KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 19, 2018
Students Begin Research Project in Guinea-Bissau
Ever since middle school, Rachel Langkau has known she wanted to be a cultural anthropologist. This summer, she got her first taste of field research by visiting the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau to talk about environmentalism.
Langkau was part of a team of students led by Brandon D. Lundy, associate director of the School of Conflict Management, Peacebuilding and Development and associate professor of anthropology, working on a research project about millennial perceptions of climate change. The four-week study abroad was only the second educational-cultural initiative to Guinea-Bissau greenlighted by the U.S. Embassy since its renewed operations in 2014, and the first involving U.S. students abroad.
As part of their research, Langkau and the other students interviewed college students and teachers in Guinea-Bissau about how they experience the environment around them.
“We had some informational questions and asked people to draw what they thought their environment looked like hundreds of years ago and what it will look like in the future,” Langkau said.
What surprised Langkau most was the passion both the students and teachers had for the topic and how acutely aware they were of the changes in their environment.
“They spent a lot of time on their drawings on the environment and explaining how they see the world. They obviously care a lot about the environment. It was fascinating to hear from these other students.”
Lundy, a Fulbright scholar, has visited Guinea-Bissau previously and was eager to continue his research and give students the opportunity to experience another culture.
“Guinea-Bissau is in a unique position. It is one of the lowest below sea-level countries and has one of the most biodiverse environments on Earth. Because of that, environmental concerns are top of mind here,” Lundy said.
The group collected a large amount of data that they are now analyzing and sharing with their counterparts in Guinea-Bissau.
“This opportunity has really helped me get the experience for my field. I’m thrilled to have had the chance to participate in such an incredible project with Dr. Lundy,” Langkau said. “Now I have hands-on environmental research that I can continue working on. I know this is what I want to do and Kennesaw State is giving me a place to do that.”
– Andrea Judy
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