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Friday, February 20, 2009

SU Pursues Academic, Service Initiatives in Mexico

Pictured, from left: José Guadalupe de Anda Salas, director of the Department of Institutional Programs and Community Development for DIF-Estatal; Adriana Rodríguez Castro, executive director of DIF-Estatal; Dr. Laura Marasco, SU associate professor of education; Carmelín López de Reynoso, president of DIF-Estatal; Dr. Brian Stiegler, director of the SU Center for International Education; and Elia Margarita Millor Mauri, chief of the Department of Institutional Programs and Community Development for DIF-Estatal.
SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University has begun development of a new set of global initiatives in Aguascalientes, Mexico, focused on service learning, internships, student and faculty exchange.

A small SU delegation including Dr. Brian Stiegler, director of the SU Center for International Education, and Dr. Laura Marasco, associate professor of education, recently traveled to Aguascalientes, several hours north of Mexico City.

The SU officials visited with representatives from the state of Aguascalientes’ division of social services, known by its Spanish acronym, DIF-Estatal, as well as several local universities. They were received by the first lady of the State of Aguascalientes, Carmelín López de Reynoso, wife of the governor, Luis Armando Reynoso Femat. As first lady, López de Reynoso serves as President of the DIF-Estatal, among other duties.

The first initiative SU plans to pursue in Aguascalientes is a collaborative volunteer service-learning project with the DIF-Estatal during spring break 2010. The project will involve outreach to highly marginalized communities on the fringes of the city. SU students will work with the local community and staff from the DIF-Estatal on projects focusing on clean water, nutrition, sanitation and other basic needs.

The service project will be an extension of the newly created SU Global Service Project. Nine students are preparing to embark for San Carlos, Costa Rica, on the second annual Global Service Project during this year’s spring break under the direction of Marasco.

The inaugural Global Service Project took place with Dr. Jill Caviglia-Harris, associate professor of economics, last year in Cartago, Costa Rica. The new partnership with the DIF-Estatal in Aguascalientes seeks to lower the cost of the Global Service Project for SU students, while developing an ongoing relationship with a community abroad.

In addition to the Global Service Project, the SU delegation explored initial possibilities for student internships with the DIF-Estatal in Aguascalientes. Interships may be available in disciplines as diverse as education, conflict resolution, teaching English as a second language, applied health, social work, sociology, Spanish, psychology, business administration and international studies, among others.

The Center for International Education is also working on details to provide student and faculty exchange opportunities with the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes. For more Information contact the center at sucie@salisbury.edu.



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