Yesterday I arrived in Panamá, and this afternoon I gave the first of two talks at the 2012 Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (LACCEI – Consorcio Latinoamericano y del Caribe de Escuelas de Ingeniería.) This is the home of one of our PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP Program assistants, Miguel Nino, and both he and his Mom, Sandra, have been wonderful hosts! Yesterday, they took me to see Puente de las Américas (Bridge of the Americas) which spans the Pacific Ocean and the Panama canal. We had dinner at “Mi Ranchito” where I had an extremely tasty dish: Corvina Entera Frita (fried fish). I also learned that while the Puerto Rico version of fried mashed plantains is called “tostones,” the version here is called “patacones.” Yes, I had several yesterday! Today, we were at the university that is known for engineering, Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá. I learned more about the International Society for Engineering Education (IGIP), and Miguel and I gave a talk on preparing for graduate school (preparación para programas de maestría y doctorado.) Miguel is a UMBC graduate student in Instructional Systems Development, with a specialty in Cross-Cultural Communication. The paper will be posted soon, and we’ll post both the English and Spanish versions. I had a chance to see two of the deans that I knew from the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, and I’m always happy to hear someone tell me that my spanish has improved! I still mess up “por” and “para” and have issues with vocabulary, but I was at least able to understand most of the opening welcome session without translation. We’ll see if I have any more small improvements by the end of the week. In the meanwhile, here are some photos that were taken between the wind and the rain.