1. Margo’s research area is food microbiology and food safety. She is working with natural antimicrobials and their potential uses in food packaging or produce washes. She is interested in observing firsthand how food microbiology and food safety research is performed in institutions of higher education in Chile. From this she hopes to incorporate new research methods into her own work and possibly share some of her experiences with Chilean researchers. She would like to learn if they are working to extract natural antimicrobial compounds from foods (spices, fruits, or vegetables). If so, what techniques are they using to obtain the extracts, what methods are they using to preserve the extracts for long storage periods and how are they applying them to food safety? In addition, she would like to tour their laboratories and food processing facilities to compare the differences and similarities to those at Virginia Tech.
2. Secondly, she would like to learn about the Chilean higher education system. In regards to teaching, do they incorporate any hands-on activities in the classroom or do they have more lecture based courses? How are their universities and individual departments structured? What are their teaching, research, and if they have them, extension loads like? How are they advancing the missions of their respective institutions? Are they familiar with the higher education system in the United States? If so, how do they feel it compares to the Chilean system and which do they prefer and why? Also, how does the Chilean higher education system compare to those in other Latin and South America countries?
3. Thirdly, she would like to learn more about Chilean history. She has previously taken both early and modern Latin American culture and literature and is currently taking a Colonial Latin American History course where she has learned a lot about the Spanish Conquest and the myths that have become widely accepted concerning it. It would be interesting to find out what Chileans are taught about the Spanish Conquest and to hear how they feel about it. Also if time permits, she would like to visit historical places, monuments, or museums.
4. Lastly, she would like to practice her Spanish and enjoy Chilean culture, cuisine, and scenery. As a food scientist interested in new food product development and food packaging, she would also enjoy going to the local markets and looking at the products for sale.