SLHRD Fellow Susan Karimiha Returns from Honduras

Susan with a farmer’s Cacao tree, whose beans are used to make Chocolate.

Susan with a farmer’s Cacao tree, whose beans are used to make Chocolate.

Baton Rouge - This summer, LSU School of Leadership & Human Resource Development PhD Candidate and Dr. Sunyoung Park’s research assistant, Susan Karimiha, was a visiting Fellow at the National Agriculture University of Honduras. She was awarded the Fellowship by the National Agriculture University of Honduras (UNA) to develop human resource development and leadership research for rural farmers and conduct research related to the development of Honduras.

Susan completed her doctoral dissertation data collection in the rural areas of Olancho, Honduras, taught classes at the university and provided technical assistance to UNA during her 5-week program.

Olancho, Honduras is the largest state in the country of Honduras. Catacamas is a city located in Olancho, has a population of about 122,000 people, and is the home of the National Agriculture University, where she lived. Much of the people of Olancho are farmers, who produce high quality coffee, beans, corn, meat and dairy products such as milk, cream and cheese.

The purpose of her doctoral dissertation research was to examine impact of psychological empowerment, workplace motivation and social capital on farmers’ job performance in Honduras. Susan conducted questionnaires, interviews and focus groups with farmers for her research, and is currently conducting her data analysis; Susan conducted her research all throughout the state of Olancho.

 “I enjoy studying human resource and leadership development in farmers. If we can understand farmers, their workplace and systems around agriculture, through human resource development and leadership research, and provide practical solutions, I believe we can add an important piece to the challenge with food insecurity around the world and environmental concerns.”

Susan also taught a survey design course and data collection techniques course to senior students, who were about to start their thesis projects. She also served as an advisor to students who were interested in studying in the United States for their master’s degrees and had questions about procedures for admission and life in the U.S.

  “I was able to use what I have learned in LHRD courses and in developing my own dissertation, to share research methods with the senior students. There are many highly qualified students at UNA and they are very eager to improve their lives and country. I felt honored to be a part of their classroom and a small part of their formation.”

Susan attends cultural fair in Santa Maria del Real, Olancho, where local students display traditional clothing, dances, food and other aspects of the culture of Honduras.

Susan attends cultural fair in Santa Maria del Real, Olancho, where local students display traditional clothing, dances, food and other aspects of the culture of Honduras.

Susan also provided technical assistance to UNA, in the form of a Human Resource Development Performance and Needs Analysis of their Human Resources Department. The process involved conducting focus groups, surveys and interviews with a variety of stakeholders and university leadership, to develop a final report for the university to use to help their decision making regarding the department.  

Although Susan was busy with research, teaching, and outreach during her Fellowship, she was able to enjoy the country and attend a cultural fair which featured a booth for every state of Honduras made by local high school students and take in the sights of the countryside while driving to research locations. Throughout her research, sometimes she had to travel a full day to reach farmers in mountainous areas.  She says,

“One of my favorite parts of my trip in Honduras was interacting with the people and university community. You can feel the hospitality of the Honduran people from the time you land in the country.”

Although Susan has returned to the United States and is conducting her data analysis for her dissertation, she says,

“the trip has only opened my mind to more research questions related to ways LHRD can make a positive change in the lives of people. I am excited to be on this doctoral journey and belong to a world-class academic program where I can work with faculty to explore my ideas and develop as a professional.”

The School of Leadership and Human Resource Development is proud of the many accomplishments Susan has made in her field of study and is looking forward to future updates, as herself, and many other changemakers, continue to enhance the development of individuals, organizations and workforce systems through research that advances the creation and application of new knowledge.

About the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development

The LSU School of Leadership & Human Resource Development (SLHRD) offers programs dedicated to producing world-class practitioners, leaders, and instructors in human resource and leadership development. The BS, MS, PhD, and certificate programs are designed to develop the leadership, planning, analytical, problem solving, and change management capabilities that today's globalized organizations need to be successful. SLHRD also offers a 100% online master’s program and is a school within the College of Human Sciences & Education.  

About the College of Human Sciences & Education

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree programs, enrolling more than 2,020 undergraduate and 879 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.


Contact: Jeffery S. Portier
SLHRD Public Relations Coordinator
(225) 578-5750