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DU Science Students to Explore Environment of China

Undergraduate and graduate science students from Duquesne University will conduct air and soil tests within the shadows of the Great Wall, compare and contrast issues with their Chinese counterparts and visit an endangered animal center during a two-week trip to China in August.

While many study abroad programs focus on liberal arts and humanities, this trip arranged by Ed Schroth, adjunct faculty in Duquesne’s Center for Environmental Research and Education, caters to science students who travel with cameras and comfortable walking shoes as well as with equipment to analyze air pollution, water pollution and soil contamination.

“As a group, nationally, science students rarely have opportunity to study abroad,” Schroth said. “We get fixed to that lab table and let the cultural experiences to the humanities people.”

Since 2004, Schroth has tried to change that tide by leading Duquesne science students on environmental explorations to China, working with the Chinese Association for Science and Technology. He served as a delegate on Sino-American relationships in the early 1990s and broke ground for these trips in1994, when he made his first trip with science students while a teacher in the Quaker Valley School District.

This year, 10 Duquesne students and two faculty members will participate in the field studies and academic exchange, visiting universities, environmental protection agencies, and water supply and air monitoring stations in Shanghai, Qingdao and Beijing from Aug. 2-17.

Individual interests help to form the excursions. For instance, a student’s interest in veterinary work is leading to visits to the Beijing Breeding Center of Endangered Animals. Other stops on this year’s itinerary include Beijing Jiaotong University, Shanghai Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southeast University, Beijing Wildlife Park, the Huang Huan Cheng Pass of the Great Wall, the China Lotus Flower Garden and East China Grape Vineyard in Qingdao, as well as an aquatic products breeding center in Qingdao.

As in the past, this year’s trip will include symposia where the Duquesne and Chinese students discuss similarities and differences in how various scientific topics are perceived in the U.S. and in China. Students from both sides of the globe also have the rare opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder in field analysis; expense often limits Chinese students’ fieldwork options, Schroth said.

The Chinese and American students have much to learn from each other and much to share, said Schroth. With increasing frequency, scientific topics are becoming global issues, so understanding and cooperation become all the more critical.

“To get young scientists together from different countries is so important,” Schroth said. “On this trip, we’re delegates of the University and of the United States. We’re out there trying to make a difference in the world.”

Pronunciation: Qingdao is said Ching-dow.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.