Dominican students, faculty busy during spring break

From studying field biology and conservation in Tanzania, to visiting the art galleries of Paris, to studying health care in Costa Rica, to working on behalf of orphans in Tijuana, Dominican students immersed themselves in a wide variety of educational, cultural, and service projects during Spring Break 2012.

Dr. Sibdas Ghosh and Dr. Vania Coehlo from the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics led a group of 20 students on a week-long scientific exploration of Tanzania. The group was studying the country’s plant and animal life while visiting two UNESCO world heritage sites, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania.

Dr. Luanne Linnard Palmer and Dr. Olivia Catolico from the Department of Nursing worked with 12 Dominican students in Costa Rica on an immersion trip to study the country’s national health care system. Students visited hospitals, clinics, and an orphanage over a period of eight days. Under the direction of faculty, students provided care in three situations.

In Costa Rica, every other day was focused on care, while the remaining days were focused on exploring the country’s natural beauty, with snorkeling and zip-line excursions planned.

Campus Ministry’s La Bamba spring trip to Tijuana, Mexico celebrated  its 20th anniversary. This year 14 students and two Dominican Sisters stayed at Casa de los Pobres where they helped serve meals, spent time with children from a local orphanage, and worked at a nearby Colonia by organizing a Carnival program with games and prizes for the children of the neighborhood. Social justice, issues of immigration, encountering poverty, and an immersion into the culture of Tijuana were all parts of this life-changing experience.

Campus Ministry also organized service visits in association with Habitat for Humanity in Washington state and Caritas Creek in Occidental.

Six Dominican students worked with Habitat for Humanity in Yakima, Washington. Students participated daily in the construction of a house, alongside the homeowners and college students from throughout the United States. Students also gained insight into the area’s culture and history while meeting with Native Americans from the Yakama area.

At Caritas Creek in Occidental, five students served as cabin leaders for Junior High students from various Bay Area Junior high schools. Students participated in daily treks into the redwood forest, while engaging younger students in conversations about spirituality, nature, and sustainability.

Fifteen students and five faculty members from eight different majors at Dominican spent 10 days in Paris on a cultural immersion trip led by psychology professor Dr. LeeAnn Bartolini. Faculty used the history, culture, and environment of Paris present and past as text for exploration. Highlights included group travel to all the major sites and museums, a private tour of the medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, and a day trip to Bruges in Belgium mid week.

Closer to home, students in Dr. Matthew Davis’ Natural Disasters class spent part of their spring break continuing their CERT disaster preparedness training. The training was assigned by Dr. Davis in lieu of a more traditional research paper assignment.  Of the 20 Dominican students enrolled in the class, 15 elected to take on the CERT training.