Panama is the crossroads of the world. With strong influences from American, Spanish, and Asian culture, this tropical nation of 4 million individuals is most famous for the Panama Canal, the single most important structure on earth. Without the Panama Canal, the world as we know it would not exist – and the 2016 completion of a $5 billion expansion project promises to shape the world economy for centuries to come. Panama is one of the most biodiverse locations on the planet, with stunning beaches and pristine rainforests only a short ride away from Panama City, the most cosmopolitan city in Latin America.

The Panama City Project Center is one of the few that offers both IQP and MQP opportunities. Project-based learning experiences, such as those embodied by the IQP and MQP, have been shown to improve student outcomes in various professional skills, such as communication; to prepare students for self-directed research projects in industry or academia; to demonstrate to students the value of interdisciplinary inquiry; to encourage students in seeking graduate degrees; and to provide students with a better understanding of core concepts.

IQP students work with Panamanian partners on projects that emphasize teamwork and collaboration to identify innovative solutions and policies to address pressing social issues – technology is only a minor part of this project. MQP students gain real-life training with world-renowned engineering organizations, working with access to facilities that can be found nowhere else.

Panama is a unique country in which to carry out IQP or MQP work. The relative autonomy of the indigenous communities is in contrast to nearly 100 years of American military occupation; the extreme wealth of Panama City is reflected by the grinding poverty of Colón; the rainforests, beaches, and biodiversity of the rural areas attract tourists and researchers alike from every corner of the globe while Panama City offers all of the amenities of Latin America’s greatest city; all against the backdrop of the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, always in operation, shaping the flow of goods through the world economy.


“Doubtless for centuries to come the world-wonders of the Panama Canal will be told in story and in picture, but the eloquence of the theme itself will never be exhausted while reverence for mighty deeds find lodgment in the hearts of men.”

~ Ralph Avery, 1913