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Colgate Students Travel the World

By bentonscholars on April 6, 2013

This past summer, the Benton Scholars Program gave out three grants to fund  three Colgate students’ trips to different corners of the world where they engaged with various international issues. They returned to campus and incorporated their experiences into discussions with peers and course work.

Jodie Koo  – Senior – Washington DC – Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the Treasury

I spent the first seven months of 2012 in our nation’s capital – the first half was during the second semester of my junior year; I was on the Washington Political Science Study Group led by Professor Michael Hayes. I took three seminar level courses while interning at the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of International Affairs. Specifically, I worked for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Office. As an International Relations major, I have studied foreign policy but this was the first time I had the opportunity to actually observe and participate in the Washington policy-making process. For instance, I would sometimes accompany my supervisor to meetings with State Department or World Bank officials. As the semester wound down, I was extended a summer offer – still at Treasury, but with the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI). Because I promised my parents I would support myself financially if I did not return home to Los Angeles for the summer, I needed funding if I were to remain in the city.  The Benton Scholars grant allowed me to accept my internship offer at TFI. Over the past summer, I learned about transnational crime and how these organizations move their money, a fascinating experience I would not have been able to enjoy without the help of the Benton Scholars Program.

Jacqlyn Zier – Sophomore – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – United Nations Climate Conference

Last June I participated in the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Descending into Rio by air, it became clear to me why this city was chosen to host this sustainable development conference. Resting between the Amazon Rainforest and the Atlantic Ocean, Rio is breathtaking. Whenever UN diplomats opened their eyes, they were confronted with nature’s profuse beauty.

New_jacq rio pic (1)

        The goal of Rio+20 was to compile sustainable development guidelines into a single text upon which countries would agree and commit. Many people think that the resolution adopted at Rio+20, called “The Future We Want,” was not ambitious enough to mitigate climate change. I met with the US delegation and Secretary Clinton. The US delegation stressed that their biggest challenge was creating domestic awareness of climate issues. Therefore I urge readers to familiarize themselves with sustainable living. Or, buy a ticket to Rio soon before it is too late.

Viktor Mak – Sophomore – Quetzaltenango, Guatemala – Trama Textiles

New_Mak guatemal picThis past summer, I traveled to Guatemala for five weeks of intensive Spanish lessons. My lessons lasted from eight in the morning to two in the afternoon, and I soon found myself, after lunch with my host family and a nap, with lots of free time.  After looking around in Quetzaltenango, I stumbled into TRAMA Textiles, an indigenous all women’s weaving cooperative. TRAMA was a group of 400 women, from 17 villages in the nearby mountains that had started this cooperative during the Guatemalan civil war to help them sell their textiles. Most of their sales were either locally to tourists or to international retailers. I saw an opportunity to expand their business by opening on online store. I pitched my idea to the volunteer director and she loved it. I set up an Etsy.com store and started taking product pictures, writing descriptions and ultimately selling goods around the world. Check out the store at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/TRAMAtextiles

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