Comments from Past Participants of the Field Trip ... 

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Message No. 1:  So very good to hear from you. I have no fonder memories than the time spent in Costa Rica in 1989. It was truly the highlight of my Cornell years, and is fighting for the top spot in my life. What am I doing? Hmmmm well, gee, long list. Grad school, food chemist, pesticide formulation chemist (YUK!), Drug chemist, Lab Manager, Q.C. Manager,now, finally, went back to med school and am almost finished as Oriental Medical Doctor. Physician. Really would LOVE to take the training I have and apply it to the peoples of the areas I have already seen that need it (and those I haven't seen as well). I am working already to establish a practice with two other fellows that have the same intent, that is, to travel and take medicine to the rural folk that otherwise have less availability to good medical care. We all three are internationally oriented guys with love of medicine (Barefoot Doctors, we are). Not only that, but would LOVE to explore the local rural herbal formulas that abound but are obscure.... as a former drug analytical chemist, I really like phytopharmacology. Alas, the one and only MAJOR setback......$$$$. Medical school has (of course) driven me to the poor house! That would be my only reason to not participate in this most amazing opportunity. How many banks do you suppose I would need to knock off?  BTW, since Costa Rica, also have traveled to El Salvador.......wOw....what an experience THAT was! Like guns? You'll like E.S.

Looking forward to more info and just a chance to hear from you all AND to see a picture of those two boys of Dr. Blake's that must be all grown up by now!

Sincerely - Mike Moore '90 --

Message No. 2:

Anonymous - In Mexico at some desertic place a group of us encountered a fire ant assembly with me right in the middle of it, the ants not being too happy with the intrusion, thousands scampered up my legs and covered my body; I searched for a bush, but not seeing one, I had to remove my pants (in full view of the group), but fortunately I had on shorts. Please do not use my name.

Message No. 3:

Dr. Loy Crowder gives some interesting background on the initiation of the field trips to Latin America. Loy was the first International Agriculture Professor in the College of Agriculture at Cornell University. Dr. Kenneth Turk was the Director of International Agriculture Program at the time. (Click here for information on the history of International Agriculture at Cornell University.) Loy was appointed in 1966 with New York State support and Matt Drosdoff and Robert McDowell were also appointed in 1966. The three of them discussed a trip to the tropics and the feasibility of a minor in International Agriculture. Loy knew Dr. Vicente Chandler in Puerto Rico and Vicente agreed to help with the student trip. Thus, the first trip was to Puerto Rico in 1968.

Loy Crowder --

Message No. 4:

I am now a university academic trying to set up Britain's biggest and best centre for studying bees and social insects. I have recently renewed my acquaintanceship with tropical America, in a trip to the Univ. of Yucatan as a consultant to their Apiculture Department. The Costa Rica field trip gave me valuable experience in tropical biology, which is useful on occasions like this. The field trip also helped me to maintain my interest in Spanish, and gradually over the intervening years I have been able to keep at it until I am now more or less fluent and did not have to communicate in English when in Yucatan. I also hope to be able to train students from Mexico and possibly other Latin American countries in my lab.

Anyway, its a good course. It was an important part of my tropical agriculture/Latin American education, which is of great value to me personally and in what I am trying to do in my work.

Best wishes, Francis Ratnieks -

Dept. of Animal & Plant Science, Sheffield University, Western Bank, Shefield, S10 2N, UK

Message No.5:  I am currently teaching an introductory course on crop production. From what I have learned from IA 402 and IA 602, I devoted the first few lectures to traditional agriculture and sustainable agriculture. I also have presented several seminars from selected topics that were discussed in IA courses and supported them by slides from Honduras. There is a great interest in the subject here because most people are looking for the modern even in the developing countries. What is traditional in many cases is now considered old and backward even in the developing nations, emphasizing that the importance of traditional agriculture is still needed. Here in the college of agriculture we also are trying to set up a museum for traditional agriculture tools and practices that will remind all students of our history and the way their parents and ancestors lived for generations. Thank for your contacts, and I wish you all the best in the IA 602 future trips and the reunion.

Rashid Al-Yahyai -- e-mails: or www:

Horticulture, AHEP Department, College of Agriculture, Sultant Qaboos University, P.O.Box 34, Al-Khoud 123, OMAN

Message No.6:  No, I have not forgotten that wonderful crop of cassava. I continue to teach several lectures on the crop during our Tropical Horticulture class but unfortunately do not do any research on it.

A reunion in Costa Rica in January sounds good. I can not say I remember too much about the trip except things like going on a bus with a few other students to a soccer game, eating very hot food and crying in pain, drinking lots of coke, listening to Norman Borlaug at CIMMYT, going to a market with some Africans who were stared at, trying to speak some Spanish, the translators who used the expression "mas o menos" excessively, agriculture on very steep terrain, the Puebla Project. I do not know if I took notes during the trip - My memories make me wonder what the students that I take on trips remember! I hope they do better than I did! I am looking forward to the possibility of going to the reunion and while there checking things out for another student trip.

Your Endowment idea for the trip is a great idea and I was thinking along the same lines for the trip we do. The cost as you say keeps getting higher - our trip in Mexico cost about $900 per student. When we went to Costa Rica two years ago the cost was only about $700.

David H. Byrne - "Dave Byrne" <>

Professor - Prunus and Rosa Breeding and Genetics - Department of Horticultural Sciences

Texas A&M University - College Station, TX 77843-2133

Message No.7:  

John Balis, an agricultural engineer, went on the trip to Puerto Rico in 1974. He recently wrote that he has retired. John worked for 27 years as an agricultural officer for U.S./AID and then directed food systems for the Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs. His career has touched the lives of many in developing countries. In 1998 he received the Distinguished Service Award at the University of Wisconsin Engineers Day. He is now building a home in North Carolina.

Message No.8:

I believe I was in that first group (1968) and although memory dims on all the details, I do remember the frigid December evening, the bus ride to JFK, the overnite flight to Puerto Rico, and the beds, beans and rice at Mayaguez!

Regarding our present status, Mrs. Maxwell (Betty) and I both retired from West Virginia University in January 1997- in Betty's case after 17 years with the Center on Aging and for me some 33 years with the College of Agriculture and Forestry.We now are enjoying the freedom to follow our interests in the fields of international agriculture, and aging. We're doing some serious grandparenting, I try to do a couple international agriculture consulting assignments each year just to keep my foot in the door, and we are both involved in several volunteer assignments in our community. We have a small hill farm in central West Virginia and that consumes what time is left over.

I can tell you for the record, that a terminal degree from Cornell still continues to open doors for us. We are grateful for the experiences we had at Cornell and Ithaca- even though at the time as a mid-career student, I was not sure that there was any light at the end of that tunnel!

Thanks for the efforts being made to organize the conference and reunion, and we look forward to more information. We hope we can make it.

Bob and Betty Maxwell -- 4009 Cedar Court  -- Morgantown, WV 26505

Message No.9:

Dear Dr. Thurston and the INTAG 602 Alumni Committee,

Thank you for taking the trouble to track me down and invite me to the INTAG 602 Alumni Reunion and Millennium Conference.

INTAG 602 provided me with some of my warmest memories of my undergraduate years at Cornell. It was a real privilege to travel with and learn from the professors and other students who took part. also, it helped stand my feet firmly on my way to a career in international Agricultural Development.

I have lived and worked in SE Asia for nearly 15 years now, but the  adoption of this part of the globe as my home started with INTAG 602. I recall long hours spent on the bus in Mexico talking with my Malaysian classmates, especially "Yap", hearing about Malaysia and comparisons with Mexican life. A few months later when the US Peace Corps offered me an assignment in Malaysia (instead of Latin America, as I had previously requested), I felt eager to accept. After wonderful experiences there, I later was given opportunities in the Philippines and Indonesia as well.

I am currently the president director of an agriculture and environment consulting company (Jasa KATOM) in Indonesia. As one of the consultants, I represent and manage the Indonesian program of Heifer Project International, a US-based NGO, working in poverty alleviation through strengthening local partner organizations and sharing of livestock related knowledge and resources.

I am married to Thomas S. Dierolf, and we have two young daughters, whom we "home school". We have made our home in a lovely small town in the highlands of West Sumatra. My warmest regards to all the former participants in my INTAG 602 class,

Katherine (Kate) Gieger,  Jalan Kehakiman 283,  Bukittinggi, West Sumatra 26136, INDONESIA katom@bukittinggi.wasantara  -  (fax) 62-752-22452

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