ASU honor student spends winter break studying in Peru

Emily PerezEmily Perez

Emily Perez, a senior nursing major in the Angelo State University Honors Program, is spending her winter break studying and conducting research in South America after being one of only 15 honors students nationwide chosen for this year’s Amazon Winterim in Peru through the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC), according to an ASU media release. 

A winterim is a three-week session between fall and spring semesters offered by some universities.

Co-sponsored by the NCHC and the Honors College at Florida International University, the three-week experiential learning program focuses on the topic of “Health without Borders.” The participating students will explore the Amazon region, study the region’s history, population composition, biodiversity and ecology and research tropical health issues.

After spending a week in Iquitos, Peru, the largest urban center in the western Amazon, Perez and other students will travel by boat to Mazan on the Napo River and then to the Madre Selva Biological Station on the Amazon River. Throughout the trip, Perez will investigate the perceptions and medical treatment of childhood obesity in the indigenous population. The students then return to Iquitos to present the results of their research projects.

At the conclusion of the program Jan. 20, students receive college credit for two courses, “Health and Disease on a Rainforest Frontier” and “Amazon Environmental Change and Global and Human Health.” Course instructors are Dr. Devon Graham, president and science director of the nonprofit agency Project Amazonas, and Dr. Stephen Wooding, assistant professor of public health at the University of California-Merced.

A native of Hutto, Perez is the first ASU student ever to be selected for a NCHC semester program. She previously completed a month-long volunteer nursing program in Guatemala through the Honors Program and Cross Cultural Solutions in summer 2014.

Perez’s Amazon Winterim in Peru trip is being funded through the Alvin and Patricia New Honors Program Enhancement Fund, which was created in 2008 through an initial $250,000 donation to the ASU Honors Program by former San Angelo Mayor Alvin New and his wife, Patricia, who are both ASU alumni.