International Programs News

Palaiologos Palaiologou

Hailing from Greece, Palaiologos Palaiologou, better known as Pal, has spent the last few years in the Pacific Northwest to further his studies in geography and forest management and consider how these factors contribute to the changing presence of fires in our landscapes.

In his youth, Pal developed an interest in geography and its effects on global societies, which directed him to gain a better understanding of the effects geography plays on countries and regions of the world, through university studies. After primary schooling, he studied at the University of the Aegean in Greece, obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Geography. He then went on to earn a Master’s in Geoinformatics and PhD in Wildfire Behavior Modeling & Fire Effects Assessment.

His first visit to the United States resulted in a seven-month residency in Portland, OR in collaboration with Portland State University. For the last year and a half, Pal has returned to Oregon with support from the USDA Forest Service International Visitor Program and Dr. Alan Ager, to work with the USFS Forestry Sciences Lab at Oregon State University and OSU Fire Science Professor, Dr. John Bailey. When his international visitor program concludes later this academic year, Pal will return to Greece to share the knowledge and insight he has gained from his scholarly residency in Oregon and the PNW.

Pal’s research with John Bailey and Alan Ager has been intimately linked with the U.S.’s new National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, which includes using fire behavior simulations to understand risk transmission and scale mismatches in fire management planning. Some of the factors comprising this strategy require proactively pushing preventative rather than reactive policies regarding fire management, creating fire adapted communities, restoring and maintaining landscapes and achieving more effective response to fire.

Looking towards the future, Pal would prefer to participate in University level teaching and research instead of securing a research position for a dedicated organization or company. He hopes to share his knowledge and understanding of fire behavior to better equip Greece to adapt to and manage their communities within a fire management lens. Analogous to his career ambitions, Pal mentioned that he is “fishing for swordfish now!”—the fewer, big fish that are more difficult and rewarding to catch. “Sure, there’s less chance to catch something,” he proposes, “but when you do, it’s a rewarding experience!”

Mill tour in Eastern Oregon. Photo courtesy of Pal





Published by Savannah Stanton, CoF International Programs

The Italian Perspective

Managing Ecosystems as a Complex Adaptive System | Tuscany, Italy

In his second year as a Ph.D. student within Forest Ecosystems & Society (FES), Austin Himes partook in a field course in Tuscany, Italy this past autumn that focused the issues of management of natural resources in a time of global change, with a collective cohort of students from four different universities and countries.

Read Austin’s background, future ambitions, and the role this master’s-level faculty-led program has played in offering new perspectives to the concept of ecosystem and forestland management!

What is your professional and academic background, and how did it relate to this faculty-led program?

I am the area manager for GreenWood Resources Hybrid poplar plantations in Boardman and Clatskanie Oregon. I have had previous positions in GreenWood’s research department in silviculture and tree improvement. Prior to joining GreenWood, I earned my M.S in Forest and Ecosystem Sciences at the University of Washington and worked as a wildland fire fighter for the US Forest Service. I am a Ph.D student being advised by Klaus Puettmann in OSU’s Forest Ecosystems and Society department. My project is investigating the impact of tree species diversity and composition on multiple ecosystem services in industrial forests in the coast range of the Pacific Northwest.


What were some of deciding factors that encouraged you to apply and attend this international experience?

Klaus is my advisor, so I had little choice. Seriously though, I hoped to hear how other leading scholars and students on the international scene were thinking about complexity in forestry. Forestry in the US is much more industry driven than large parts of Europe, including Italy, and I wanted to understand how the different market and culture lead to different views. I think I achieved those expectations. I also learned about chestnut management in coppice which is an ancient and interesting approach relevant to my hybrid poplar experience.


Tell me a little more about the program! What went well and what could be improved upon?

The open-ended structure was the best and worst part. Group dynamics present challenges, but also give opportunities to learn about things from new perspectives. I would absolutely recommend the experience to other students in and out of the college.

Having it based around forestry, my work and passion, was really awesome. Getting some firsthand experience with a piece of European forest management is something I will always cherish. It is a silvicultural system and a perspective that I admire and hope to see replicated to some extent in the US.

I loved the people and the food. The setting of the class was also spectacular. I’m into English renaissance literature, so finding out that John Milton refers to Vallombrosa in Paradise Lost, one of my favorite works, was really cool. It is impossible to really understand the perspectives of other cultures that come from living in a place without being their first hand.

A lot of my research is on mixed species forest management. A lot of the research in the area comes from Beech/Spruce forests, just like the ones we saw in Italy. Having some firsthand experience with this ecological system helps me draw connection to the literature and my own research. I want to finish my PhD and have a long career as a leader in forest resource management thought and development. Italy opened my eyes to new perspectives and ways of looking at the industry, which is valuable in determining win-win paths forward for natural resource management. I work for an international company and anticipate doing work for GreenWood abroad in the future in some capacity. The trip to Italy helped familiarize me with a sector of European forestry that may be very valuable in the future.



Great example of mixed beech forest with fir regenerating in the understory


The delicious cured meats in every shop in every town and every restaurant where one of my favorite parts of the trip.


Sound like your cup of tea? Although we are not running the Italy graduate student program for the 2017-18 academic year, take a peek at our other faculty-led programs running this year. It is not too late to apply for programs traveling to Spain and Costa Rica! The Spain deadline has been extended to April 30thapply now!

Published by: Savannah Stanton, CoF International Programs

Island Life | Island Travel: Carson Wall

Island Life | Island Travel

This is the story of Carson Wall, a senior in Forest Engineering, and his maiden voyage to the University of Canterbury as a study abroad student from the College of Forestry at OSU. The second of three installations, Carson enlightens us on cultural and culinary variances between New Zealand and the U.S. He also shares a few of his favorite excursions in the land of the Kiwis. These are his stories.

What variances in culture, food, people, and day-to-day activities did you experience in New Zealand as compared to life in the US?

The New Zealand slang was probably the most notable cultural difference. Some of the words and phrases for stuff literally made no sense unless you had someone to translate. One could generally follow along fine, but it was hard to get used to being thrown off by some random gibberish that seemed to come out of nowhere. Another big difference is the fact that you drive on both the opposite side of the road, as well as in the other side of the car. I wouldn’t say this was that hard for me personally to get used to, however I found myself hitting the windshield wipers almost every time I tried to put on my blinker. Also, gas station have way better quality food than here in the U.S. and are actually one of the better places to get meat pies (a New Zealand local food).


A FAVORITE RESTAURANT | Photo Credit: Carson Wall


When asked to provide a few of his favorite parts of the experience, Carson replied—“too many to talk about them all”. So here are his top three excursions across New Zealand. Enjoy (and get to planning your study abroad—talk to our IP Office today)!


CARSON ATOP MT. FYFFE | Photo Credit: Raquel Alexis


Mt. Fyffe:

This is easily one of, if not my favorite experience while in New Zealand. There is a quaint town roughly 2 hours north of Christchurch called Kiakoura that has beautiful walks along a peninsula that’s full of seal colonies. Just a couple miles behind the coastal town is a magnificent mountain range. One of its inhabitants is a peak called Mt. Fyffe. A few friends and I decided to complete an overnight hike on this mountain, staying at a small cabin just an hour off the summit (about 3 hours from the trailhead). We made the grueling walk up the gravel road roughly around 4pm and were able to make it to the cabin in time to have dinner while watching the sun set over the inland ranges. We originally planned to watch it from the summit, but hikers passing us on their way down mentioned that visibility was nonexistent. We were a little bummed but figured we would just wake up early and assess whether a sunrise hike would be worth it or not, depending on how clear the sky appeared. We spent most the night just talking, playing cards and keeping the fire hot, which is always fun with new friends since almost every story is something fresh to the ears.

4 a.m. came around and I managed to drag myself outside to check the weather conditions, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Not only was the moon bright enough to make headlamps worthless, but swear I could see three times as many stars than I have ever witnessed in the night sky before. We decided to leave our main bags at the cabin, and set off to the summit with only the bare necessities. Each turn in the road and each minute we climbed, the sights somehow managed to become more and more breathtaking. Being at over 5000ft of elevation, the clouds had settled with the appearance of an ocean, with the mountain peaks peeking through like little islands. The more we climbed, the more our excitement showed, and were legitimately sprinting the last leg to reach the peak. There aren’t really words for the experience we had after, but we simply stood in quite a bit of silence, took a few pictures that we all knew would not turn out the way we wished, and gazed at the horizon as the sun made its way above the sea of clouds. I’m fully aware that this small moment in time will never be rivaled in my future, but will certainly never be forgotten, as it will forever remain in my mind as a single instance of perfection, without any impurity, for the rest of my life.


MT. FYFFE: A Sea of Clouds Below | Photo Credit: Raquel Alexis



I researched New Zealand a fair amount before I left, and knew that the country had quite a variety of terrain, but I was nowhere near mentally ready to get surprised by the west side of the island. The west coast is tropical, jungle-esque, and has sandy beaches comparable to Hawaii. You literally drive through massive mountain ranges and endless green farms land, then all of a sudden, it feels as if you are popped out into some quaint island in the middle of the Caribbean. This landscape had a big part in my determination that New Zealand is actually Jurassic Park, and I’m rather surprised that I did not see any dinosaurs during my visit. A lot of that idea probably comes from the jungles of fern trees, which flow from the edge of the beaches over the hills, where they slowly begin to disappear the closer they get to the mountains.




Coromandel (Hot water beach and cathedral cove):

On one of my trips to the north island, a group of friends and I rented a car and headed east to the greater Coromandel area. We rented an Airbnb in Onemana and spent the day surfing the waves and playing around on the beaches. Once we got too cold and hungry, we made our way back to the Airbnb to make a family style dinner and rest while we could, since we knew that we would be up quite late. From Onemana, we drove about an hour north to another coastal town, to put in a few late hours on their beaches. The reason this beach is so special is because it lays on top of a subsurface area that has thermal activity. When the tide is low, late at night, people come out to dig holes which fill up from below with hot water. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any shovels so we did the best we could with the pot and pans that we grabbed from our Airbnb. Our best was nowhere near good enough however, as we had a pretty large group and the tools at our disposal just weren’t cutting it. Luckily there were many vacant holes, so we found the one with water temperature that was just right, and hopped in. It wasn’t until after our headlamps were off, our beers cracked and our excitement had settled, that we finally looked up. The stars were out in abundance, apparently a common thing in New Zealand with its minimal light pollution, but that wasn’t even the best part. Cutting the sky in two was the strip of stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy. Never had I ever seen it so milky and vibrant. We spent the rest of the time comfortably laying in our natural hot tubs with our heads leaned back, starring up at that crème white galaxy, with the crashing of ocean waves in the background. And just for fun, we forced out bodies to make a couple quick trips into those waves, though it wasn’t long after that we were back in the warmth of those hot water pools.


An honorable mention would probably be Hobbiton (in my book at least!), the reclusive idyllic village featured in the Lord of the Rings movies that were adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic novels. If this is a bucket list item during your time in New Zealand, be sure to arrange for ample travel time to get to the North Island and stay awhile!

HOBBITON | Photo Credit: Carson Wall        











Want to see more of Carson’s 5-month journey through New Zealand?!

Visit his blog: kiwiornah.tumblr.com 





Published by: Savannah Stanton, CoF International Programs

English Classes in Corvallis

Hello international students and scholars! You and your families are invited to register for some of the following English Language classes around the Corvallis area. These classes will be a great opportunity to practice English and connect with other international members of the OSU community. Below is a list of the classes offered in 2018. For more information on these classes, click the attached PDF.



Conversation Strategies and American Culture (J-1 Scholars at OSU)

INTO OSU English Courses

Crossroads Conversation School for Women

Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center Courses:

          Conversation Circles

          Level A Beginner English Class

          Level B High Beginner English Class

          Intermediate Informal English Class

          Literacy Level English

English for Everyday Life

English for Everyday Life II

Goodwill Industries English Classes for Community Members

English Language and Culture Institute (ELCI), Albany

Related Documents: 

“Kiwi or Nah”: Carson Wall’s maiden voyage to UC, New Zealand

This is the story of Carson Wall, a senior in Forest Engineering, and his maiden voyage to the University of Canterbury as a study abroad student from the College of Forestry at OSU.

The first of three installations, Carson opens by sharing his upbringing and academic background and discussing his underlying reasons to study halfway across the world for five months of his academic career. These are his stories.

Me: What led you to choose Forest Engineering as your major? Why Oregon State?

Carson: Oregon State was an easy choice. Coming from Washington and growing up in the northwest I knew I wanted to stay relatively local, but get far enough away from home to still have a unique experience. I toured colleges in Montana, Idaho and Washington, but it wasn’t until I saw Oregon that I felt like I knew where I needed to be. A big factor is the location, as Bend, Mt. Bachelor, and the coast are just a short drive away, making surfing and snowboarding too convenient. But the campus itself provided its own significant pull to OSU. Beautiful, clean, and enviro-aware, OSU’s campus has quite a bit to brag about. With facilities, services, and resources for almost any activity you could dream of, all packed into a small tightknit and friendly community, Corvallis really is the ideal college-town.

When it comes to my decision of pursuing the double major program of Forestry Engineering – Civil Engineering, it’s rather quite simple to explain. As I grew up, I loved two things more than anything else, Legos and nature. I figured what better way than to study in a field specializing in building things, and another that focuses on the regulation of an imperative natural resource. 

My reasons for deciding to travel to New Zealand are actually quite similar to the reasons I chose to attend Oregon State. Since it would be a relatively long trip, a semester abroad (about five months), I wanted to go somewhere that I knew I would enjoy, or in other words, a location that wasn’t a “risky” choice. The dominate language in New Zealand is English, and geographically speaking, it is a similar distance from the equator meaning a reasonably identical climate. The terrain and landscape have all the aspects that I love about the Pacific Northwest, especially the magnificent mountains. Also, the two islands are relatively small making it easier for me to be able to travel around and see a majority of the country as a whole, before having to return to the U.S.

Outside of enrolling in three upper division courses-- Structural Design, Soil Mechanics, and Environmental Engineering—while at UC, Carson was quick to integrate into UC student life, finding familiarity in their extensive range of university clubs and activities. When he wasn’t busy with completing course objectives and attending class, he was jumping from activity to activity and making the most of the weekends to engage with the rest of the Kiwi culture and landscape.

UC was great about promoting all the clubs and activities that they had on campus. I tried my best to attend at least one session for each club that I thought was interesting. Some of these clubs included, Ski club, Skate Club, Ultimate Frisbee, Fencing, and Yoga. The first week I arrived they also had a huge week of events called Winter Fest, which included everything from student boxing matches to concerts, and even a full-fledged rail jam with imported snow. One of the most fun events though was a soccer group I joined, that eventually turned into a team, which we took all the way to win a championship in our division.



Figure 1 CARSON AT AN ALL BLACKS GAME | Photo Credit: Samantha Stevens



Want to see more of Carson’s 5-month journey through New Zealand?!

Visit his blog: kiwiornah.tumblr.com 





Published by: Savannah Stanton, CoF International Programs