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Oklahoma State University

OSU professor extends research around the world

Fri, August 28, 2015

Oklahoma State University’s Charles Abramson has been on the move this year. The psychology professor’s research has taken him to Brazil, Russia, Chile, Colombia and back to Stillwater.

Abramson, Regents Professor and Boger Professor of International Studies, began 2015 with a month long trip to Brazil. The purpose of the trip was to lay the ground work for a course on International Environmental Sociology, which will be offered by the Sociology Department for two months during the summer of 2016. The course will be taught by Professors Beth Caniglia, Duane Gill and Tammy Mix.

“The course will be the first OSU Arts and Sciences travel course to be offered in Brazil and continues the relationship between OSU and the Federal Institute of Paraiba (IFPB),” Abramson said. “As part of the agreement, IFPB sent two teams to the Mercury Robotics Competition hosted by Dr. Carl Latino and the electrical engineering department in April. One of the teams earned second place honors and all the Brazilian students enjoyed touring OSU and meeting fellow students.”

In March, Abramson was off to Moscow with his international-based spring break class “Explorations in the History of Psychology.” 

This study abroad experience allowed students to explore universities, interact with Russian psychology students and faculty, and visit sites of cultural and historical significance, Abramson said.

“The visit was hosted by Moscow State University of Design and Technology,” he said. “OSU and MSUDT signed an MOU last year and this visit was part of that agreement.”

The months of April and May were spent in Chile conducting research on honey bees and teaching courses on comparative psychology and scientific writing, along with presenting an all day workshop on honey bee learning. This visit was co-hosted by the Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso (UCV) and Centro CERES.

“During this visit I was able to establish research collaborations with commercial apiaries containing several thousand hives,” he said. “Centro CERES, located in Quillota, Chile, is an agricultural research facility loosely affiliated with UCV – OSU has had a longstanding agreement with UCV and I hope it can be expanded to include Centro CERES. Quillota is known for its rich history and, among its industries, is one of the world’s largest avocado producing facilities.”

July and part of August were spent in Pandi, Colombia researching stingless bees and teaching a course in Bogota on comparative research methods. This visit was co-sponsored by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and the Academia Colombiana de Ciencias.

Abramson said while in Colombia he discussed the possibility of an exchange agreement between OSU and the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Escela Colombiana de Ingenieria Julio Garavito, and Universidad de los Andes. Representatives from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Escela Colombiana de Ingenieria Julio Garavito will be visiting OSU during the fall semester. 

“These universities have a rigorous entrance policy and shares many of the same characteristics as OSU,” he said. 

Abramson is back in Stillwater and will be hosting a contingent of IFPB administrators and faculty. 

“One of the goals of the visit is to iron out the details of the summer International Environmental Sociology course,” he said. “If all goes according to plan I will be hosting a contingent of administrators from a private university in Brazil – Centro Universitario de Joao Pessoa (UNIPE) and a group of Russian administrators from MSDT will be looking to develop stronger ties with OSU.”

He is also planning for his future research trips. In 2016, Abramson will take a group of students to Granada, Spain to explore the Islamic contributions to science and psychology.

David Henneberry, Associate Vice-President of International Studies and Outreach, said collaboration with universities internationally is a great benefit to OSU.

“With the work Dr. Abramson is doing in these countries it will enhance opportunities for further research, therefore giving students opportunities for cultural experiences and increasing awareness of what types of studies we are doing at Oklahoma State University,” Henneberry said. “Giving research an international perspective allows OSU to grow the curriculum and enhance our student’s cultural understanding. It is nice to see faculty, like Dr. Abramson, advancing us in this area.”