Kimberly, Guatemala

Kimberly is a junior double major in biological sciences and chemistry in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. As part of SMU Engaged Learning, she is conducting an Unbridled Project in Guatemala during 2012-13. She plans to research health-related traditions, beliefs and practices in the indigenous Mayan community and evaluate how these values and beliefs occasionally clash with Western medicine. Before heading to Guatemala, she is studying at SMU-in-Taos.

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Fleas, ticks and parasites: Taos in June

I first decided to study at the SMU-in-Taos campus during the spring. I remember seeing so much information on the classes that were offered and the overall environment. Upon arriving at Taos I could hardly believe how beautiful the land is. There are trees everywhere, and the weather is absolutely amazing! The only downside I can seem to even think of would be the bugs. It seems that since I am becoming very in touch with nature, the bugs want to be my friends as well. However, not even the mosquitoes can annoy me and cause me to leave this wonderful atmosphere.

I am currently enrolled in Parasitology here at Taos.  Under the supervision of Dr. John Ubelaker, my partner and I are evaluating deer mice and the different environments that can affect the parasite population. In a quick summary, what this actually means is that my partner and I set out traps every day in different locations around campus: in sagebrush, near the creek or in the forest. We then capture the deer mice in the traps and see what parasites they have. Each day in the lab is so interesting as we get to see what parasites are in the surrounding environments.

Now, not all my work is parasite related.  Yes, there are fleas and ticks that I see on a daily basis, but while I am here in Taos I am also preparing for my Engaged Learning trip to Guatemala in July. Additionally, there are many field trips that our class goes on. Just recently we went to The Gorge, which is basically a giant canyon where the Rio Grande has eroded away soil over time. We have also taken field trips to Santa Fe, Cerro Pedernal and visited the Taos Cow. This weekend we are taking a field trip to Williams Lake! I cannot wait!

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    About Kimberly Mendoza

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