Iowa State University students travel all over the world to pursue their passions. Henry Herman’s adventure took him to the top of the world to research how people in Nepal tackle the challenges of maintaining the rugged Great Himalayan Foot Trail.
Henry Herman, a fifth-year senior in landscape architecture, traveled to Nepal as a wanderlust 18-year-old before attending Iowa State and found the rugged country was an inexpensive and exciting tourist destination. He dreamed of returning to the remote country to study mountain culture far off the beaten track. He found a mentor in Ramesh Balayar, a PhD student in sociology at Iowa State. Balayar grew up in a Nepalese village and put Henry in contact with friends involved with the Great Himalayan Trail project. Inspired by his new friends, Henry applied for and received the Barbara King Landscape Architecture Scholarship for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Creativity to fund his own research expedition back to the Himalayas.
“Ramesh and his friends suggested that I should see the most remote portion of the country in order to better understand the obstacles that needed to be overcome to market a footpath that tourists could conceivably undertake,” Henry says.
While there, Henry learned how villagers were able to overcome impacts of climate change and little government maintenance to ensure people can move from place to place.
“I wanted to take what I had been learning in school and at work and see how it would match up in a totally different landscape context: Nepal,” explains Henry. “I wanted to see what it would be like in other places with little government oversight, where the design of transportation systems takes place at grassroot levels, relying heavily on local knowledge and community participation.”
After returning from the Himalayas, Henry’s Nepalese adventure continued. He started Caravan, a nonprofit organization that works to raise money to build sustainable mountain roads and development in Nepal. The December 2017 graduate also is pursuing a master’s degree in mountain geography at the University of Montana.
Henry’s Iowa State adventure took him to the remote mountains of Nepal. Imagine how the people and professors at Iowa State might inspire you to pursue your own international research project.