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Students Work to Give Back While Studying Abroad

Benjamin Timms and Ryan Alaniz in Peru
James Keese and Ryan Alaniz in Peru working on the stove project, summer 2013.

For the past eight years, Cal Poly students have been installing clean burning stoves in indigenous communities in Peru, through the service component of the study abroad program.

Traditional Peruvian cooking methods use open fires inside homes. The smoke has serious health effects, especially for women and children. The new stoves use chimneys to improve indoor air quality and burn wood more efficiently, reducing pressure on scarce forest resources.

Professor James Keese has been awarded a sabbatical during winter and spring 2015 to conduct a follow-up study on the stove project. Working with the program's partner organization, ProWorld Service Corps, Keese will conduct a household survey to determine if there is sustained use of the stoves and factors that contribute to their success or failure.

Anthropology and geography major Alejandra Camacho will accompany Keese as a research assistant. She studied in Peru last summer and will return in March to help administer the surveys. Camacho plans to write her senior project on the stove initiative and will present the results of the study at a professional conference. 

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