Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why Grad School Can Be Cool

I've been a pretty infrequent visitor to the blog this summer but I always feel at home when I find my way back here. I'm in the midst of preparing for a week's worth of comprehensive essay exams which takes up most of my time but I wanted to share a few pics from my summer travels. For my dissertation I'm working for a non-profit that organizes service learning trip for middle and high school kids. In June I traveled to Peru with a group of 46 kids and 40 adults for two weeks. We spent a week in the Amazon and week hiking to Machu Picchu. I hope you like the slide shows, if you watch very carefully you might notice my celebrity encounter. (Hint: Is Lost going to have an Aztec theme this season?)

Week 1 - The Amazon

Week 2 - Inca Trail


  1. Umm...holy crap. Those are some spectacular pictures, Mat. What a vacation (I refuse to believe you were working).

    A couple of questions:

    What the hell is your research, exactly? "How to make friends with seemingly more practical degrees very, very jealous"?

    Those people weren't really Evangeline Lilly and Dominic Monaghan, right?

    Don't you think that a "scorpion spider" is overkill? Like a "sword gun" or "hamburger pizza"? How many of your kids did that thing end up carrying off?

  2. In answer to your questions: yes, yes, and sword guns rock!

    Actually, I'm doing an outcome evaluation for this non-profit and I traveled with the group to conduct interviews with the kids and their parents regarding their learning experience. They're interested how the experience impacts environmental attitudes and behavior and I'm interested in how the quality of the relationships between kids and adults in the program influences outcomes. You know, if a counselor pushes you down and calls you a wimp you don't learn stuff but if the counselor gives you five bucks you learn lots of stuff.

    Yes, that was Kate and Charlie, I guess they were one some backpack Peru date.

  3. what a super cool trip. Kris would be dying of jealousy. He went to Nicaragua a couple of years ago and did dental work for a couple of weeks. He's been dying to head back south ever since.
    Seriously that was Kate and Charlie? Weird.

  4. Hey nice slide show!

    All that beautiful scenery and Charley and Kate seem to be the highlight, lousy celebrities, mucking up slide shows. Did you tell Charlie that Lost is 5,000 times better after he died?

    Of course your pictures have renewed Lesley's desire to go to Peru, thanks alot Mat!

  5. I've been trying to pick a major, what is yours exactly?

  6. Fantastic work Mat!!!! I echo Aaron's comment--why did I just waste six years of my life studying molecular biology when I could be like Duerden?

    But seriously, those pictures were incredible. It also never ceases to amaze me how large a population they were able to support at such a high elevation on such steep slopes. The architecture and agriculture are just phenomenal.

  7. I thought the same thing, Rob. It's no wonder they never invented the wheel. Where would they have used a wheel?