Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad


Study Abroad Students Present Research at Weekend of Excellence

Study Abroad Students Present Research at Weekend of Excellence

During Loyola’s 6th Annual Weekend of Excellence, students in the spring 2016 semester science course “Conservation and Sustainability of Neo-tropic Ecosystems,” ENVS 345E/BIOL 395E, presented their primary research on Belize’s water quality and bird migration. As a part of the curriculum, students in this Engaged Learning course studied abroad on a 10 day trip to Belize during spring break, led by Fr. Stephen Mitten S.J., Director of Biodiversity Research LUREC in the Institute for Environmental Sustainability. During their time in Belize, they learned about the country’s dynamic ecosystem and natural history.

While in Belize, all students worked on data collection of two citizen science projects. One project consisted of collecting data on neo-tropical migrant and resident birds. The second project involved testing the effects of human-made pollution along the Sibun River, the 4th largest river in Belize, which is crucial to biodiversity within the Central American Corridor. Upon returning to the states, the students signed up for one or the other “Poster Creating Project.” The students then successfully presented their collective research during Loyola’s Weekend of Excellence, April 14- 17.

Students found the trip to Belize highly beneficial to their education while also providing great, eye-opening experiences. “It has shown me how important it is for us, who live in developed nations, to be aware of the rest of the world and how we impact it. It has also shown me how important environmentalism is to the rest of the world,” one student said.

Presenting the Sibun River Watershed Quality poster was Nicole Spehn, Genesis Bustamante, and Abby Shrift. Presenting the Citizen Science eBird poster was Stephany Virruete and Rosemary Stresino. The Weekend of Excellence is a weekend long event that showcases Loyola students’ achievements. This year, the showcase featured more than 1,000 students.