Dates: Program will be offered during WinterSession for Harvard undergraduates in 2024, dates Sunday January 7 - Friday January 19, 2024. Application for January 2024 is now closed.

Students will spend two weeks in Peru in January learning about the environmental and social impact of illegal gold mining in the Amazon, and how this can escalate into an issue that has global reach. Working together with student counterparts at the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), Harvard students under the guidance of Harvard SEAS professor Joost Vlassak and UTEC professor Carlos Rios, will travel to the Amazon Basin to observe, learn, and design solutions to address and mitigate impact. 

The program will begin in Lima (Perú’s capital), where students will be given lectures at UTEC to better understand the social, environmental, and economic impact of informal gold mining in the region of Madre de Dios (the Amazon Basin), and tools to design solutions.  These initial activities will be complemented with a one-week field trip to the Amazon rainforest and the high Andes near Cusco to evaluate the impact of gold mining, observe local agricultural practices, and speak with local experts (researchers, NGOs, etc).  Soil samples will be collected at various locations and analyzed using a prototype soil analysis device. Students are expected to further develop the device and explore implementation strategies that take into account the severe resource limitations of the Amazon region. Become a part of the solution to some of the most pressing global environmental issues at the intersection of engineering, business and policy.

Questions? Contact: rachel@seas.harvard.edu