As a program funded by the National Science Foundation, our REU Site has several broader, transformative impacts:
Broader Impact #1: This REU program serves as the first international research training program for students focused explicitly on geographic inquiry using community geography and GIS.
Broader Impact #2: Eight undergraduates per year will develop an understanding of and appreciation for community-based geographic inquiry in international settings.
Broader Impact #3: This REU will develop new knowledge about social and environmental issues (particularly marine debris, flooding, and disaster management) in Belize through collaboration with University of Belize, the Smithsonian, community organizations, and residents.
Broader Impact #4: The REU program also has practical significance for Belize communities as new geospatial research is conducted to support spatial decision making and foster science-informed citizens. Shared GIS products, data, research findings, and short non-technical reports will be disseminated on an online mapping portal and project site.
Broader Impact #5: As REU students live abroad, they will encounter challenges, opportunities, and experiences that are specific to doing international research. These experiences will allow students to develop a deeper respect for human subjects and increased self-awareness of their own ethics, identities, and positionality in complex, international research settings. Such knowledge can lead to a transformative experience helping students and all collaborators develop into more globally-aware, ethical researchers committed to applying geospatial STEM research skills in international community-based work.