and the youth were invited to draw their interpretations of these things. He used a United States-based NGO called Doctors for Global Health (DGH - www.dghonline.org) to connect with a community-based, legally-recognized NGO in El Salvador: Asociación de Campesinos para el Desarrollo Humano (Association of Farmers for Human Development). While working with the children, Braun had the idea to start a history book project. He brought 25 illiterate elders together with 25 literate youth to record their stories. The children then drew pictures to accompany the stories. Currently, Braun is developing the book with help from members of the community, and an NGO called Project CREED, which will be publishing the work. He will return to the community to deliver the book.

Clean Water Initiative Rwanda Mission Trip in Summer 2009

The PBRC gave a grant to Dani Siems, a SUA student, to participate in a humanitarian trip to Rwanda from July 25th to August 7th. The Rwanda Mission Trip is a two-part trip, whose goal is to bring clean drinking water to Rwandans. Dani Siems was a part of the second trip. The humanitarian mission successfully trained Rwandans in installing, operating, and maintaining water purifying systems. As a result, four McGuire Purifiers were installed, each providing clean drinking water to thousands for pennies a year. Also, the mission held sessions to give Rwandans health and hygiene training. Furthermore, they helped translate health and hygiene training manuals into Kiryawanda, one of the official languages in Rwanda. In the end, they successfully trained one hundred teachers. This mission is one of many missions who seeks to improve the conditions of Rwanda by bringing to its communities clean, safe, and accessible drinking water.

Please refer to the PBRC Update for more information about student research opportunities.

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