Four students and three faculty members from the University of Illinois Springfield are spending a month studying abroad in The Gambia, a small country in Western Africa. The group left Springfield on May 24, 2016, and will return at the end of June.
Biology major Shyleen Studley is working with Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey and Associate Professor of Public Health Josiah Alamu to conduct water quality assessments in the country.
“In terms of water quality, we measured parameters for human health and environmental health, including nitrates, chromium (VI), and coliforms,” said Alamu. “We measured water from wells, a city dump, and The Gambia River. We collected bacterial samples which will be analyzed and compared with samples from the Illinois River.”
UIS faculty members are also training six undergraduates and one faculty member from The University of The Gambia in field techniques and lab chemical procedures.
Global Studies/Accounting major Jessica Villegas, Sociology/Anthropology major Tyshianna Bankhead and graduate student Jacqualine Williams are working with the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP) to gain socio and cultural experience. The students are assisted by UIS Associate Professor of African-American Studies Kamau Kemayo.
Williams is also working with Gambia Food and Nutrition Association to gain experience on food processing/preparation and its effect on the health of the Gambians.
So far, the group has traveled to many locations in The Gambia, including Banjul, Brikama, Serrekunda, Kembujeh, Tanji and Kartung.
UIS students and faculty have been traveling to The Gambia on study abroad trips since 2011.