Nepal—Community, Technology, and Sustainability
Jonathan London is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Ecology/ Community and Regional Development. His research focuses on the impacts of environmental hazards on disadvantaged communities and the ways in which these communities organize to address these challenges. London’s study abroad experience in the Brazilian Amazon, early career work in Nepal, and current experiences in diverse California communities inspire him to create learning opportunities for students to explore intercultural, collaborative and solutions-oriented research.
Nancy Erbstein is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Human Ecology. Her own undergraduate study abroad experience in Nepal led her to pursue a second major in South Asian Studies and several years of work there. Her experience laid the foundation for her subsequent research and practice promoting youth civic engagement among typically under-represented populations. Having focused much of her more recent career on California youth well-being, she is thrilled to again pursue collaboration with Nepalese youth, NGOs and researchers.
Deb Niemeier received her degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Washington in 1994. Her research focuses on the impact of low income families’ access to transport on jobs, healthcare, and schools. She is particularly interested in developing leadership opportunities for women in engineering.
A Message to Students and Parents
International and intercultural learning was foundational for both of our academic and professional careers (as well as our personal lives, as we launched our trajectory as life partners and research collaborators in Nepal over 25 years ago.)
While we learned so much about our host countries during own undergraduate study abroad experiences (Nancy in Nepal and Jonathan in Brazil) and our joint early career work in Nepal, the most profound impact was to help us learn how much we didn’t know. We came to realize how important it is to learn to collaborate across cultures, draw upon local insights and support efforts to build local leadership if we wanted to do work that made a positive and sustainable impact in communities. These are the principles to which we have devoted our careers as researchers and educators.
We are now so pleased to help students develop these capacities early in their own academic careers. We’re especially excited to offer a unique intercultural learning experience as they join with Nepalese university students on collaborative service-learning projects. Nepal today embodies a combination of diverse and ancient civilizations, strikingly beautiful and challenging physical environments, and a concerned and increasingly globally connected generation of young adults. We are thrilled to introduce UC Davis students to this vibrant country through hands-on learning with Nepalese peers.