UNIBE Research

From July 19, 2012

Working with contacts at the Universidad de Iboamerica (UNIBE) allowed me to quickly and efficiently gather data from native Costa Ricans.  Collaborating with Vice Chancellor Roberto Rodriguez (http://www.unibecostarica.com/about-unibe/academic-authorities.html) and Graduate Research Coordinator Paola Mora allowed our team to tap into UNIBE’s resources.  This cooperation allowed our team to explore attitudes among children in public and private schools as well as get a large sampling of adolescents/adults to compare with the La Carpio data set.

After several meetings with Dr. Rodriguez and Paola to plan and finalize our arrangements, we were ready to begin data collection.  To get a sample of adults/adolescents to compare with trends in La Carpio, we relied the university’s existing structure.  Paola explained our project to a colleague who volunteers at a night school in Alajuela.  We chose that site because it would allow us to get non-immigrants from a significantly different community and socioeconomic status than the La Carpio residents.  After meeting with Paola’s contact and getting information on the school, we set a date to administer the surveys.  They will be administered during class this coming weekend and we will begin analysis on Monday the 23rd.

On July 18, we traveled to the public school in Sabanilla.  Eschuela Jose Figueres is a large and chaotic environment with students from a variety of backgrounds.  We arrived just as the teachers took their classes to snacktime and were almost run over by a mass of excited and hungry children.  We then checked in with the front desk and met with the teachers whose classrooms we would use.  When we explained the activity to the children, they recognized that pollution is a problem for the environment and had ideas about how to change it.  In spite of this, there were noticeable differences in the responses of children that had received some exposure to environmental concepts in the classroom and ones who had not.

Paola’s interpersonal connections and professional status got us access to another population.  On the 19th we visited Paola’s alma mater Centro Educativo Campastre in Sabanilla to survey pre-school and elementary school classes.  The school is less than two hundred students, so walking into the building with Paola was an exciting experience because she knew most of the teachers and even some students.  The curriculum in Centro Educativo Campastre differs greatly from the standard public school system.  These kids receive specific seminars and classes on environmental issues.  One elementary school class had completed an activity very similar to our survey within the month.