calendar Add meeting dates to your calendar.


Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


PAIZIS, Nicole1, GEYER, Christopher1, KGAODI, Oratile2, KOONTSE, Thobo2, AKOKO, Eric1, CRUSE, Anna M.1, ATEKWANA, Eliot A.1, MOLWALEFHE, Loago N.2, MASAMBA, Wellington3 and RINGROSE, Susan3, (1)Boone Pickens School of Geology, Oklahoma State University, 105 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, OK 74078-3031, (2)Department of Geology, University of Botswana, Private Bag UB00704, Gaborone, Botswana, (3)Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Center, University of Botswana, Private Bag 285, Maun, Botswana,

Given the global nature of many of the problems addressed by geoscientists, it is increasingly imperative that U.S. students graduate with not only advanced technical and scientific skills, but also with an exposure to international cultures. We have completed our first field season conducting research on carbon cycling in the Okavango Delta, located in northwestern Botswana, in conjunction with colleagues from the University of Botswana (UB) and Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Center (HOORC). Our goals for this project are two-fold: first, to conduct high-quality research with undergraduate and graduate students on the effects of vegetation on the water and carbon balance in the Okavango River, and second, to expose the students to the challenges and joys of conducting research with international colleagues. The U.S. students were expected to not only participate fully in the research objectives, but were partnered with UB students for the full five weeks. In this way, students from both countries gained a strong appreciation for the similarities and differences in attitudes and cultural mores between the two countries, and, the U.S. students in particular, gained an appreciation for the logistical and personnel issues that can arise when conducting research in international settings.

To this end, students were housed near the university where the UB students lived to facilitate regular interactions. At the same time, the success we achieved in our international educational goals was due to the willingness of the UB students to share their lives with the U.S. students, and take them to such seemingly mundane places as the university dormitories and classes, Sunday soccer, and local shops. For their part, the U.S. students took an active role in training the UB students in the methods used in the fields and working jointly to accomplish the research objectives. Ultimately, a successful international research experience starts early, with the selection of students, who not only have the drive to be successful scientists, but who are willing to embrace a new culture and a new language with open minds. Early introduction into the norms of international life is also key to minimizing any homesickness or frustration, especially for the parts of U.S. daily life that are taken for granted.

Meeting Home page GSA Home Page