Alcorn students head to India for summer study

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The Bay of Bengal will be her laboratory when Natchez native Shonda Reed Moore travels to India for an eight-week study of

environmental impacts on marine life near the coastal city of Vishakhapatnam.

Moore, a junior biology major, will be among a group of students from Alcorn State University spending the summer in India to study within their college disciplines and to experience the culture and lifestyle of the Indian people.

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Larry Goodin, another Natchez native and an Alcorn senior majoring in industrial technology, also will participate, working in Bangalore on a medical database that will cross reference modern and traditional systems of medicine in India, specifically on the treatment of malaria.

For Moore, the summer study is an opportunity to expand her interest in and knowledge of life in the sea, she said. &uot;I think it is important for me to explore marine biology globally,&uot; she said. &uot;The research will provide data of the biological effects of contaminants in the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and will show the effects on organisms and human health.&uot;

Moore traces her interest in the sea and life within it to a time she spent in Alaska. &uot;Alaska has a big fishing industry. I began collecting fish and vertebrates there and decided that’s what I wanted to explore.&uot;

She reads with interest about the continued effects of the highly publicized oil spill from the Exxon tanker Valdez off the coast of Alaska in 1989. &uot;The animals in the sea are still feeling the effects of that spill, and the people who depend on the sea for their livelihood are affected by it, as well.&uot;

In India, she will study plankton and coral as well as many types of sea life she only has read about. She will research and correlate environmental finds with human health concerns.

Moore has traveled abroad before. During a six-year stint in the U.S. Army, she spent time in Korea and in Turkey.

Still, India will be new to her. And the opportunities are made more exciting by

having ASU biology professor Dr. Bettaiya Rajanna, a native of India, accompany the group.

Goodin has the same opportunity, as ASU computer science professor Dr. Sharada Rajanna, wife of Bettaiya Rajanna, will supervise his database studies.

The experience will prepare him for a career that likely will take him to other countries, Goodin said. Like Moore, he has traveled abroad before. In October 2002, he traveled with an Alcorn group led by ASU professor Dr. Napoleon Moses, dean of the Department of Industrial Technology, to Ghana. &uot;We’ll have some time to travel and sightsee, but we expect to work full time, dedicated to the studies and work we’re assigned to do,&uot; Goodin said.

Moore envisions weeks of conducting chemical analyses and discovering a whole new world of marine biology. Goodin looks forward to organizing and computerizing information that will be a part of an important, useful study of malaria treatment.

The group will leave June 3 and return to the United States on Aug. 10. &uot;It will be exciting to be in a foreign country and be a part of a foreign culture,&uot; Moore said. &uot;Learning about diversity will help us to understand more about what’s going on in the world.&uot;