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Global Environmental Brigades
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Casey Lynne Watt

Casey Lynne Watt

Hometown: Collegeville, PA
Major: Biological Anthropology

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I joined Global Brigades in the beginning of the year after going to the involvement fair. Once I heard that they go on brigades to other countries to work on a variety of projects, I became really interested.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

The Penn State Global Environmental Brigade traveled to Darien, Panama for one week during spring break. We visited the indigenous community of Piriati Embera and built greenhouses for three of the families in that community. We had workshops that the women and some of the men from the community attended to teach them about sustainable agriculture methods such as composting, long-term planting methods, and waste management. We also got to learn a lot about their culture and the history of their community during a cultural day on the last day of visiting the community. As a supplement to the trip, our coordinator was generous enough to take us around Panama City and to see the Panama Canal. The trip was really eye-opening and definitely gave me a new perspective on how to live life and how I impact the environment and world around me.

"After going on this trip and learning more about ecology, I definitely want to incorporate conservation into my career goals."

How did this experience impact you academically?

This experience definitely showed me a whole other way of living and allowed me to experience a completely different culture than what I am used to. I believe with this new found knowledge, I have a more holistic perspective on how the world works and how each and every individual impacts it. I learned a lot about ecology and gained experience in teaching other people what I have learned. I worked with a great team of 17 other students and gained teamwork skills while learning how to communicate with people who speak different languages. I think all of these skills will culminate into enriching my academic experience and motivating me to work even harder.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

I am planning on working as either a paleoanthropologist or primatologist. Essentially, I would like to research primate behavior and morphology. Before this trip, I had minimal knowledge about how conservation efforts could fit into my career plans. However, after going on this trip and learning more about ecology, I definitely want to incorporate conservation into my career goals. One avenue would be to connect the conservation of primates to human impact on their habitats. I believe there is a connection between what I want to do and conservation efforts, and am excited to explore this path. This experience also made me realize just how much I would like to travel as part of my career because it is essential to understanding the world in a holistic way.

Would you recommend this experience to other liberal arts students?

Yes.

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