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CISE Energy and Environmental Projects


Punta Leona, Costa Rica

Program Description

Project-based course examining international energy and sustainability  problems and providing team-oriented project experiences. Addresses energy and sustainability issues associated with economic and social development. Project participation and meetings with managers and workers illustrate sustainability-related problems.

Students will work on various projects at resorts in Costa Rica.  Each student will pick a project before arriving in Costa Rica and work to complete it during the three week class. Students will work with advisors and project mentors that include JMU professors, owner and managers of a resort in Costa Rica.

Possible projects: Please note that some of these topics can become your senior thesis project:

1.   Remote monitoring and control of Air-conditioning units and electricity consuming devices
2.   Aquaponics and Hydroponics systems
3.   Internet connectivity: Diagnostics and analysis
4.   GIS: Mapping of local terrain, natural features, plant and animal life, attractions, and resort amenities
5.   Energy savings: this can start with energy audit of the facilities and recommend possible actions. This can include educating and informing the resort community about the process (what we are doing, why, how, and what to expect)
6.   PV power plant for charging golf carts
7.   PV power plant for emergency backup (internet, communication and vital lighting)
8.   PV power plant for street lighting
9.   Solar thermal collectors for hot water
10. Developing educational material for resort workers and guests
11. Other projects that you are interested in

Students will choose one of the two available track options -

Track 1 (3 credits)

ISAT 416: International Energy Studies (3 credits)


ISAT 480: International Sustainability Projects (3 credits)

Track 2 (4 credits)

ISAT 492: Senior Capstone Project II (2 credits)


ISAT 493: Senior Capstone Project III (2 credits)

Location Description

The program will be at Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort. It is a coastal resort located in the Province of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. It is about an hour drive from the capital San Jose. The resort’s accommodations for national and international guests include 108 standard rooms and 27 fully equipped apartments. Punta Leona Hotel and Club Beach Resort employs approximately 335 people and its management is committed to being a leader in ecotourism. Its beach - Playa Blanca - has been awarded the “Cleanest Beach in Costa Rica”


Karim Altaii | | ISAT


Accommodations will be provided for students through hotel rooms at the resort and with internet access and laundry services.  

All meals covered in the program fee

Additional Items to Consider

This course is targeted towards ISAT and Engineering students, and recommended for sophomores and juniors.

Some Spanish will be helpful. 

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

Prerequisite: ISAT 212

Sophomores, Juniors

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ISAT 416: International Energy Study (3 credits)

ISAT 480: International Sustainability Projects (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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