BY TAYLOR SARRATT
On certain occasions Fort Hays State and the Government will give college professors money to research or demonstrate their prowess in their field, giving students a chance to join these professors and have hands-on experience in work related to their majors. In a presentation given on November 20th, Dr. Hendratta Ali’s expedition to Cameroon is a demonstration of how useful these visits can be.
Dr. Ali went to Cameroon, a country in western Africa, to the southeast of Nigeria, to test and study the water and its quality. Bringing a handful of students and 27 bags of luggage and equipment, enough to supply the entire expedition. The majority of the trip’s research took place on an estuary and mangrove forest, where it would be easy to test what was needed. Due to primarily being on the water, GPS was not an option, so the group needed a guide to navigate the estuary. All trip members were also required to wear protective gear at all times while on the water.
Each individual student was able to work on varying aspects of the research, many operating the equipment running tests on the water, testing things such as the effects of saltwater on groundwater, sediment in the water and air, and general water quality. An unexpected addition to the research, however, was the talk of microplastics in the water, when they discovered large amounts of plastics on the coasts of the mangrove forests.
While there was much work, the students still had a chance to enjoy themselves over the six week period, visiting local attractions, trying local foods, and even getting a chance to visit the mountains of Cameroon. At the end of her presentation on her findings, Dr. Ali also included the fact that sign-ups for another trip similar to this are available as of now for next summer. More information can be found here: www.fhsu.edu/geo/faculty/Ali/