Microbial Research Brings Colombian Students to Lewis Soil

Microbial Research Brings Colombian Students to Lewis University Soil

Published: July 25, 2022.

Eight students from Lewis University and Universidad De La Salle in Bogota, Colombia participated in a weeklong experience, Microbial Community Analysis of Soil Samples.  

“One of the best experiences of my life, I expanded my knowledge and expectations about my future studying and as a future environmental and sanitary engineer,” Universidad De La Salle student Karen González Peña commented. “The study of microorganisms in soils is a field still unexplored and has great potential in the world we are in today. 

The workshop was a collaboration between Dr. Jerry Kavouras, Lewis University professor of biology, and Dr. Rosalina Gonzalez, Universidad De La Salle professor of environmental and sanitary engineering. Kavouras explained, “They gained an understanding about soil microbes and their significance. They also learned and used laboratory techniques that can be applied to examine the impact of contaminants on soils.” 

Four students from the Universidad De La Salle Environmental and Sanitary Engineering program traveled to the Lewis University Romeoville campus as a study abroad experience. "This study abroad not only furthers current academic and research collaborations between Universidad de La Salle and Lewis University but also is part of a new concept of Internationalization of Higher Education for Society,” Marjorie Zomignani, Universidad De La Salle coordinator of international initiatives. She accompanied the Colombian students to Lewis University and added “The institutions seek international activities that transcend the borders of the university as a vehicle for positive changes in students, in society and environment through a cross-cultural and cooperation approach." 

Universidad De La Salle student Camila Valdes commented, “This experience was a great opportunity to learn about different techniques in terms of soil collection and analysis and also to have another perspective on what was being analyzed, as well the experience provided the opportunity to have a professional growth, but also a personal growth, because in addition to the academic knowledge gained, with this approach we had the opportunity to generate an exchange of cultural knowledge,”  

Participating Lewis University students included senior environmental science students Alex Crickman and Charlene Kueterman. Junior biology students included Tyler MacDougal, Rachel May and Alina Khan. 

“Working with international students from Universidad de La Salle allowed me to apply valuable skills that are part of intercultural communication, cooperation and problem-solving,” Lewis University student Alina Khan commented. “I think it is very important to appreciate the interaction between different social groups in an educational setting because it encourages us to learn, overcome challenges by working as a group, and comprehend things from various perspectives while making each other feel comfortable as friends.”  

Lewis University is an innovative Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,400 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, and globally-connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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