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Environmental internship in Panama: Kristina Rodriguez ‘12
I spent two weeks of my summer working for a new, non-profit, environmental education organization based out of Casco Viejo, Panama. The purpose of my trip was to meet up with Chris Del Vecchio, a graduate from Brandeis University, and help her out with a program that she recently created.
The main objective of the program I worked with is to work with a selected group of young, disadvantaged Panamanians to increase their understanding and awareness of their environment and their relationship to it, and to help them place it within a global context.
Chris is working with both STRI- the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and APROJUSAN- la Asociación Pro Juventud de San Felipe (an after school program for kids of all ages), to get these kids out into different areas of nature and significance in Panama.
During my stay, I mainly helped Chris out with the logistics of her program. We brainstormed and came up with the name “mimundo” and decided on a logo that the kids would help us create. We designed a website (a first for both of us) to upload photos and news of events happening with the program. I was able to meet with some of the organization’s partners, such as the education specialist at STRI as well as some of the administrators of APROJUSAN, and really got a feel for the kind of work that Chris was doing. I was also able to spend a couple of afternoons hanging out at APROJUSAN with the kids, doing various things with them such as cleaning up the play room, kicking around a soccer ball, and sketching and painting animal pictures that would be used to create the logo for mimundo.
Unfortunately, my stay was not long enough to actually go on any of the planned fieldtrips with Chris and the kids, but I left satisfied knowing that I was able to help out with such a great program. Of course I was able to do some of the touristy things during my two weeks abroad, such as visiting the infamous Panama Canal, checking out some of the hot spots for dining and shopping in Panama City, soaking up the hot sun on the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean Sea, and exploring the world’s only inhabited volcanic crater, known as El Valle.