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Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities

San José & field sites, Costa Rica

Local research advisors & potential areas of research

There are a wide variety of student research areas available in Costa Rica, across the humanities,  natural sciences, and social sciences.  These local advisors are an intergral part of the research process.  Research Coordinators Michael McCoy (Natural Sciences) and Daniel Rojas (Social Sciences), together with the Program Director, work with students in small groups and individually to provide overall guidance in the development, implementation, data analysis, and preparation of final papers and presentations of student research projects.  The work of the Research Coordinators enhances the individual guidance provided by the local research advisors.

For more detailed information about potential student research areas and complete advisor biographies, click on the photo or name of each advisor below:

Anabelle Alfaro Obando

Areas of expertise:

Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Epidemiology, Public Health, Administration of Health Care Services


Nicolas Boeglin 

Areas of expertise:

International Environmental Law, International Watercourses Management, Human Rights and Environmental Law

Gabriela Calvo

Areas of expertise:

Exploration and Development of Industrial Mining, Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Administration of Mining Projects

Jorge Cortés

Areas of expertise:

Marine Biology, Coral Reef Ecology, Marine Biodiversity

Eliécer Duarte

Areas of expertise:

Volcanology, Natural Disasters


Quince Duncan 

Areas of expertise:

Latin American Studies, Literature, Black History and Culture in Latin America, Human Rights issues, Natural and Homeopathic medicine

Paul Hanson 

Area of expertise:



Deirdre Hyde

Areas of expertise:

Art and Illustration for Conservation

Michael McCoy

Areas of expertise:

Control of Agricultural Damage by Wildlife Species, Wetland Ecology and Rehabilitation, Tropical Dry Forest Ecology


Helena Molina-Ureña

Areas of expertise:

Fish ecology and conservation, Tropical fisheries ecology, Fish biology and ichthyoplankton, Biological Oceanography

Javier Monge Meza

Areas of expertise:
Vertebrate pest management, Ecology of rodents


Julián Monge-Nájera

Areas of expertise:
Ecology and Evolutionary Psychology

Mario Morera

Area of expertise:
Cultural interdisciplinary studies


Mónica Retamosa 

Areas of expertise:

Wildlife Ecology and Management, Landscape Ecology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Biodiversity Monitoring and Conservation Planning

Bernal Rodríguez Herrera

Area of expertise:

Mammal ecology


Carlos Manuel Rodriguez

Areas of expertise:

Law and Environmental Policy, Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change, Financial Mechanisms, Sustainability

Daniel Rojas

Areas of expertise:

Anthropology, Ethnography, Studies on cultural identity, Indigenous studies


Ana Cristina Rossi

Areas of expertise:

Environment, Writing, Indigenous Women

Leslie Ragde A. Sanchez Talavera

Areas of expertise:

Bats Ecology, Forest and Agroecosystem Conservation, Corporate Responsibility, Community Relations, Development


Vivienne Solís Rivera

Areas of expertise:

Conservation and Governance of Biological Resources


Monika Springer 

Areas of expertise:

Aquatic Ecology & Entomology, Aquatic Biomonitoring & Conservation

Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities

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Jessica Meyer My abroad experience through the ACM Costa Rica Field Research was phenomenal. The hands-on experience I gained was essential in helping making decisions about my academic focuses at home. I had been unsure if I wanted to pursue Public Health as a major in college. However, after spending a semester doing hands-on research about child obesity, my interests were confirmed. The cultural immersion and language practice from classes, two host families, and two months on my own in the field were also fantastic. Even though I have returned home, I am continuing to work with my advisor in Costa Rica in hopes of compiling my and other students' data into an article ready for publication. I don't know where else you can get an experience like that!

—Jessica Meyer, Costa Rica, Spring 2011

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The Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) is a consortium of independent, liberal arts colleges in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Colorado.