WWU, Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina to Collaborate on New Student Exchange and Research Project

Western Washington University and the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina of Lima, Peru will collaborate on a new project titled “Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management Education in the US North Cascades and Peruvian Andes” sponsored by 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, CAF: Development Bank of Latin America, the U.S. Department of State, and SEMPRA Energy.

With this grant, 10 Peruvian students will study at WWU for a quarter-long exchange where students will study Conservation of Biological Diversity and Ecosystem Management and develop their English skills; WWU students are already working in the Andes as part of summer research through Western's Mountain Environments Research Institute (MERI).

“This is an incredible opportunity for both Western’s students and students from Peru to spend time in another country to better understand the issues facing climate research both in the Andes and the Cascades,” said John All, director of MERI. “These two mountain ranges have so much in common, but more importantly, our students have so much to learn from each other when they go abroad.”

The program seeks to improve access to study abroad for underrepresented groups including women, native Quechua speakers, and rural students and will increase professional preparation for Peruvian students through service learning as they work in U.S. national parks and forests to collect environmental data.

Following the completion of the program, students will apply their experiences in laboratories, continue research, and influence future program participants, which will increase the number of students from both WWU and UNLAM pursuing education abroad.

The grants will fund a total of 13 partnerships between institutions in the United States and Peru; other participating U.S. universities include Penn State, Virginia Tech, Harvard, and the University of Washington.

For more information on this project, contact John All at john.all@wwu.edu.