UDLAP Students are Awarded the Erasmus Scholarship

  • Luis Enrique Moreda Rovirosa and Samia Rojas went to Bergen University in Norway for an academic exchange.

Luis Enrique Moreda and Samia Rojas, students at Universidad de las Américas Puebla were awarded a scholarship for an academic stay at the University of Bergen in Norway by the Erasmus program (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students).

“This scholarship is an opportunity for students that are not part of the European Union to participate in an academic exchange program. In our case we went last semester to the University of Bergen in Norway”, said Luis Enrique Moreda, a seventh-semester student of Architecture at UDLAP. Likewise, he said that to obtain the scholarship they had to meet certain requirements, which include having a GPA of at least 8.5, have a level 2 on the TOEFL, and have a high academic performance.

Finally, he explained that the scholarship included “a regular exchange for a semester at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Bergen. We also took advantage of our stay to carry out other activities, such as hiking, taking part in student groups and, in my case, I was able to work at an architecture firm where I could apply what I have learned at UDLAP,” stated Luis Enrique.

For her part, Samia Rojas, seventh-semester student of Design of Visual Information at UDLAP, commented that, “thanks to this scholarship I acquired new knowledge and experience. For example, joining a volunteer group and showing what I have learned at UDLAP, especially in photography, because I was able to work in the university newspaper taking photos.”

Finally, both students agreed in saying that earning the Erasmus scholarship afforded new knowledge and a wonderful experience for both because they experienced a cultural exchange of languages and traditions. “It also let us see the good of each country, what they have in common, and what you can improve and contribute,” stated Samia Rojas.

It is important to mention that the Erasmus program is an important and successful student initiative, promoted by European institutions for countries that are not part of the European Union, to benefit students from other countries. Its objective is to foster cooperation for student mobility between institutions so the educational and cultural relationship of both countries be strengthened.

UDLAP Faculty Member Discusses New Security Threats at an International Congress

Gerardo Rodríguez Sánchez Lara, faculty member at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, participated in the international colloquium “Good Government, Development, and Security 2019” in Lima Peru, where important personalities of strategic-thinking security and defense centers from Latin America and Europe, both civil and military, met.

This event was organized by the International Center on Governability, Development, and Security (CIGODESE), of the Real Instituto del Cano in Spain, the Center for Strategic Studies of the Peruvian Army, and Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Prof. Rodríguez Sánchez Lara, a member of the Department of International Relations and Political Science at UDLAP and coordinator of the Governance and Public Policies at the UDLAP-Jenkins Graduate School, also said that one reason for the meeting was to assess the challenges that the armed forces of the American continent face regarding new threats in the area.  Experts in security – such as the Secretary of Defense of Peru, faculty members from the Universidad Militar Nueva Granada de Colombia, of the Universidad ESAN, from the Center of Strategic Studies of Peru, and institutions in Germany and France – met and discussed these problems for three days.

Regarding the colloquium’s content, Professor Rodríguez emphasized that one of the most important subjects for him was that even though some threats are unchanged, such as terrorism, the armed forces continue to be utilized by their governments to fight crime, a matter they were not prepared for. “The conclusion at the meeting is that armies must keep to their mission of defending countries from external factors; however, the threats more often come from within the countries, such as organized crime of different types: drug trafficking, human trafficking, weapons trafficking, theft of minerals,” he added.

The army’s participation in fighting those crimes has improved their image among the citizens of American countries. For example, Professor Rodríguez said that in Mexico 80% of the population have a positive image of the armed forces. This is because they are considered to be one of the most organized and resourceful forces which can be quickly deployed to help civil institutions.

Likewise, he commented that his lecture in the meeting, “Contemporary Difficulties in the Integration Processes”, discussed challenges in hemispheric security, since this is where new threats to security systems, banks, and institutions arise.  Therefore “the armies of the world have an important task: to develop new technologies to protect this sector by dissuading and attacking illegal cyberspace activities,” stated the UDLAP faculty member.

UDLAP Faculty Member Participates in International Meeting on Conservation of Protected Areas

Dr. Celeste Cedillo, faculty member of the Political Science and International Relations department at UDLAP, was part of the technical committee at the Third Meeting on Protected Areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Peru, where she evaluated projects, posters, and participated as a speaker, talking about governance and environmental geography applied to the Izta-Popo Park.

Latin America has important challenges regarding the conservation of protected areas, but the most relevant are the insufficiency and disparity of the budgets to maintain and manage them. While small countries like Costa Rica have several decades effectively working in public policies, others with great diversity, such as Mexico, which has around 12% of land areas and a little more in marine areas, have problems both in monetary terms and regarding personnel and equipment.

For this reason, and many more, experts from different countries met in Peru to exchange knowledge and debate about public policy, with the objective to strengthen the capabilities of the main actors in conservation in order to promote adequate handling of protected areas in Latin America. “Representatives from academia, public organizations, private companies, indigenous leaders, and NGOs participated in this meeting.  The objective was to listen to experiences on how to improve public policies, which will allow us to have more information about how to act more effectively,” explained Dr. Cedillo.

Among the experts who attended the meeting, sponsored by the International Union for Nature Conservation (UICN) and the World Commission for Protected Areas, the UDLAP faculty member stood out; she said that “they invited me to be part of the technical committee to evaluate all the proposals, presentations, posters, and everything that will be done along strategic lines.”

Also, she had an opportunity to share her experiences in conservation and protected areas through the presentation “Environmental Governance and Environmental Geography Applied to the Izta-Popo Park”, a project that paints a study case used for her doctoral thesis and which states that “if we include a geographical focus in environmental governance we can have a better impact regarding conservation and sustainable development of protected areas.”

It is important to point out that the Third Meeting on Protected Areas of Latin America and the Caribbean helped to make known proposals of different organizations, which will be sent to the Convention on Biological Diversity, where they will review the Aichi Goals in 2020. “These are goals that have been agreed upon by several countries, among them Mexico, in order to improve conservation and to draft public policies so that protected areas function adequately,” explained the UDLAP professor.

UDLAP Faculty Member Exhibits at the Museum of Visual Arts in Santiago, Chile

  • Carlos Arias took to his exhibition in Santiago, Chile, works of his series Pahuatlán and Jornadas, the latter begun in 1995 and on which he´s worked for almost 25 years.

Carlos Arias, artist and faculty member at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, opened an exhibition in Santiago, Chile, after an absence of almost two decades. This time his collected works – La trama (auto)biográfica The (Auto)biographical Weft, held at the Museum of Visual Arts (MAVI) – represents the most important individual show of the artist in Chile. In it, he stresses social topics such as minorities, gender, sexuality, race, and immigration from an autobiographical point pf view.

The (Auto)biographical Weft: A file in transit was curated by Dr. Cynthia Francica. It shows his work as a function of objects in need of a register – a queer file, or an alternate record of stories of minority groups that are not present in official files. Its purpose is also to visualize the work of Arias in the Chilean context from the perspective of a life in a minority.

For this exhibit the artist selected works he has made since 1994, when he started to embroider and abandoned painting until today, yielding a total of 16 embroidered works in different formats. “My work is totally atemporal. I have works from ´97 until 2007 and they don’t feel old. Thread, due to its homey quality, is pleasant” explained Carlos Arias.

During the colloquium Art, Minorities, and Immigration, organized for this exhibit, Carlos Arias commented: “This exhibition arose from the book The Thread of Life (El hilo de la vida) published by UDLAP and very well edited. I sent it to some friends in Santiago, specifically to Sergio Parra, who told me that he wanted to invite me to exhibit at his gallery.” However, because Arias´s last exhibition had been held in 2002, Sergio Parra put him in touch with Maria Elena Alcalde and Cynthia Francica, who decided to exhibit it at the MAVI.

The Chilean artist, who arrived in Mexico in 1988, presents through his work the exploration of hybrid spaces in aesthetic and racial terms that extend to sexuality, gender and (trans)nationality, depicting these dimensions through identity research and intermediate spaces. This show will be available to the Chilean public until October 27, offering all its visitors a history of modern and vanguard art represented in pieces with indigenous motifs and aesthetics, like the series Pahuatlán, as well as his work Jornadas begun in 1995 and which is 20 meters long.

UDLAP Faculty Member Represents Mexico in the Solarlits Editorial Council

Dr. Doris Abigal Chi Pool, professor of the Architecture Department at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, became a member of the Solarlits editorial council, an important international media that publishes vanguard research in solar energy and illumination. She is the only Mexican representative.

Dr. Chi has a doctorate in Architecture and specializes in studies of natural illumination and energy efficiency. She is the only Mexican in the select group of 36 members of this editorial council, a space made up of academics from Malaysia, Jordan, the United States, Indonesia, Serbia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, China, and others. The UDLAP faculty member will collaborate with the Journal of Daylighting magazine, which began its biannual publication in 2014.

“This magazine focuses on natural light, from an energy efficiency standpoint, on visual comfort, colorimetry, people’s health, and psychological aspects. It also includes topics on artificial light, illumination design, projects and the way to develop them, and on their psychological benefits for people. In the area of solar energy, there are studies of photovoltaic systems and electrical energy savings,” she stated.

She assumed her role as part of the council thanks to the articles she has published, which led to receiving an invitation from Solarlits’ chief editor: “I got an email asking if I wanted to be a member of the editorial committee, explaining the benefits and the responsibilities it implied, and what my participation in the magazine would be,” she added. As part of her activities, the UDLAP faculty member must review articles from researchers around the world. This “is carried out objectively: I make corrections and observations and the authors make the necessary adjustments to present the final project. It is a joint effort.” Finally, she explained that being in contact with vanguard topics on illumination, design, systems, and technology allows her to be aware of the latest developments, which undoubtedly benefits her teaching.

It is important to remember that topics regarding illumination are concentrated in a few research areas, and that thanks to the participation of professors as members of magazine boards – as Dr. Doris Chi in this one, indexed by Scopus, CrossRef, and the Directory of Open Access Journals – UDLAP’s faculty are positioned as authorities in internationally recognized research.

If you wish to learn more about the magazine, visit https://solarlits.com/

UDLAP Alumnus is Awarded a Scholarship to Study in the United Kingdom

Martín Quiroga Mora, a graduate from the Licenciatura in Architecture at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, given by the Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom to study a master’s program in England in the 2019-2020 school term.

“The Chevening Scholarship is one of the most prestigious in the world. The United Kingdom grants it to different countries with which it has diplomatic ties. Its objective is to back leading professionals and offer them an opportunity to develop strategies, ideas, and plans for collaboration between both countries – in this case with Mexico — as well as for their professional advancement,” stated Mr. Quiroga during an interview.

The 2011 Magna Cum Laude UDLAP graduate received this prestigious award along with 52 other young leaders from the country. The scholarship was established 36 years ago and has among its graduates several important world leaders. It is worth mentioning that, to be chosen, candidates must meet the basic requirements of the call and compete later with other candidates, which this year amounted to 1,500. Therefore, winning this scholarship was not easy, and it is due to the previous work done by Mr. Quiroga that he was selected among them.

Since graduating from the Licenciatura in Architecture, he has sought to collaborate in projects that would impact on his professional career: the Atoyac river walkway, the Forts Master Plan, the linear park and bike path of the Sabinal River, which obtained first place with his collaborator, architect Carlos Ruiz Tapia, in a contest organized by the Urban Development and Housing Department and the Department of Rescue of Public Spaces, in coordination with the Architecture Festival and MEXTRÓPOLI City, as well as the Forjadores Street project that goes from San Pedro Cholula to Puebla, to mention a few.

Without a doubt, Universidad de las Américas Puebla was his learning platform, thanks to the Architecture Department faculty, as he stated in an interview: “This allowed me to see at different scales, which of course is the topic I am taking to the United Kingdom.” Also, thanks to networking between students and professors at UDLAP, Martín could “develop different projects of architectural and social impact in the area.”

Finally, the UDLAP alumnus stated: “Obtaining this scholarship means an opportunity to find a strategy so that architecture can help develop the region and the city, since we know that a lot of problems of a social and economic nature have to do with how space is used. It is important to reach the point which, based on theory and experiment, we can develop architectures that not only permeate in space but also in public policy.”

UDLAP Professor Receives the Breakthrough Prize

  • She received the award as part of the team that obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.

Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza, faculty member of the Department of Actuarial Sciences, Physics, and Mathematics at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, is one of the scientists who received the Breakthrough Prize, which is known as the Oscar of Science. The UDLAP professor was part of a multi-institutional and multinational team that obtained the data to capture the shadow of a black hole. The discovery was announced on April 10, 2019 with an image achieved thanks to the participation of 347 scientists who applied a technique known as long-based interferometry, which combines signals from several telescopes to simulate a much larger one.

“As part of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) project, I was granted the Breakthrough Prize, which is given in three fundamental scientific categories: Fundamental Physics, Life Sciences, and Math. The EHT project won for the year 2020 in the Fundamental Physics category,” commented Dr. Zeballos who also said that the 3 million-dollar award is for the team collaborating in the project. “We are planning now what to do with this money, that the prize earned by the members of the Large Millimeter Telescope be utilized to promote science among young people who live in the communities around that telescope,” she said.

The Breakthrough Prize is one of the biggest scientific awards in the world, and is known as the “the Oscar of Science.” This award recognizes outstanding achievements in physics, math, and biological sciences and was established in 2012 through the Milner Initiative, backed by the president of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and one of the creators of Google, Serguéi Brin. “The Breakthrough Prize is awarded to outstanding research in fundamental physics; the idea behind it is to encourage research in basic science, considered as the way to advance science and technology for mankind,” Dr. Milagros Zeballos explained.

Finally, Dr. Zeballos Rebaza mentioned that winning this prize is a great satisfaction for her, “because it represents the work of a lot of people for a long time, since the EHT project has been trying for many years to capture the first image of a black hole.”

It is worth mentioning that every year the Prize has a topic. This year´s is “See the Invisible”, inspired by the collaboration of the EHT, which obtained the first image of a black hole, a great feat for the scientific world.

The participation of Dr. Milagros Zeballos Rebaza in the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) was focused on acquiring data to produce this image. The Prize will be received on November 3 by Shepherd Doyleman, event director of the EHT, in representation of the team members who obtained the data to visualize the shadow of a black hole.

UDLAP Student Was a Summer Intern at University of Arizona

César Leonardo García Contreras, seventh semester student of Biomedical Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was a summer intern at University of Arizona as part of his professional practices, collaborating in a project with Dr. Rebecca Vanderpool about the heart’s right ventricle, studying arterial pulmonary hypertension.

Committed to his future and looking to develop a biomedical engineering project that he was interested in, he met with Rebeca Vanderpool who has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, at University of Arizona. She is currently working on studying the heart’s right ventricle to analyze arterial pulmonary hypertension.

As part of the work team, Cesar’s activities were focused on quantifying the data that she had obtained in the application of a treatment for this ailment. “I analyzed data from patients before they received treatment and after 3 months of treatment to compare and evaluate if it had worked for this disease,” the UDLAP student commented during an interview.

During his summer stay, Cesar had the opportunity to work in Dr. Vanderpool’s lab and he lived the experience of interacting and learning in a completely different environment. “It is very hard work, fast but organized and intelligent. It was something that gave me much personal and professional growth. I learned a lot from everything I was working on, the programs I used, the papers I read, which I can apply in my last year at college and for after I graduate,” he explained.

Regarding his stay at University of Arizona, the student said that it was a very good experience because of the relationship that this place has with young students like him who carry out research and work in labs. On the other hand, he said: “This summer was very productive for me because the program also offers extras such as speaking in public and writing in English. This helped me to develop professionally in an international environment.”

When he was finishing his stay, César García participated in a congress with people from Saudi Arabia and several Mexican universities. “Each one presented what they had been working on, what we did, the results, hypotheses, among other things.  Besides this presentation, there was also a poster fair attended by about 250 students from different programs at the same university and others in the United States and abroad”, he said.

Finally, the seventh semester student expressed for the UDLAP community the importance of these stays. “You have to leave, learn new things, and face different situations. There are many options, but you have to look for them and take advantage of them.”

UDLAP Graduate Triumphs as Opera Singer in Switzerland

  • As part of the 2019-2020 tour, Leonardo Sánchez will debut in Spain and Italy, next to great voices such as Placido Domingo and Fabio Luisi

The young tenor Leonardo Sánchez Rosales, proud graduate from the Licenciatura in Music at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, continues his artistic career, this time abroad as part of the Zurich International Opera Studio, one of the most prestigious opera training centers in the world.

“I had the opportunity to be in six productions, three of them in premier. I participated in the opera Macbeth by G. Verdi, Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss, the musical Sweeney Todd, and the opera Lucia de Lammermoor where I had the great opportunity to work under Nello Santi, an incredible Italian maestro. In the end, I was also in the production of Le nozze di figaro and I starred in the opera Il barbiere di Siviglia in the yearly production by Zurich International Opera Studio,” added Leonardo during the interview.

In order to accomplish his dream, after finishing his academic training Leonardo applied to prestigious opera schools in Los Angeles, Paris, Vienna and Zurich. “I was anxious to continue my artistic career and continue training. There are places around the world where they prepare you and at the same time you work, a modality called Opera Studio, an educational workshop where they pay you for your work in theater as a professional, but you still have language, music, and some master classes. It is really just to perfect your opera skills,” he added.

Since all the Opera Studios he auditioned to accepted him, he had to make a crucial decision for his career and, “the advice of Mexican singers who have or had an international career, such as maestros Ramón Vargas, Javier Camarena, and Francisco Araiza, the recommendation was that the best place I could go to was the Swiss Opera,” he commented.

It is important to remember that Leonardo’s career started to take off while he was still a student in the UDLAP cultural representative teams. “I had the opportunity to belong to the Opera Studio of Bellas Artes and perform in their productions. I sang the opera La traviata in the Teatro del Bicentenario in León; the opera Don Giovanni with the Yucatan Symphonic Orchestra in the Peón Contreras theater; and La finta giardiniera with the Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra,” he recalled. In 2016 he obtained the Revelación Juvenil prize in the International Singing Contest of Sinaloa and first place in the Carlo Morelli National Contest, as well as the Young Revelation and special prize from the Bellas Artes Opera.

On the other hand, the Mexican tenor expressed his gratitude to Universidad de las Américas Puebla as he not only developed his artistic abilities there, but also his human side. “Take advantage of being in a university such as UDLAP; it is a place where you can obtain experiences, friends, and knowledge because it allows you to interact with foreign people who may open doors to a lot of possibilities. The recipe for success is to dedicate some time to your passion and some time to your training, which would normally go together, because when you do something that is your passion and you have discipline you will always have great results,” he commented.

Finally, regarding his artistic future, the tenor shared: “I will continue for one more year in the Switzerland Opera, and possibly stay in the solo ensemble full time. I am also very fortunate to announce that I will debut in Madrid and Sevilla in Spain and Padua, Italia, where I’ll be in three different operas: Farinelli by T. Bretón, and Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni by Mozart, in addition to all the operas that I have with the Zurich Opera. I will be sharing the stage with Plácido Domingo and with artists such as Fabio Luisi, and Bryn Terfel who are very important in the opera world”.

UDLAP Faculty Member is Named Editorial Committee Member of an Asian Architectural Magazine

Dr. Iván Oropeza Pérez, Research and Graduate Coordinator at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was named member of the editorial committee of Architecture and Design Review, a magazine based in Singapore. He is the only Latin-American member of this committee.

“Thanks to a direct proposal from the Architecture and Design Review magazine, I was invited to participate in the editorial committee, informing me of my obligations and rights. After some negotiation, we agreed that on August 2019 I would become a member of the editorial committee,” explained during an interview the UDLAP faculty member.

Architecture and Design Review is an open access magazine edited in English. It is about architecture, design, urban planning, urban design, and sustainable architecture. “It is published every three months, with at least one special issue per year about a specific topic,” commented Dr. Oropeza. He also highlighted that the magazine is based in Singapore wishing to be a space of international collaboration, with an editorial committee made up of people from Algeria, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, India, the United States, the UAE, and Spain.

The main responsibilities for the UDLAP faculty member are to maintain the quality of the magazine and to review all articles to guarantee their merit to be published. “There are magazines such as these everywhere in the world, but the idea is to be of good quality, be read more widely, and to maintain its impact, which in the end is the objective of science” he affirmed.

On the other hand, he commented: “I am committed to submit a work on my research topic by next year at the latest, and to participate actively in the international meetings that they have on different proposals to improve the quality of the magazine”.

Finally, regarding the benefits obtained for teaching, he expressed that professors must seek research that trickles down to the students, and that one of the reasons why universities like UDLAP remain in the vanguard and maintain their quality is that the knowledge offered to students is not only basic information but also new one; and in this case being part of the committee has advantages because it gives him access to everything that is new in real time and the experience acquired is very extensive.