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Short-Term Study Program in Bahamas Planned in July 

 WEST PLAINS, Mo. – A short-term study away program entitled “Women in STEM The Bahamas Edition: Island and Coral Reef Ecology” will be offered this summer by Missouri State University-West Plains.

The program is set for July 6-14 and will be led by Assistant Professor of Biology/Biomedical Sciences Ana Estrella.

It is open to anyone interested in learning more about coral reef ecology, challenges women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) face, and the work of some women in these fields.

This includes community members who are not currently students at the university, Estrella said.

Participants will interact with experts in the scientific, environmental and cultural characteristics of the Bahamas.

“It will provide a platform for women especially to develop new networks and cultural consciousness, advance environmental literacy, and increase self-confidence while working in a non-traditional classroom setting,” Estrella said.

Students also will have the opportunity to visit the island of San Salvador, the place where it is believed Christopher Columbus first set foot in the New World. While there, they will learn about the historical significance of his story and the African influences in the Bahamian culture, she said.

In addition to coral reef ecology, those who sign up for the program will learn about environmental threats to the region, habitat characterization and species count.

“The knowledge and experience gained will help students visualize the connection between politics, environmental policies and civic responsibility,” she said.

The deadline to register is Mar. 1.

For information, including how to register, contact Estrella at 417-255-7719 or email

Missouri State-West Plains offers associate degrees and credit and non-credit courses, and serves as a delivery site for bachelor’s and master’s degrees offered by Missouri State University in Springfield.