The projects featured on this page represent an ongoing effort for the College to interact and engage with the world beyond Mayflower Hill. Through these initiatives, the students, faculty, and alumni of Colby are strengthening their influence on the global community. By seeking internships and research opportunities abroad, our Mules are improving foreign institutions while gaining a better understanding of the world around them.

Whether studying archaeology in Peru or building a classroom in Kenya, members of the Colby community are finding new ways to contribute to the global society. The interactive map shown here provides the locations of Colby’s recent outreach efforts along with brief descriptions of each program. Click on top right corner of the map to expand for more detailed information on Global Programs.

For more information on travelling abroad, visit the link below.



Faculty Projects

Faculty Projects

Beyond the classroom, Colby professors accomplish amazing things through research, colloquia, symposia, and more. With the help of grants and fellowships, they are able to explore their fields in depth and share their findings with others. Faculty members often engage the Colby community in their work by offering research positions and other opportunities to students. The map above showcases a number of examples of global faculty research.

Off-Campus Study

Off-Campus Study

Colby students take advantage of the many off-campus study programs available to them by learning in a variety of places. Study abroad programs enable students to explore a new part of the world while furthering their academic careers. Additionally, many JanPlan courses provide a way for students to briefly travel off campus and learn in new ways. The map above shows the locations of many of these courses.

Student Projects

Student Projects

Through their involvement in internships and research, students at Colby find many ways to learn from and contribute to the rest of the world. Colby’s collaborative academic environment equips its students with the skills necessary to pursue opportunities in a variety of disciplines and locations. As shown above, recent students have applied their classroom experience to exciting projects across the globe. (Blue stars indicate


Featured Global Faculty / Student Research


New Museum Culture in China

“I write to inform you that the ASIANetwork Freeman Student-Faculty Fellows Program (SFF) Selection Committee met this past week and has now concluded its review of this year’s large pool of applications. It is my pleasure to inform you that your proposal has been selected as one of nine recipients of a SFF Award. Congratulations!”

imagesAnkeney Weitz, Ellerton M. and Edith K. Jetté Professor of Art, and Mariola Alvarez, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art, led a Colby team of five students to Beijing, China where they volunteered at the Inside Out Museum of Art and conducted research on the New Museum Culture in China through visits to museums, galleries, auction houses, artists’ studios, and collectors homes. The team’s findings were communicated through a daily blog during the time in Asia, and they are creating a website to disseminate their findings.

The project’s objective was to study the growth of “cultural industries” in China through examining the role museums, especially contemporary art museums, play in society and politics. The team spent three weeks in Beijing, with each morning dedicated to working at the Inside Out Museum of Art in Beijing, and each afternoon given to trips to other museums and galleries, artists’ studios, collectors’ homes, auction houses, or arts districts. A three-day “field trip” to Shanghai was taken to collect comparative information about the city’s art museum scene. Although all of their activities were conducted as a group, each student fellow selected a topic of focus for his or her research: governmental and legal regulation in the museum sector; museum education and audience reception; advertising and public relations for museums and artists; museum architecture, including a consideration of geographic location, as well as the phenomenological experience of space; presentation of non-Chinese art in Beijing museums; and art markets and public/private art collecting in relation to museums. During their time in the PRC, daily blogs described activities, with a rotating schedule for posts; a website will be transformed into a more formal platform for the communication findings, with student essays and photographs.

Church Forests in Ethiopia

“As ecologists in a country where natural forests have all but vanished, we will be documenting plant and animal species diversity in church forests, working with local academics and the church community to observe habitat conditions, identify critical threat and priority conservation sites, and evaluate impacts of recent conservation efforts.”

– Travis Reynolds, Environmental Studies, Colby College

Travis Pic 2

A National Science Foundation grant awarded to professors Travis Reynolds (environmental studies) and Cat Collins (biology) funded a summer NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program based at Colby and in South Gondar, Ethiopia. Eight undergraduate students from U.S. colleges and universities are chosen to conduct interdisciplinary research on ecological, economic, and cultural roles of church forests in the highlands of South Gondar.

Under the eight-week program, students receive training at Colby in social survey research, spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (the GIS Lab was funded by a grant from the Oak Foundation), ecological field methods, and written and oral communication. The student researchers travel to South Gondar where they work closely with mentors from Colby and South Carolina State University, and local institutions to conduct and share their original research.

Travis Pic

What are Church Forests?

Church forests are patches of Afromontane forest surrounding Ethiopian Orthodox churches. Preserved by church leaders and communities as religious sanctuaries, church forests are, in many parts of Ethiopia, the only indigenous forests left. From an institutional perspective, church forests show how non-state actors such as religious institutions can play major roles in conservation. From an ecological perspective, church forests are crucial reserves for Ethiopia’s vanishing biodiversity.

What are the broader impacts?
The leadership of the U.S. is critical to the success of global efforts to reverse environmental degradation in low-income countries. This REU site is designed to spark global interest in the conservation of tropical forests, but also to learn from and strengthen existing conservation institutions in Ethiopia.

Innovative Approach
Due to the insular nature of church forest communities, very few academic studies have been conducted and outsiders are rarely permitted access to these sacred sites. Today many church forests are rapidly degrading due to a combination of pressure from livestock grazing and tree-harvesting by community members. This has prompted church leaders to permit access to selected researchers with an aim to better understand major drivers of church forest loss and to rally local and international support to conserve those forests that remain.

The Art of Zao Wou-Ki

895The Colby College Museum of Art, in partnership with Asia Society Museum, is organizing the first American retrospective exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki (1920-2113), a major figure in mid-twentieth century abstract art. The exhibition, No Limits: The Art of Zao Wou-Ki, will examine the career of this Chinese-born French artist and offer a nuanced perspective of international art movements of the last century.  Zao Wou-Ki was one of the first superstar artists of the Chinese diaspora, prefiguring contemporary artists like Ai Weiwei, Cai Guoqiang, and Xu Bing. In 1948, he immigrated to Paris from Shanghai and soon took the international art world by storm. Championed by French literati and artists, Zao was a major presence in European art of the second half of the twentieth century. American museums and private buyers also avidly collected his paintings in the 1950s and 1960s and, after the mid-1970s, Zao became increasingly recognized in Asia as the leading master of modern Chinese oil paintings.

Moscow State University - Internship in Journalism

Russian majors Emily Tolman ’16 and Caitlin Lyons ’15 traveled to Moscow to complete internships at the Lomonosov Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism as part of the Colby-Moscow State University Exchange Program. In addition to attending several classes, Tolman and Lyons worked alongside faculty to edit the 2014 edition of World of Media, a publication of scholarly essays published in English.

Their experiences will culminate with the production of a paper — Lyons’s on nationalism and sports culture in Russia, and Tolman’s on how Russian identity is linked to traditional Russian culinary dishes.

Preventing Deforestation in Nepal

imagesSahan T. M. Dissanayake (Economics) is leading the project, which Involves one Colby student research assistant (Bishu Khanal). Using choice experiment surveys, a specific survey method used to elicit preferences for environmental policies, this project studies preferences for contracts to prevent deforestation (REDD+ contracts) in Nepal. Data and results are integrated into Colby courses (EC341, EC476). The program is funded by World Bank and Portland State University, along with RA funding from the Economics Department. It partners with Forest Action (an NGO in Nepal), Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, and World Bank.

Instituto de Estudios Peruanos - Archaeology in Peru

Maya Terry-Shindelman ’17 spent time at IEP to explore and develop her interest in archaeology. Maya excavated at designated sites using ceramic analysis and preserved organic material. The group focused their efforts on Panquilma, a first site occupied by the Ischm, then later by the Incas from about 1100-1500 A.D. This was funded by a grant from the Alfrieda Frank Foundation.

Government Research in Central Africa

Assistant Professor of Government Laura Seay conducts research on the way people organize for survival in the area of central Africa. She seeks to learn how people in these countries cope with governments that fail to properly serve their citizens. During the summer of 2014, Seay conducted on-site research in four provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The ensuing fall, a team of Colby students assisted in the analysis of data collected by Seay and her co-researchers.