Summer work experiences have existed for years for
UC Berkeley students, but this season, the public
can travel along - with these seven students- through
a new Web site launched by UC Berkeley's Office of
Public Affairs on the campus's Web site. The site,
Journal: Summer Dispatches from the Field, features
regularly updated reports on their adventures with
photos from the field.
"The people here compose, play, listen, dance, and
one could even say live to the rhythm of merengue
and bachata," wrote law school student Tim Griffiths
in a dispatch from the Dominican Republic. "The music
pours out of homes, cars and businesses, often at
tremendous volume, which might be irritating if bachata
and merengue weren't so good."
Griffiths, an intern from the International Human
Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley's School of Law (Boalt
Hall), is working on two cases the clinic has filed
against the Dominican government for human rights
violations against Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian
"Tim's presence in the country this summer investigating
the cases is critical to the litigation," said Laurel
Fletcher, director of Boalt Hall's internship program.
"He is the eyes and ears of the clinic on the ground.
It's a tremendous responsibility to represent the
legal team in the country, but Tim's extensive background
in human rights work has prepared him for this vital
"Being a Berkeley student doesn't mean you are just
learning about what is going on in the world, but
you are part of the process," said Christine Maslach,
UC Berkeley's vice provost for undergraduate education.
"Active engagement in discovery is really what Berkeley
is all about. Students are working with people on
the forefront in their fields as proactive contributors
to the educational enterprise."
The four Haas School of Business students at the
Mexican orphanage in Atlixo prepared for their trip
the entire school year. The orphanage produces and
sells goat's milk cheese and soap and has the goal
of becoming self-sufficient. Doug Brown, Joost Krikhaar,
Fabio Matsui and Brent Mitchell are helping it, during
their three-week stay, to increase efficiency and
to develop a business plan and marketing strategy.
The students are part of the business school's International
Business Development (IBD) program, which sends student-consulting
teams to assist companies in foreign countries. They
are working for IPODERAC (Puebla Institute of Rehabilitation),
an organization that provides shelter, education,
and professional training to 72 Mexican boys.
"They (the orphanage staff) don't have a good handle
on the production and don't understand quality control,"
said Sebastian Teunissen, executive director of the
Clausen Center for International Business & Policy
at the Haas School. "During the short time the students
are there, they will be teaching them quite a few
Teunissen added that UC Berkeley students who have
participated in the Haas School's international program
- it sends more than a dozen teams out each summer
- are prepared for careers in numerous fields including
international consulting, investment banking and product
According to their most recent dispatch, the students
are learning about the process used to make goat cheese
and are very impressed with the sophistication of
the techniques used. "By the end of the day, we had
no doubt that IPODERAC makes the highest quality cheese
around," they reported. "We hope we can help them
market it more effectively to increase funds available
to the orphanage. More about that in our next dispatch."
Katherine Chou, in Ancient Nemea, Greece, this summer,
will be helping with inventorying finds at an ancient
athletic site the campus has run since 1973. There,
the Panhellenic Games were held more than 2,300 years
"Nemea has been my life's work, and it has been wonderful
to share some of it with generations of students,"
wrote project leader Stephen Miller, professor of
Classics at UC Berkeley, in an interview via e-mail.
Besides working with students at the 45-acre site,
Miller takes his teams on field trips elsewhere in
Greece and encourages them to strike out on their
own weekend adventures.
"Kathy will return to Berkeley next fall with a head
full of Greece - the antiquities and landscape and
language," Miller wrote.
Though much closer to home, Ph.D. student Zach Peery
is conducting research vital to the survival of a
species of bird, the Marbled Murrelet. "The Marbled
Murrelet is an extremely secretive bird. It generally
attends its nest site before sunrise and after sunset,
does not vocalize near its nest, and nests approximately
200 feet up in the tallest trees in the world," Peery
wrote in his first dispatch.
"This secrecy makes the murrelet nests exceptionally
challenging to find. In fact, the murrelet was the
last bird for which a nest was a located. At one point,
the Audubon Society actually offered a bounty to the
first birder who could locate a murrelet nest. It
was not until 1974 that a nest was found in Big Basin
State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains."
UC Berkeley Web manager Jeffery Kahn said he's looking
forward to receiving regular dispatches from the students
in the coming weeks and posting them this summer for
a wide audience.
"To a UC Berkeley student, 'summer vacation' may
not mean the same thing as it does to you and me,"
he said. "These students are an inspiration."