Schlager to teach class in Nicaragua

July 26, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — For three months in 2012, Dr. Lynn Schlager, University of Wisconsin-Platteville professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, went on sabbatical to the community of Sabana Grande in northern Nicaragua to assist community members with his engineering knowledge and learn about the problems they face.

Next spring, he and a group of UW-Platteville students will travel to Sabana Grande to learn about the applications of renewable energy technologies in a developing country.

“Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the western hemisphere, second only to Haiti,” said Schlager. “There is often no electricity or running water. It gets dark at about 6 p.m. and installing solar panels for lighting is one of the major projects.”

The course, UWPSTUDY 3030 Renewable Energy in Nicaragua, will be offered during spring break 2014; March 13-23. Prior to departing for Nicaragua, students will attend required weekly pre-departure sessions, which will cover program logistics, academic expectations, country-specific cultural information, technical basics, and health and safety.

“The course will include the installation of solar panels on houses as well as construction of solar cookers,” said Schlager. “The number of students enrolled in the course will determine how many panels we will install.”

During Schlager’s sabbatical, he worked with Grupo Fenix, a group dedicated to the application of renewable energy technologies in Nicaragua. Grupo Fenix consists of several organizations, projects and individuals from Nicaragua and the United States.

“On my sabbatical, I assisted Sabana Grande community members with solar cookers,” said Schlager. “The main impetus for these solar cookers is to cut down on firewood use and decrease deforestation. Also, the cooking fires are in houses that do not contain a chimney, so many women are inhaling smoke from their cooking fires all day long.”

Schalger believes the study abroad experience is vital for students. “I was so impressed with the Sabana Granda community and would like UW-Platteville students to have a similar experience. For students who have a desire to step outside the box and experience a world much different than Southwest Wisconsin, this short-term study abroad course in Nicaragua is the perfect opportunity.”

Any students interested in accompanying Schlager should contact the study abroad office at (608) 342-1726 or visit the office in Royce Hall.

Written by: Eileen McGuine, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, mcguinee@uwplatt.edu

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