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Published: Saturday, 8/3/2002

UT scientist to study, teach in Honduras

A University of Toledo geophysicist will spend a year teaching and researching in Honduras as a Fulbright Scholar.

Dr. Donald Stierman, who traveled on a relief mission in 1999 to Honduras with then-Mayor Carty Finkbeiner after Hurricane Mitch, will be working on a project that could help avoid such devastation in the future.

“With Hurricane Mitch, suddenly people realized that flood plains and landslides are bad places to be during extreme events. But there is no geology being taught in Honduras schools,'' he said. Thus, few pay heed to the kind of land features most vulnerable during storms.

Not only will Dr. Stierman be teaching future high school teachers in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, he'll also write a textbook on the physical geology of Honduras, in addition to conducting research.

“There are so many things to discover there,'' he said. “Every time you go out, you see rocks nobody has ever seen before.''

He also hopes to involve students in “survey archaeology,'' which he calls “archaeology without shovels.'' The idea is to map finds and classify them.

Dr. Stierman served in Honduras with the Peace Corps from 1969 to 1972 and has traveled there 10 times since 1993. He leaves for his assignment near the end of August and will return in mid-December. The Fulbright grant provides a stipend and travel expenses.

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