Emma Hanslowe '13 with children at an orphanage in Tanzania.
Hometown: Wharton, NJ
Major: Wildlife and Conservation Biology
As one of only 28 students in the United States – and the only URI student – to be accepted to the School for Field Studies, Emma Hanslowe spent last spring semester in Tanzania and Kenya, studying the role the Noolturesh River plays in the local culture.
Moving from her comfy home in New Jersey to a small African hut with three roommates in 100-degree heat was an adjustment, but “on my first safari, I saw massive elephants, wildebeests, impalas, warthogs, more than 50 species of birds, a family of giraffes, and hundreds of different types of reptiles. The animals brought me back to life. I now knew I was here for a reason, to study my passion,” she said.
During the trip, each student completed a research project in his or her area of interest. Emma chose to focus on the water quality, water quantity, and conflicts that the Noolturesh River imposes on the local communities that depend on it for survival. After learning Swahili from her professors in Africa, she interviewed and talked with local communities how devastating water contamination is to the nearby residents. “It definitely puts life into perspective and makes you appreciate what you have,” she said.
Emma’s also long dreamed of studying wildlife in Africa, and her study abroad experience did not disappoint. The peak experience of her semester, she said, was during her last safari to the Amboseli National Park. “We had to wait inside to let a huge rainstorm pass. As soon as it cleared up, we rode around as quiet as can be and all of a sudden a herd of elephants and their calves came lumbering through the golden pink sunset. They ran right up to our safari truck and were as close as a few inches from my hands. It was the most incredible experience and the perfect way to end my four months in Africa.”