Why did the road to Gettysburg College include a few stops in the jungles of Costa Rica for Louis Gorst '15? The first-year didn't make a wrong turn and he wasn't competing on a reality TV show. He was conducting research with his high school classmates and teachers, an experience that ultimately led him to Gettysburg.
Combining their admiration for science and nature, the group spent nearly two weeks during the summer of 2010 studying plants and animals in Costa Rica. "We performed census research and collected data from field plots," said Gorst. "The trip gave us the unique opportunity to apply the theories and concepts we learned in class."
Even though the sleeping arrangements were far from luxurious, the students didn't mind sleeping in hostels and hammocks. "We were so tired by the end of each day that we nearly fell asleep before our heads hit the pillows," Gorst said.
The trip to Costa Rica was offered again during the summer of 2011, and students interested in participating were selected through a competitive application process. "I wanted to give someone else an opportunity to go, so I didn't apply," said Gorst. The thoughtful gesture impressed his teachers so much that when a spot un-expectedly opened up, he was invited to participate.
"I was much more prepared for the second trip," he said. "I knew to pack more efficiently and carry less equipment on our excursions." Before he left, he developed a unique workout routine that increased his physical strength and endurance. This proved helpful during the rigorous hikes through the rainforests.
One of Gorst's favorite memories from his time in Costa Rica included coming within inches of 30 white-faced capuchins. The monkeys were playing in the middle of the path Gorst's group was travelling on, and didn't seem to mind the interruption. "I looked into the eyes of a wild creature that had probably never seen a human before," he said. "It was incredible."
However, Gorst returned home with more than memories. "My experiences in Costa Rica increased my appreciation of nature and my awareness of environmental issues," he said. After spending time on campus and learning more about the environmental studies program, Gorst decided to apply to Gettysburg College. He is currently a first-year student and looks forward to studying abroad in Australia, where he plans to research the Great Barrier Reef.
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Tracey Dukert, assistant director of news content, 717.337.6521Posted: Mon, 19 Sep 2011
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