Wonder: The liminal space between science and magic


Kiana Lussier ’13

Academic focus: international relations major, with a geography minor

Internship: Sendero Pacifico in San Luis, Costa Rica

Study Abroad: Global-Local Challenges to Sustainability, Monteverde Institute

“Me pregunto si…” I wonder if… damselflies are territorial? And if so, I wonder if they are possessive of one rock in the riverbed? Or two? Do they attack other damselflies that enter their space? They do. I asked myself these questions while studying abroad through a Mount Holyoke program in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I wondered how many luciérnagas, fireflies, I could spot in the forest in one minute. I wondered how many more amphibians I could find at night, than in daylight.

The course, World Regional Geography ignited my curiosity and astonishment within the discipline. I carried the seed planted by geography with me to Costa Rica and it grew, nourished by the instruction of fig trees, bees, permaculture and talented biologists. In Monteverde, I studied global and local challenges to environmental sustainability. The experiential course emphasized an enchantment with nature. Paired with a vocabulary informed by geography, I understood and cultivated the relationship between myself and my physical environment.

During the semester I became culturally, emotionally and academically engaged with Monteverde as a place. While I basked in the bewildering interconnectedness of the cloud forest, I created another home.

I returned to Costa Rica the following year for a Geography Department fellowship in Mapping Community Migration using GIS. I returned two years later to hike and visit family and friends. In reflection, my dear friend Isobel Arthen ’14 verbalized this title, succinctly explaining why I established roots in Monteverde; it inspires wonder.

Read about Kiana's career