Funded with a $2.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Beyond Traditional Borders is designed to help students reach beyond traditional geographic and disciplinary boundaries to solve health-care problems in the developing world.
BTB interns Meagan Barry and Tiffany Yeh were the first to depart this summer, leaving the day after commencement for a four-week stay in Haiti that will be followed by a six-week program in Guatemala. Barry, a biosciences major, graduated last month. Yeh, a cognitive sciences major, will be a senior in the fall.
In northern Haiti, Barry and Yeh are implementing a health-education program for elementary students at the St. Barthelemy School in the town of Terrier Rouge. They are interacting with 450 children in classes ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade. Using in-class lessons and homework, Barry and Yeh are teaching basic hygiene and health, such as how diseases like dysentery are transmitted, as well as how common practices like hand-washing can prevent infection.
In a May 30 blog entry, Barry described a classsroom experiment in which she and Yeh used a microscope connected to a laptop computer to show the children the many germs in water from a muddy puddle. The children had to compare the dirty water to a sample of purified water. Later that afternoon, the Rice students met a man who excitedly thanked them for their work. His children attend the school, and they had already told him about the morning's lesson.
"Tiffany and I were so happy that the children were sharing their experiences with their parents and that they understood the purpose of the experiments!" Barry wrote.
Barry and Yeh will next travel to Guatemala, where they'll work for six weeks with F
|Contact: B. J. Almond|