Students Testify to Value of Brazilian Research Experience
Oswego students Earl Bellinger '12 and Janet Buckner '11 eagerly tell how their summer 2010 work at the college's global laboratories in Brazil studying the stars and surveying wildlife has opened opportunities for them as future scientists.
As they prepared to return this summer, they had a chance to share their stories with representatives of the international partnership that is supporting a Brazilian research experience for them and 13 other SUNY students this year and another 15 next year.
Officials from Sovereign Bank/Banco Santander, the SUNY system and Brazil's State of Alagoas visited SUNY Oswego in May to hear Bellinger's and Buckner's presentations. Banco Santander awarded $160,000 to SUNY to support student participation in ongoing research at Brazilian sites in Oswego's new network of global laboratories.
"We strongly believe that future leaders will be global leaders," said Eduardo Garrido, director of the Santander Universities program at Sovereign Bank, a U.S. subsidiary of Spain-based Banco Santander. "This has to be fostered."
Buckner gave an illustrated presentation of her work in Brazil's Pantanal wetlands with Cleane Medeiros of Oswego's biological sciences faculty. She participated in a survey of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates, gathering data that will help protect the habitat.
"I've had dreams of being a scientist forever," the zoology major said. This summer, she returns in search of ideas for her doctoral research. A McNair Scholar at Oswego as well as a participant in the college's Honors Program, Buckner has been accepted to pursue a doctorate at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Bellinger reported on his work last summer studying the period luminosity relationship of Cepheid stars in the Large Magellanic Cloud, working with Shashi Kanbur, Oswego's faculty fellow and a member of the physics faculty. "You can't see the Magellanic Cloud from the northern hemisphere yet it holds all the data that I'm researching," Bellinger said.
This summer the junior double major in computer science and applied mathematics is working on computational quantum physics at the Federal University of Alagoas in Maceio.
SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley last year traveled to the state of Alagoas in the northeastern region of Brazil to sign three agreements that established some of the first global laboratories in Oswego's planned world-spanning network, including an agreement with the state of Alagoas.
In turn, Eduardo Setton, secretary for science, technology and innovation for the state of Alagoas, came to Oswego and heard Buckner's and Bellinger's presentations. Setton spoke of the tech park in Maceio and the opportunities for international collaboration there through such agreements as Oswego has established.
Kanbur described Oswego's network of global laboratories, which he is helping to develop, as "absolutely unique," and Bellinger added that his experience supports that claim: "My friends at private universities have expressed envy that we have such fantastic opportunities at our public university."
–— Julie Harrison Blissert
Officials from Sovereign Bank/Banco Santander, the SUNY system and Brazil's State of Alagoas visited SUNY Oswego to preview the work that 15 SUNY students will do this summer at Oswego's global laboratories in Brazil under the first phase of a $160,000 Santander-funded project. Present were, from left, Eduardo Garrido, director of Santander Universities at Sovereign Bank; Eduardo Setton, Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation, state of Alagoas, Brazil; Lorrie Clemo, SUNY Oswego interim provost; Phedra Khosropour, vice president of institutional relations of Santander Universities; SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley; Earl Bellinger '11; Sally Crimmins Villela, SUNY assistant vice chancellor for global affairs; Janet Buckner '12; and Claudia Hernandez, program officer for Latin America and financial manager from SUNY global affairs.
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