How Oxy Pays You to Travel the World (Part 2)
In my first post, I explained how Oxy gave me the hook-ups to travel to Ghana to do some good. The trip gave me insight into the practical side of local development projects and also inspired me to examine further the role that traditional chief figures are playing in the emerging microfinance industry in the region. So as soon as I got back to school that fall, I began working with my Economics professor to prepare my research proposal. After several months of prep work and feedback from several professors and administrators, I learned that Oxy’s International Programs Office (IPO) had accepted my proposal. In other words, the school would be funding the research project under its Summer Research Abroad program along with ten other students traveling to different countries to conduct independent research in their own academic disciplines. The fellowship funds covered airfare and living costs during my entire 10-week trip. Comfortable knowing that Oxy had my back, I set off to Ghana for a second consecutive summer. The fieldwork was at times exhausting, including daily motorbike rides to rural villages with my translator. However, it was more than rewarding to interview local farmers, traders, chiefs, politicians, and microfinance agents and hear their stories and opinions on traditional chieftaincy and microfinance. By the end of the summer, I struggled to condense all of the valuable information and data into a report less than forty pages. Here is a picture of my translator and I about to set off on a long day of village interviews: Not only do summer research students get to present their research to fellow students and interested faculty upon return to Oxy, but they can also publish their work through the College’s OxyScholar archives.