Student Stories: Environmental major has Mozambique memory

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Laura Davis had dreamed of traveling to Africa for years. So in May 2012, she jumped at the chance to embark on a journey to South Africa and Mozambique offered through a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences natural resources embedded course.

The trip was a life-changing experience.

"I loved the idea of being able to learn about the natural world around me while traveling," the senior environmental resource management major said. "This trip not only taught students about the resources of southern Africa, but also allowed us to experience the region for ourselves."

Davis, of Tunkhannock, Pa., and her fellow students were required to take classes to prepare for the trip. After the semester ended, they spent three weeks in South Africa and Mozambique focusing on natural resources.

The students learned about African development issues, geography, society and culture, as well as the role and use of natural resources on the continent.

In South Africa, the group traveled to a number of national parks, including famous Addo Elephant National Park. They also visited and toured several universities.

"In Mozambique we spent most of our time in the regions surrounding Gorongosa National Park," Davis said. "I did an independent study in Mozambique at this park."

She worked with the environmental educator at the park to create lessons for the local communities to promote awareness of issues such as pollution, poaching and sustainable agriculture.

"I was greatly influenced and inspired by my research and experiences in Mozambique," she said. "I would love to go back and work in Africa in the future."

For information about the environmental resource management major, visit the website.

Last Updated March 06, 2013