Kayla Clem

International Experience Country:
Costa Rica
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

Chatham University

Heinz Programming Area:
International Experience Summary:

Kayla Clem studied Sustainable Development and Applied Research Techniques in Atenas, Costa Rica, for 4 weeks through the School for Field Studies. She took classes that taught her field research techniques as well as the basic principles of sustainable development. She traveled to 9 different areas of the country and participated in 3 field exercises as well as a professor directed research project. The field exercises allowed her to apply her new research skills as she studied the camouflaging patterns of tadpoles in the Poco Sol Rainforest, counted and identified plant species and quantified incidences of erosion along roads in the Paramo ecosystem at Cerro de la Muerte, and collected survey data in the tourist town of La Fortuna. She participated in directed research about occupational segregation and wage inequalities of women in the tourism industry of Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula. This allowed her to do her own applied research project as a part of a 5 year research plan that will later be used for the benefit of Costa Rican women. Kayla was also a part of The School for Field Studies research symposium where she learned to present research findings and share her data with the rest of the university. Kayla had the chance to interact with the local community through service projects (i.e. collecting trash in Atenas), conducting surveys and interviews for research, and by attending classes with a Tico classmate. She was also able to experience Costa Rican culture by staying at the SFS center that is staffed partially by locals and provides 3 authentic meals for students daily. 

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: PREACH: Understanding Religion's Contribution to Culture

The Chatham University 2014 cohort organized PREACH!: Understanding Religion's Contribution to Culture. This event was an on-campus event that sought to address and break down religion stereotypes and misconceptions. It featured a panel discussion constructed of Pittsburgh community members that are involved with the Hindu, Buddhist, and Islamic religions.  Audience members were asked to write down a 6-word phroase that summarized their thoughts with one another while enjoying refreshments from the countries that the cohort members traveled to.  Previously completed 6 word memoir cards were also displayed in the room to spark conversation.  A discussion was then facilitated that addressed a multitude of relevant religious questions and issues.  To begin, panelists explained the basic tenants of their religions and cleared up any misconceptions of what our culture or media may portray. They then shared some personal experiences of intolerance that were both inspiring and thought provoking.  Lastly and perhaps most importantly, they gave their insight on how our community can continue to move toward tolerance and become involved.  Following the discussion, willing audience members and panelists shared their personal 6 work memoirs.  Throughout as well as following the event, there was great camaraderie among panelists and the audience exhibited a desire to continue to understand religions other than their own.