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“It’s one thing to hear about the devastation of the rain forest in the classroom or see it in the news,” Dr. Clarence Fouche, Virginia Intermont professor of biology, said. “I thought it would be great if students could actually experience it.”

The Worrell Honors Program for Studies Abroad in Panama provides students with that opportunity. Established in 2001 after Dr. Fouche’s visit to the Institute for Tropical Ecology and Conservation in Bocas del Toro, Panama, the program encourages any student with a 3.0 GPA or higher to apply. Substantial financial aid is available.

Students “get a tremendous lesson in biology and the world” through the program’s three stages:

1. Study of tropical ecosystems at the Institute;
2. Group project (reporting to field biologist);
3. Design and completion of an individual project.

The program is strongly recommended for biology majors and students with serious interests in science and the environment. Not only does the program teach students the importance of rain forest ecology, but it also encourages involvement in the Institute’s conservation efforts, which teach the local population conservation ethics and provide new employment opportunities with minimal environmental impact.

For application information, please contact Dr. Clarence Fouche, director of the Worrell Honors Program for Studies Abroad in Panama at 276-466-7154 or