CSU opens International research center in Mexico

Mapa de la misión de Todos Santos, Baja Califo...
Mapa de la misión de Todos Santos, Baja California Peninsula. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the Mexican town Todos Santos, home to beaches and mountains in the distance, Colorado State University will open a research center that will bring opportunities for CSU students to conduct research, study abroad for a short amounts of time and do week-long extensive programs.

The idea is to have a long-term commitment to the town in Mexico where students and professors can help develop it, but also learn in an international manner, according to Laura Thornes, the director of Education Abroad. The research and teaching center will be up and running in the spring of 2015.

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“A little bit of everything will be offered. There will be aspects of research, academic pieces, service learning, study abroad and the further development of Todos Santos,” Thornes said.

Programs will include a week-long extensive program for vet students to perform surgeries like neutering and spaying local animals. There are more animals that need to be fixed in Mexico than in Colorado where vet students now do their extensive surgery program in Denver, Thornes said.

“It is a great opportunity for students to do surgical work in a great setting,” Professor Wayne A. Jensen said.

According to Jensen, the CSU research and teaching center will extend opportunities to many students in many programs and majors offered at CSU.

However, the University is not waiting for the center to be built for programs to start. This summer, CSU is offering Just for Kids, a program where college students work with 8- to 12-year-olds for a week. According to Thornes, it is a theatre camp taught in both English and Spanish.

“I am really excited to spend an extended period of time there. I went down in the fall for a couple days and fell in love with the town and area,” said Tony Vessels, a senior theatre major.

During the camp in Mexico, Vessels said he is looking forward to connecting with the culture and the process of teaching kids about theatre, music and ultimately putting on plays at the end of the week.

“At the end of the week, we will invite families and friends to come watch the plays the kids have created,” Vessels said.

Other opportunities will encompass study abroad, including a wildlife ecology course that will focus on marine biology and service learning opportunities to help build the community of Todos Santos.

“Through this facility we’ll be able to offer new types of educational programming, give our students exposure to working in global environments and provide our researchers with opportunities to investigate global issues at a CSU center in the heart of another country,” said Rick Miranda, provost and executive vice president of CSU.

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According to Miranda, the center will provide a partnership that will enhance CSU’s mission of teaching, research, service and outreach.

“Every student and faculty visit will be directly tied to that mission through supervised, university programming,” Miranda said.

The center will allow CSU to have a long-term investment in the area, to develop and to positively impact the community, according to Thornes.

“CSU Todos Santos Center will benefit CSU students, CSU research and Todos Santos residents and support national efforts to develop close educational and trade ties with Mexico’s government, economy and people,” Miranda said.

Collegian International Beat Reporter Josephine Bush can be reached at news@collegian.com.