Search within:
Opportunities for Undegraduate Students
Opportunities for Undergraduate Students
An opportunity to conduct research and participate in a cross-cultural learning experience

Opportunities for Undergraduate Students


The Tropical Disease Research and Service Learning Program (TDR) aims to provide students with the following opportunities:

  • Participate in a cross-cultural communication learning experience.
  • Participate in service-learning activities directly benefiting the communities we will be working with.
  • Conduct multidisciplinary research in underserved communities of Ecuador while exploring new contexts of social change, housing improvement, economic development, health and wellness, gender equity, art, and culture.

Research Intensive or Culture Intensive tracks

The program offers two different types of involvement, Research Intensive and Culture Intensive.

Research Intensive (multidisciplinary)

Students work with faculty mentors and graduate assistants on developing a research project from the ground up. Defining objectives, methodologies, human subject research protocols, detailed project planning, budgeting, and remote interaction with in-country counterparts. The project's implementation and data collection processes will take place in Loja Province, Ecuador. This format allows the students to participate in data analysis activities, writing, and submitting a peer-reviewed publication that may be presented at local, national, or international conferences.

Culture Intensive

Students will attend organizational meetings, complete the human subject research training, and learn about the research preparation process related to the research and service-learning projects. Later, they will assist in the project implementation process led by others in the field. The projects will mostly focus on community service putting classroom knowledge into action. No expectation of further involvement after the program.

Cross-cultural Communication

  • Get to know local institutions relevant to national health administration and research.
  • Explore alternative perspectives on health and medicine (Andean, rural, and Ecuadorian) one-day workshop.
  • Create original audiovisual content.
  • Research and service-learning activities in the field.
  • Spanish crash course.

Service Learning activities

Multiple service-learning activities developed in consultation with the communities. These may include:

  • Educational talks related to nutrition and disease prevention.
  • Work with locals in organic gardening production.
  • Work with activities o empower groups of teens and young adults to improve health conditions.
  • Assist in anti-Chagas home improvement activities.
  • Help to produce a theater play for the local school

Course information

The number of semester credits available will vary with length of participation and will match the student's academic program needs. A non-credit option is available for non-OHIO students.

Below is a selection of courses that students can enroll in (additional courses may be arranged upon request).

Undergraduate Students - Minimum 5 hours

Undergraduate courses
    Couse name Credits
BIOS 4910 Internship: International Research 1-3
BIOS 4930 Topics in Biological Sciences: Tropical Disease Research 1-2
BIOS 4940 Undergraduate Research 1-2*
HLTH 4930 Independent Studies 4
COMMS 1100 Communication Among Cultures (Tier 2 course) 3
COMMS 4800 Capstone Seminar in Communication (Tier 3 course) 3
COMMS 4900 Special Topics in Comm Studies 3
JOUR 4900 Special Topics in Journalism 3
MDIA 4900 Special Topics in Media Arts and Studies 3
T3 4103c Undergraduate Service Learning in Ecuador (Tier 3 course) 5

Multiple sections may be taken to reach the minimum of 5 credit hours.

Key Dates

  • Applications for TDR are closed.

Funding Opportunities

Funding opportunities for our programs can be sought here 


For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Mario Grijalva