Rachel Glab recently spent time on an idyllic Caribbean island, but she wasn’t there to stick her toes in the sand.
Rather, Glab was in Montserrat on bird business—specifically, researching how to protect the Montserrat oriole, a species facing various threats. Glab spent three days on the island interviewing a range of local residents and members of the United Kingdom-based Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. She also performed fieldwork including blood collection and banding, working under the direction of CALS ornithologist and animal sciences professor Mark Berres.
“My goal was to gain experience in data analysis and genetic work, along with developing and conducting interviews to gain broad perspectives on how to protect the oriole—what’s working, what isn’t, and what it really takes to get people together to facilitate positive change for a species,” says Glab.
Travel abroad wasn’t really in the cards for her, at least not for now. Glab, 27, is paying her own way through school. She is a licensed veterinary technician with AAS degrees in both veterinary medicine and laboratory animal medicine, and she has a job taking care of research animals at the UW’s Wisconsin Institutes for Medical Research (WIMR). Her work at WIMR convinced her to get her bachelor’s degree, and she plans to pursue a degree in medicine after graduating.
International travel would have been beyond her means without funding from the CALS Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, which was just renamed the Kenneth H. Shapiro CALS Study Abroad Fund in honor of the recently retired professor of agricultural and applied economics and former associate dean and director of CALS International Programs.
Throughout his career Shapiro greatly expanded CALS research and service partnerships with countries around the world and raised scholarship funds so that all students could participate.
Numerous studies and testimonials confirm the benefits of study abroad, which include developing a globally minded workforce, allowing students to study natural resources not available in the United States and—perhaps most important—offering students a broader, richer experience of the world.
Glab speaks to some of those benefits. “The experience made me look at our country differently, at the way we live and the access we have to things here,” says Glab, noting that people in Montserrat make do with much less. “My interactions with residents and conservationists there were priceless to me. I’ve come back with greater awareness of what we have and what we can do together.”
To help support the Kenneth H. Shapiro CALS Study Abroad Fund, visit: supportuw.org/giveto/shapirostudyabroad
The UW Foundation maintains more than 6,000 gift funds that provide critical resources for the educational and research activities of CALS.
This article was posted in Fall 2012, International, Wildlife Biology and tagged International, Rachel Glab, Study Abroad Fund, UW Foundation.