Puerto Rico Summary

For Engineering Open House I imagine our booth to be the movie booth that we discussed earlier during our time in Puerto Rico. We’ll have our tent sectioned off into three areas, each area will have two+ monitors, with videos focusing on El Yunque, the beach/ocean and agriculture. While I think the movie booth will be super cool and attract many visitors, I can see one major pitfall in our plan. That being, while we have our videos and send people through our series of movies, people will  be engaging with the screens. Our videos, while providing people the chance to get a taste of Puerto Rico, eliminate us from the equation the moment we hit play. So hopefully we can come up with a way to keep all us as part of the presentation. Maybe the best way to do that would be a game, similar to ‘Puerto Rico, Illinois, los dos o ninguno?’ that could be played in the begin, but the game has a few more questions that are more educational about Puerto Rico. Then after our visitors walk through our series of movies, we could have an exit game, or give the visitors a chance to ask us any questions. That way we could be more engaged with anyone that chooses to visit us.

The Food Energy Water Nexus

What an interesting opportunity.

The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) hosts this week “The Food-Energy-Water Nexus” its 16th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy, and the Environment. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a NCSE university affiliate. Given this affiliation, I am feeling pretty lucky to be here at very little cost to me.

I have been only attending the meeting for a few hours now and I am quite taken by how broad this The Food-Energy-Water Nexus Nexus really is.

  • How does two weeks of food security sound to you? This is mentioned by a panelist from Hawaii—at any given time there is a two week buffer of food within the archipelago.
  • The education session was packed with folks standing in the back of the room. I don’t think I have ever been to a curriculum session that was so full.
  • Venture capitalists hosted a panel. Data, models, and decision making are key for both organic and conventional systems. The lines between organic and conventional are decidedly blurred. I really appreciate hearing this.

From my view, on my first few hours at the conference, I am most looking forward to the NSF Director France Córdova and her remarks about the FEW Nexus. Luckily they rescheduled her talk as I would have missed it on Tuesday morning, as it was originally scheduled.

Blake Mrozek Video Post

What I would say I have envisioned for the Engineering Open House stand is related to what we’re calling our presentation: ‘A Walk Through Puerto Rico’. Because of this, I think the primary goal of our presentation should be to attempt to recreate our experiences minus the drives for anyone who checks out our presentation to see. I believe the best way to set it up would be to have a setup in the front, most likely a poster or something along those lines, to draw people’s attention, but then we have different screens of footage we captured on the GoPros and our phones during different parts of the trip, each being closely related, so we have one video for the horseback riding, hiking through the jungles/climbing the waterfalls, seeing all of the plantations and farms, and just driving across the island itself. This would allow us to at the very least attempt to show people who visit our booth what we did and the experiences we had while studying abroad, which would hopefully encourage them to look in to opportunities to study abroad and potentially do it themselves.


I just want to say I tried multiple times but my phone kept recording the video upside down, and I couldn’t find a way to rotate it. Here’s the link for the video https://youtu.be/PO6bhck4Du8

Blog #3 – Kate

For the actual booth presentation, I hope to make the booth much more interactive; starting with a game similar to the game we presented to students at the University of Mayaguez. After this area I imagine us putting together a multi-section presentation, with each area being screened off from the next to help the viewer focus on the particular section of the booth. Each section would have photos from our trip containing that theme, along with a video on each of the different area themes (water, agriculture, and hiking/rain forest areas). This interaction would allow the viewers to interact with us, along with being able to interact with a visual stimuli that could provoke new thoughts and questions for us.

At the end of the presentation there would be several other of us that would be avaible to answer questions our viewer may have came up with. Alongside us we could also have several of the souvenirs and objects we brought back from Puerto Rico, so that the view could see even more stimuli. After attracting the viewers, we will know how to keep them focused on us, but it will be attracting them initially that could be difficult (especially at the beginning of open house when no one knows what we are); therefore I propose that we also have a blooper reel on a monitor alongside our barkers, in order to attract attention to the booth. This would help to attract attention to the booth, and then we could continue keeping their attention by our speaking and visual displays.

Winter trip to Puerto Rico

The trip to Puerto Rico has been a wonderful experience for me. I was constantly surprised by the biodiversity and beauty of the nature when I visited a new place each time. I truly appreciate what Puerto Rico has been doing to conserve the nature in its primitive look. Since I was blessed to visit Puerto Rico, I want to share the blessing with people visiting our booth during the open house by showing them several videos and footages of what we did and saw in Puerto Rico. I am thinking of adding both fun and educational elements into those videos. Those videos can be split into nature and agriculture and present it like a walk through Puerto Rico as discussed in class. In each part of the video. There should be some historical background about the topic so as to help audience have a better picture. After watching the video, audience will be given quizzes that are related to climate change and agricultural problems related to Illinois and Puerto Rico. In order to accommodate to audience of different age, we can come out with two sets of questions, e.g. one for elementary school students and the other one for older students. At the end of the booth, I hope the audience will capture the beauty of Puerto Rico and become a bit more aware of global issues related to agricultural sustainability.


My Booth Vision

My vision for our booth is having a table set up with a sort of prequiz that people will take when they first come to the booth. After completing this quiz they will take a “Walk Through Puerto Rico”. There will be three stations set up. They will have multiple monitors playing videos of our experiences while on our trip. The videos will be split up into the categories of beaches/coral reefs, our hiking adventures and agriculture. This video is an example of the kind of video that could possibly be displayed for the agriculture section. It discusses what we learned about coffee production while on our trip. The material is simplified so that all types of audience will be able to follow along. Each video will have a sort voice over with details about what is in the video as well as other sound effects to make it seem more realistic. After going through each station, the visitors will end at the final table. At this table there will be a blooper video playing with music. Also, there will be candy and students to talk with everybody. Maybe we could have other decorations to draw attention such as a hammock or coconuts what have you. I think that if we combine all of our talents together we will make an amazing booth to display at the open house.

Climate Change and its Effect on Coffee Production

For open house, I imagine us having three separate videos similar to the one above, each focusing on different topics. The three topics would include agriculture, beaches, and rain-forests. In the videos, we would present some crucial information we learned about each topic. More importantly, we must show some of the visually appealing points of our trips to engage and attract viewers. We will use the pictures and go pro videos we took to portray our ideas. In addition to the videos, we will set up the mood of each location. This includes adding sand and wave noises to the beach as well as waterfall and bird sounds to the rain-forest. We will try to transform the setting so people feel as if they were in Puerto Rico. To help accomplish this, we will show them transition videos including the plane ride to and from Puerto Rico and the car rides between the various locations. This will make the booth feel more realistic.

In order to add an educational portion to this, we will give the participants a pre-quiz and post-quiz about Puerto Rico and Illinois. The questions will cover topics presented in the booth. I imagine that we will need an interesting set up outside the tents to attract people to the booth (as they will not be able to see the inside with the videos). This could be decorating the tent outside to look like Puerto Rico and also showing the video we used at UPR. After taking the post-quiz we will give a quick debriefing, answer any questions, and show the interviews from UPR. I anticipate this booth attracting many people as it will be unique and engaging, but also informative.

Puerto Rican Surprises

When thinking of how to present this blog I thought about what would engage people the most. I think that people respond the best to visuals. The best way to fully experience a place without actually going there is to see videos or pictures of it. In this video I talked about what surprised me most when visiting Puerto Rico: The landscape. I included visuals of the three most extreme landscapes that we observed while traveling abroad. These three extremes were the mountains/rainforest, ocean/beach, and the farming flatlands. I found it interesting how the terrain changes interacted with each other in terms of agriculture. At Martex farms we were taught about how many of the farmers irrigate their fields with the water from the mountains and how the placement of the fields between the mountains and the oceans creates an ideal environment for farming and produces very fertile soil. Overall, I hope to give the open house visitors the best idea possible of what it is like in Puerto Rico. I believe that through strong communication and effective visuals we will be able to do that for our booth visitors.

Mike Romano Puerto Rico Blog 3


I took a different approach to this blog post, and made a blog that would represent a conversation I would have with a visitor at open house. I feel that our main goal at open house is to educate our visitors in creative and engaging ways. This blog post, I made a video of images I took during our visit to Cafe Gran Batey which was a coffee farm in Puerto Rico that produced very high quality coffee. Before the trip, I was unfamiliar with the process of harvesting and producing coffee. I feel like many of our visitors, especially kids, will also be unaware of the process and I think it is important to show them how it works considering the coffee industry in Puerto Rico is one of its largest. Basically, my vision for open house is to attract as many visitors as possible, and to explain to them our experience and what we learned. I feel that with a process like this video above, it will be easier for our audience to understand our experience through explanation with pictures. I feel that this type of video, along with our previous ideas we discussed as a group, I think we can effectively engage with our visitors and make it a fun experience for all of our visitors.

My experience in Puerto Rico


For the open house, I envision a walk through, maze-like both with many spaces separated by large sheets that are printed with different panorama pictures. Each panorama will be of a different location. One will be the mountains with the rainforest, another the beach and the coral reefs, and others for the coffee farm and the fruit plantation. We will further enhance the spaces by adding extras such as sand and a coffee plant. In each space there will be a monitor showing video from our experience in the different locations, integrated with or followed by brief educational information about each setting. In between each setting we will have other monitors and/or pictures showing the transitions for each place we visited. Those monitors will have video of the views we saw while in the van, fun music, and pictures of our apartment or Mayaguez. The last section will be discussing the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez and our project there. The video will show our game, include segments of the interviews we conducted, and discuss our experience as a whole. Once the participants have left the booth we will sum up the experience and answer any questions that they have.