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Dachs Undergraduate Research Internship: Guatemala

Dachs Undergraduate Research Internship: Guatemala

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Program summary

Since 2010, FSI has sent a group of Stanford University undergraduate students to the Lake Atitlán region in the Guatemalan highlands for an intensive field research internship. The students are mentored in the field by FSI faculty members Paul H. Wise and Beatriz Magaloni. The group is joined by members of a visiting medical team and health partners on the ground in Guatemala.

The program is designed to engage students in collaborative research that:

  • introduces undergraduates to issues of global chronic underdevelopment
  • promotes mentoring relationships between FSI faculty and students
  • enables students to contribute to FSI's policy-relevant research
  • fosters collaboration across disciplines at the undergraduate level
  • creates a pipeline of young scholars interested in solving global development problems
  • offers direct exposure to experimental research methodology

What I have truly come to recognize is that amidst the lushness of this beautiful country lies a hidden truth of hard choices and a hard life. ~ Maria Contreras, '11

Research goals/methods

The research goals fall under the general interests of Professor Wise's Child Health program and Professor Magaloni's Program on Poverty and Governance at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Both programs examine issues of maternal and children's health, and the impact of local governance on health outcomes.

While in Guatemala, students divide their time between clinical work in the centros de salúd and in-home interviews with community members and local health promoters supported by the Children in Crisis program.

With guidance from the faculty members, students develop their own research plan which they carry out through clinical work and field interviews. Each student is also encouraged to pursue topics of personal academic interest. Research topics have included:

  • Conditional cash transfers
  • Access to health care
  • Children's malnutrition
  • Water quality and sanitation
  • Reproductive health and family planning
  • Challenges to communal collective action

During their time in Guatemala, students contribute to the to track their experiences and observations. When they return from the trip, they prepare a report with their research findings. Click here to read the 2012 Guatemala interns report ( 153.73 KB ) or the 2011 Guatemala interns report on mental health ( 28.07 MB ).

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