Cornell University

International Programs

117 Ives Hall, 607-254-7255


February 16 2007

Maria Cook to Lead Student Service Learning Trip to Mexico

Maria CookProfessor Maria Cook thought she knew something about immigration—she taught a section on Mexican migration in her course, Political Economy of Mexico, which she had offered at ILR since 1993. But nothing prepared her for what she witnessed at the Arizona border on a research trip in 2006. “I was surprised by the immensity of the border-crossing enterprise—by all the groups profiting off migration on both sides of the border.” Professor Cook resolved to bring Cornell students to the US-Mexico border, so that they could see for themselves what is at stake in the immigration debate.

This semester she is organizing a group of students from her classes to go to the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border during spring break. The visit will be guided by Borderlinks, a Tucson-based organization specializing in educational ‘travel seminars’. This will be the first international field seminar for ILR undergraduates and is part of the School’s efforts to expand international opportunities for its students.

Despite support from the ILR School, some students still need help in financing the trip (especially the airfare from the Northeast to Tucson). The group is seeking additional funds to ensure that all interested students can participate, regardless of financial need. Professor Cook is convinced it is worth the effort: “The US-Mexico border in Arizona is where all the immigration issues are being played out, not in the abstract, but by real people—to see that in person is an education that you cannot get in books.”

Message from ILR International Programs: If you would like to help ILR students wishing to participate in this and other international experience travel, kindly visit  Make a Gift to Cornell, select the ILR School and "other gift designation" and enter ILR International. Or simply contact Robin Remick, ILR International Programs,, c/o 309 Ives Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853, phone 607.254.2950. It makes a world of difference. Thank you!