Lead, Kosovo & Beyond

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Greetings from Zurich,

Third time in Europe and I can vaguely remember my first flight on Turkish Airlines to Kosovo. It seems like a life time ago that I studied abroad at the American University in Kosovo and conducted research under the Center of Energy and Natural Resources. Since then I have been to Kosovo two more times and I am sad to say that this seems like my last trip to south eastern Europe for some time. I still laugh when people ask me what I studied because it can’t be explained in four words or less. I just recently graduated with a double major in International Studies and Multidisciplinary Studies with a minor in Sociology. I also conducted research three times; twice in usage of natural resources and once on lead contamination. It feels great when I can actually speak about my college career and feel very accomplished. After last summer I thought it would be my last summer conducting research but I was wrong. Luckily for myself I was able to conduct research one last time with my mentor Dr. James Myers and my friend Maxwell Scott with the help of a CSTEP research stipend.

Read the past blogs to find out a little more about myself if you would like. Back to the point regarding my last research trip under RIT. My first two research experiences were more focused on household energy usage in Kosovo. Surveys were implemented in 7 major cities in Kosovo including the capital, Prishtina. These surveys included questions regarding what type of energy was used to heat a home or how much of a family’s income went into energy usage within a home. Max and I also created databases using SPSS so storage of the data would be more efficient. This past year both the US and Kosovo teams were inputing data all year long. This summer I traveled to Kosovo to help my friend Max with some data collection for his Environmental Science Master Thesis. His Master Thesis focuses on lead contamination in Mitrovica, which is in northern Kosovo. A survey was implemented in about 55 homes, which contained questions regarding knowledge of lead and the harmful effects of it. Lead samples were also taken from two places within the homes using wipes that have been sent to be analyzed. Hopefully this project will become a bigger project under the direction of Dr. James Myers (Associate Provost of RIT). The experience was great because these findings could tremendously help the community we were working in. Overall it was an amazing time but it was also intense because of the time frame. I will be writing another blog, which focuses more on the research once I get back to the US.

Our journey did not end there and we actually ended up traveling through Europe. I don’t know who brought it up or when we decided to travel but I do know we both wanted to do it. The backpacking trip was somewhat planned but not too structured. Max and I traveled to Kosovo, Montenegro, Croatia and Switzerland. We also traveled through Bosnia and Slovenia. I have to admit that I have seen beautiful scenic views but Croatia probably took the prize this time around. It wasn’t your typical choice of Dubrovnik or Split, but Zadar that was my favorite destination. Maybe it was because we spent our time with an old friend Fran and his family, or maybe it was the beautiful coast of Vrsi, but whatever it was Zadar was amazing. The Old Towns in all these cities were without a doubt priceless. Budva, Dubrovnik and Zadar each had an Old Town and it seemed like you were traveling through time within those walls. Every destination has it’s own story and it wouldn’t be right to rush through them all. I will be writing at least 2 more blog entries so I can go into detail about each location we visited. I have to admit that I have always wanted to travel through Europe and I got to do exactly that with a friend by my side. Stay tuned…

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