CORVALLIS - Fifteen students from Oregon State University earned one of OSU's new international degrees in 1997 after spending time studying in another country.

The degree, which is earned concurrently with a bachelor's degree in another field, was created in 1993 and gives students a boost in launching their careers, officials say. It is designed to enhance students' knowledge of international issues and their ability to respond to an increasingly global economy.

To receive the international degree, students must earn 32 credits beyond those required for their primary degree. These credits can be selected from a wide range of international courses offered by OSU. Students also have to demonstrate proficiency in another language and spend a minimum of 10 weeks abroad studying, conducting research, or doing an internship. In a senior project, students then have the opportunity to demonstrate their international expertise.

Senior topics this year ranged from an analysis of Japanese business culture to research on tropical rain forest deforestation in Ecuador. The graduates also represented more OSU colleges than ever before, with the number of science and business majors increasing dramatically, according to Jack Van de Water, dean of international education at OSU.

Daniel Gorelik of Sublimity, for example, completed a major in business administration. He spent fall term in the College of Business's program in Aarhus, Denmark, and during winter term he completed a Global Graduates internship in Russia, working with a Seattle-based publishing firm called Russian Far East Update.

Darin Berg, of Portland, graduated with a degree in business after studying in Japan as part of an Oregon State System of Higher Education study program there. His senior project was entitled, "Understanding the Japanese Business Culture." Berg is now employed by Meier and Frank and credits his international experience in helping him gain the position at Meier and Frank.

His major professor, Steve Lawton, agrees.

"Darin is one of the new breed of business students who are really globally oriented," said Lawton, an associate professor of international business at OSU.

Lori Holbrook, a sociology and international degree graduate, studied in Ecuador where she worked at a school for children from Quechua-speaking families. Her project was based on observations of frustration by local children as they tried to learn Spanish and at the same time retain their native language.

Derek Holmgren of Portland received his degree in environmental science and had two international study experiences - a year-long program at the University of Lancaster in England and a summer program in Ecuador. His senior project, "Tropical Rain Forest Deforestation in Ecuador," helped prepare him for graduate work in public affairs at Indiana University, he said.

"My study abroad programs in England and Ecuador have given me the chance to experience what most people only read about or see on television," Holmgren said.

Katrina McPherson, Klamath Falls, majored in biochemistry and biophysics. During her year-long study in Tubingen, Germany, McPherson worked at the Max Planck Institute under Nobel Laureate Christiane Nusslein-Volhard. McPherson, who has also studied Spanish, will do a summer internship in community health in Ecuador as part of the Global Graduates internship program. In the fall, she will enroll at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

McPherson said that her study, work and travel enhanced her understanding of America's position in the world and will benefit her career in science, which is becoming increasingly global.

Megan Millimaki of Corvallis completed a major in environmental science. She studied in Yaroslavl, Russia, gathering information for her senior project, "Industrial Pollution in Yaroslavl, Russia: Surface Water Quality and Public Health Impacts."

Liette Powell of Gresham graduated in biology with a pre-med option. She studied in the OSSHE program in Ecuador, and also completed an internship last summer in Mexico under the Global Graduates program. Her senior project on brownea, a plant used for women's health care and contraception in the Ecuadorian Amazon, grew out of botany courses she took as an exchange student in Quito. Powell plans to apply for medical school in the fall of 1998.

Eliza Reyna of Independence, who graduated in psychology in 1996, completed her international degree in 1997. Her project, "Discrimination Based on Race and Class: A Review of the Social Psychological Literature and Anecdotal Information in Ecuador," was inspired by her experience of living and studying in Ecuador in the fall of 1994.

Kevin Wilson of Corvallis graduated in animal sciences with a pre-vet option. In addition to studying in Ecuador, Wilson completed an internship last summer in Senegal, West Africa, working with Bruce Mueller, an alumnus of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Wilson completed a senior project on the livestock industry in the United States and Senegal under the direction of Neil Forsberg, who is also the director of the International Degree Program. Wilson will begin studying veterinary medicine here at OSU next fall.

Other international degree graduates included Salem Al-Hajri who majored in anthropology, Shelby Hammack (political science), Angela Hughes (housing services and theater), Adrienne Livingston and Jeff Malensky (business administration), and Amita Paulson, who majored in biology.

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Jack Van de Water, 541-737-3006