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Honors Student Tracks Research to Central America with Fellowship

Published: November 03, 2009
Prior to packing up his bags for Washington, D.C. to work on his Honors research project this fall semester, University of Tampa student Carlos Salinas ‘11 spent August fact-finding in Central America.

An intense round of interviews and travels took him to Costa Rica and Nicaragua as part of his undergraduate honors research, “Chinese Economic Expansionism into the Western Hemisphere." Salinas is the recipient of a UT Honors Research Fellowship for 2009-10.

“The summer research abroad was enormously enriching both personally and academically,” Salinas said. “It helped me improve my personality and find my strengths and weaknesses when communicating. The knowledge I have gained has been more than helpful in the better understanding of my research topic.”

While in Central America, Salinas interviewed members of the AMCHAM (American-Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce), Nicaraguan Chamber of Commerce, Costa Rican International Chamber of Commerce, Nicaraguan Ex-Vice President Jose Rizo and the Costa Rican Ambassador to Nicaragua.

Sparked by a book by Riordan Roett, Salinas was intrigued by the proliferation of Chinese products found on every shelf and what impact that makes on local business. He has noted China’s outreach to Costa Rica, an influential country in the region, and is studying how that relationship could affect other Central American countries like Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Salinas, who is majoring in International Business and Economics with a minor in International Studies, is in Washington, D.C. this semester with the help of a Ford Motor Global Scholar Fellowship as an intern at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He is also refining his research paper with the help of Roett, a Johns Hopkins University professor.

“Since my research is studying current important issues for the diplomatic and business world, it will help me to have a wide perspective of what actual business people and diplomats outside are thinking in terms of policy,” said Salinas, who hopes to work for the U.S Department of State or U.S Department of Commerce (International Trade Administration) when he graduates. “It helps me learn their mistakes, achievements and challenges in order to be a competent and effective diplomat or businessman in the future. “

Salinas hopes to finish his research project by the end of 2010.

By Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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