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 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.

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering is Internationally Accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla has been accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry. We are the only institution in the world to have received this accreditation for a nanotechnology program, confirming the top-level education that we provide, graduating young professionals who are prepared to face all types of challenges.

“This accreditation is an international recognition for the Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering; it was awarded by the Royal Society of Chemistry for five years,” commented during an interview Dr. Eugenio Sánchez Arreola, Academic Director for the Department of Chemical Biological Sciences at UDLAP. He explained that such accreditation is granted to universities that have programs with relevant areas of chemistry at the licenciatura or master’s level. “Only two institutions in Mexico are accredited by the Royal Society of Chemistry; and UDLAP is the only one to receive this recognition for its nanotechnology program, which makes us the only program in the world to be accredited by this organization” added Dr. Sánchez.

For the Royal Society of Chemistry, one of the most important organizations in the field, to grant this award to Universidad de las Américas Puebla we had to meet high-quality standards in students, faculty, facilities, libraries, labs, information technology resources, and others. “We met the requirements by giving information regarding the study program, the way we teach classes and evaluate students, and the resources and infrastructure that we have,” explained the academic director.

Dr. Miguel Ángel Méndez Rojas, coordinator of the nanotechnology and molecular engineering program, and the person responsible for the accreditation process before the Royal Society of Chemistry, stated that the process was very rigorous and required the active work and collaboration of all members of the department for a period of six to eight months. Achieving this accreditation “is a recognition of the quality of the program, but mainly it allows us to access teaching and research resources through the Royal Society of Chemistry, which is one of the oldest and biggest scientific societies in the world. This accreditation will allow our students, after completing their licenciatura studies, to be accepted in the best graduate programs in the world.”

The Licenciatura in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering started in August 2006 and has 128 alumni in its nine generations, which makes it a pioneering program in Mexico and Latin America in this area. This accreditation reaffirms the university´s commitment to train young people who can propose innovative solutions to the needs of national and international industry and research centers.

UDLAP Faculty Members Participate in the Meeting of the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language (AMPAL)

Ulrike Sperr and Patricia Lanners Kaminski, professors of the Languages Department at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, participated int he 14th Meeting of the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language (AMPAL) at Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas (UNACH) in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, sharing their experience in teaching German.


In this edition, the Mexican Association of Professors of the German Language A.C., an NGO founded in 1992 to promote training and updating for German professors in Mexico, had as its main topic teaching German to children, young people, and adults in the digital era.  The UDLAP faculty members gave a lecture about the history of the Center for Language Learning (CAL), the use of apps, social networks, and websites for learning inside and outside the classroom.


“The lecture I gave with Patricia was on how German has been adapting to the new implications of the digital era.  I spoke about the history and purpose of the Center for Language Learning (CAL)” said professor Sperr who also remembered how CAL has evolved through the years in the way it teaches and works.


For her part, professor Lanners explained in this lecture the use of apps and how she has worked with them during her teaching career. “For example, we shared and showed our students how we use Blackboard, social networks and other apps, both inside the classroom and out.  Through social networks we see how to ask something or say something in specific dates, we talk about topics we saw in class and thus make them learn outside the classroom,” she added.


Professor Sperr, who has been a member of AMPAL for 18 years, and which she led for a time, also delivered a second lecture related to her research topics, but on this occasion it was about a case study on the difficulty of German for children who grow up bilingual in a Mexican environment.


Finally, professor Lanners expressed that these meetings are very important in the academic professional formation. “Academic meetings are really important. I usually go to several during the year, since it is a space to exchange ideas, learn new things or see if what you are doing is correct or not, and so you build a network with people who do the same thing that you do. That is priceless”.


UDLAP Faculty Member Takes Her Knowledge to Russia

  • She participated in the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar.

Dr. Adriana Palacios Rosas, a research faculty member of the Department of Chemical, Food, and Environmental Engineering at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was invited to participate in the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia.


“The meeting I attended was the Ninth Fire and Explosions Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia. I gave a lecture, which they deemed relevant, entitled Industrial Fires and Nuclear Reactors in which I explained how those two topics are related,” the UDLAP faculty member commented during an interview.


Delving into this topic, Dr. Palacios Rosas explained that this is a preventive measure to avoid accidents at nuclear plants. “What happens in reactors is that when they begin to have problems, they generate large quantities of hydrogen within the reactor, causing the tanks that contain it to be unable to hold it and exploding, thus producing accidents as fires or dispersion of radioactive materials into the atmosphere. Taking this into account, this project suggests ventilating the hydrogen tanks in a controlled manner using torches and thus keeping the tanks from becoming saturated with gas and exploding.”


She stressed that this prevention measure has not been used.  “It is still being studied. We joined what we know about fires with what we know about nuclear reactors. We took advantage of this seminar to present the project; there were different comments, especially that this course of action would be very costly because before ventilating the tanks, the hydrogen would have to go through membranes to remove radioactive products, which is expensive,” she stated.


Finally, Dr. Palacios Rosas said that this seminar is held every three years.  “I received the invitation because I belong to the Combustion Institute, which is an international organization. To attend this meeting, I had to send my proposed topic a year ago. They accepted the project and I had to send a detailed article, which was reviewed and finally selected.”

UDLAP Faculty Participates in the National Journalism Research Network Worlds of Journalism Study III in Mexico

Three Universidad de las Américas Puebla academics and researchers participate in the National Journalism Research Network Worlds of Journalism Study III in Mexico.


Dr. Judith Cruz Sandoval, academic director of the Communication Sciences Department, Dr. Julieta Brambila, faculty member of the Department of Communication Sciences, and Dr. Hilda Fernández de Ortega Bárcenas, faculty member of the Psychology Department, are some of the researchers from 11 Mexican and American academic institutions that made up the National Journalism Research Network to carry out the Worlds of Journalism III – Mexico (2020-2022), a project that will generate, with a rigorous methodology, data of the reality of journalism in the country to compare it at a global scale.


The previous phase of this project (2012-2015) managed to gather information on 66 countries with over 22,000 interviews worldwide, including Mexico. Its main objective is to help researchers, journalists, ONGs, and politicians to better understand world visions and the changes happening in professional journalism, including the conditions and limitations under which they work as well as journalism social functions in a changing world. In the third phase the topics will be journalists´ security and resilience.


It is important to mention that the researchers who make up this National Network assume the commitment to apply the corresponding surveys in each region, as well as to integrate and systemize them in the database for this process.

Their work began on March 28 and 29 in the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), where they agreed on operations, methodologies, and sample sizes.

Other network members include Dr. Sallie Hughes, from Instituto para los Estudios Avanzados sobre las Américas (UMIA) and the Department of Journalism and Media Management at Miami University; Dr. Sergio Rodríguez-Blanco, from the Communications Department at Universidad Iberoamericana; Dr. Grisel Salazar Rebolledo from the Journalism Program at CIDE; Eva Alejandra Ávila Beltrán from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California; Dr. Celia del Palacio Montiel from the Center of Culture and Communication Studies at Universidad Veracruzana; Dr. Martín Echeverría Victoria and Dr. Rubén Arnoldo González Macías from the Institute of Government and Strategic Development at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla; Dr. Armando Gutiérrez Ortega, of the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Binational Association of Communication Schools; Dr. José Carlos Lozano from Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey / Texas A&M International University; Dr. Jessica Retis, from California-Northridge State University, Binational Association of Communication Schools; and Dr. Frida V. Rodelo from the Department of Social Communications at Universidad de Guadalajara.

UDLAP Faculty Win First Place in their Category at the 2017 EFMD Case Writing Competition

They presented the work Kaizen in Public Service.  A case study in a Mexican public environmental organization.

Dr. Manuel Francisco Suárez Barraza, Dr. Francisco Rodríguez González, and Dr. Manuela Gutiérrez Leefman, Universidad de las Américas Puebla faculty members, were awarded first place in the category Continuous Improvement: the road to excellencein the EFMD 2017 Case Writing Competition, convened by the European Foundation for Management Development.

In an interview, Dr. Manuel Francisco Suárez Barraza, Academic Director of the UDLAP International Business Department, explained that they participated in this contest with the work titled Kaizen in Public Service.  A case study in a Mexican public environmental organization, “which was applied in a state secretary focused on the environment to improve processes and reduce internal red tape, obtaining good results and interesting achievements such as decreases in waiting times and in unnecessary activities in internal processes”, explained the UDLAP professor-researcher, who also highlighted the novelty of his project which applies continuous improvement techniques in the public sector, being also an educational case based on the philosophy of learning by doing. “Taking into account the aforementioned, I thank Dr. Gutiérrez Leefman and Dr. Rodríguez González, who participated in this project by writing the paper, making it understandable, and collecting teaching notes, as we also included how students can learn from this case”, stated the UDLAP International Business Department Director.

Regarding the contest, Dr. Suárez Barraza commented that it was divided into two categories, and they competed in the Continuous Improvement: The Road to Excellence, which is sponsored by the Saint Thelmo International Institute. “We shared the award with another professor from Pacific University in Stockton, USA;  that is, two cases won in this category”, he said.

Finally, he stated that winning this award is amazing, and they feel truly honored “especially because we were the only Latin Americans participating in this category and we won. We know that most participants were Americans, Africans, and Indians”.

It is important to mention that in the last thirty years EFMD has organized a yearly case writing contest with a wide selection of categories focused on specific world regions and topics. The objective of the EFMC competition is to encourage data collection and support writing about innovative cases.  Two evaluation criteria are the topic´s relevance and the ability to design a strong and interesting learning experience.

UDLAP Faculty Participates in Financial Risk Congress in Colombia

  • The International Congress on Financial Risk in Medellín, Colombia, gathers researchers, academics, professionals, and businesspeople from all over the world.
  • The research paper presented by UDLAP faculty was on financial risk of weather disasters.

Dr. Nora Gavira Durón, professor of the Licenciatura in Bank and Investments and Dr. Einar G. Moreno Quezada, academic director of the Department of Finance and Accounting at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, participated in the 2018 International Congress of Financial Risk in Medellín, Colombia.

The UDLAP professors presented in this congress – which is a platform for researchers, academics, professionals, and businesspeople for the exchange of ideas, research results, and new developments in the field of financial risk – the paper Economic Hedge Against Weather Disasters Through Archimedean Copulas in Veracruz, México. “This research focuses on the extent and seriousness of natural disasters, especially flooding, in that specific Mexican location,” said Dr. Gavira.

“An important feature of this congress is the ample use of mathematical tools; everything must be based on robust mathematical models, not descriptive statistics.  In that sense we worked with new distribution proposals, model validity, and a lot of technical issues to get on that stage”, expressed Dr. Moreno.

Due to the quality of work required in the International Congress of Financial Risk, Dr. Moreno and Dr. Gavira shared the stage with speakers like Dr. Vasicek, one of the most recognized gurus in the financial world regarding rate models. “Sharing the forum with such speakers is very satisfying”, said Dr. Moreno.

The research presented in the congress, held in May, is a working paper that represents the hard work carried out by faculty and researchers, and the start of a great project.  Regarding this, Dr. Moreno said: “This will allow us to forecast with a minimum margin of error and help in budgeting enough funds to face disasters. Every place is identifying the weather conditions that will cause either drought or flooding”.

Regarding the importance of this research at a national level, Dr. Gavira expressed: “The water problem is big in Mexico and the world, and natural disasters due to excess or lack of water cost money. Our country has to finance the repair of natural disaster damages through FONDEN, which allocates a certain amount of money for each entity.  Thus, we want to determine if the money that FONDEN has for certain areas is enough, or how much must have accumulated in the event of a natural disaster, so people can benefit from these funds to rebuild and restore economic activity, minimizing future losses.”

UDLAP professors, through these participations, have a presence at international events, making Mexico, represented by the university, a reference point in financial cutting-edge technology in Latin America, “Not regarding the past, but regarding the evolution of new stochastic models for current financial modeling” specified Dr. Moreno Quezada.

Finally, Dr. Moreno added that “An important challenge is continuity; like Dr. Gavira said, we are working on this, but every day the public demands more, and a new university policy regarding publications asks that we work on submitting quality papers that can be published in world-class indexed journals.”

UDLAP Will Host the ANUIES-TIC 2018 Meeting

“Mexico is one of the top 10 countries in the world with the most cyber security problems”, stated Hugo López Álvarez, director of Web Development and Social Media at UDLAP. This topic, along with others, will be discussed in the ANUIES-TIC 2018 Meeting on October 3-5 at Universidad de las Américas Puebla.  This is a meeting for of higher learning institution information technology coordinators and managers, and those experts and individuals who are interested in attending.

During three days, the technology experts of the 191 institutions that make up the National Association of Universities and Institutions of Higher Education (Asociación Nacional de Universidades e Instituciones de Educación Superior – ANUIES) will be able to interact, “sharing experiences, successes and failures, so the higher education institutions can advance quicker’” in topics related to information security and technology studies, stated Raúl González López, UDLAP Operations Director.  He is the person in charge of presenting the third edition of this meeting, which will offer workshops, lectures, and meetings with experts.

To delve into the dynamics that will be a part of the meeting, José Luis Ponce López, ANUIES Director of Information Technologies and Communications, explained that there will be panels with experts, 12 workshops, and two collaborative work meetings on cybersecurity and technology change management. Technology suppliers, who want to form alliances with universities and support their development, will be at a showroom in the premises. “The event is a meeting point where we can know the aspects of our needs and problems so we can have common opportunities to solve them”, said Mr. Ponce López

Likewise, he explained that the main theme of the event will be the collaboration strategies of the ICTs in higher education institutions, from the perspective of IT governance, information security, and IT acquisitions in universities. For this reason, it is an excellent opportunity to share ideas and devise joint solutions, through conferences to discuss the 4.0 industry, projects, and much more with people from the Mexican Space Agency, the Conference of Spanish University Presidents (Conferencia de Rectores de Universidades de España – CRUE), UNAM, and the Cyber Police.

Mr. Hugo López indicated that the ANUIES-TIC 2018 Meeting will be broadcast through the Universidad de las Américas Puebla webpage on October 3, 4 and 5.  He sent an invitation to the general public to “enjoy all the lectures since this is a topic not only for experts, but for owners of a mobile phone, since everybody is vulnerable to hacking.”

UDLAP Celebrates its 74th Graduation Ceremony

With seven thousand attendees, Universidad de las Américas Puebla held its 74th Graduation Ceremony, in which 1,496 proud graduates received their licenciatura and graduate diplomas, recognizing that they successfully finished their studies in one of the five academic schools that are part of UDLAP.

In the company of their friends and family, the 2018 graduates heard the president, Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez Bautista, congratulate and thank them for the trust placed in the university to prepare them for their professional careers. “Welcome to the seventy-fourth Graduation Ceremony at Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Like every year, I start this message congratulating the families who are with us: this is a day of great joy for all of you, a day in which we jointly celebrate the graduates for obtaining their academic degrees and to whom I wish that this day may be the beginning of a road full of success and satisfaction”.  Dr. Derbez added that this ceremony symbolizes the end of the transformation of each graduate into prepared citizens to carry Mexico and the world towards a better future.

He finished his statement emphasizing that today it is necessary for citizens to understand that they must defend principles such as the balance between the branches of government, the separation of powers, and equality before the law as indispensable values, if we want to guarantee that Mexico has  equilibrium between liberty and equality for all people. “I have no doubt that you will successfully respond to this challenge and that, as of today, your everyday activities will shape a Mexico that will not only be a successful country, but also one in which plurality, tolerance, transparency, social justice, and democracy will prevail. I wish you a long and prosperous life and may happiness accompany you always”, affirmed UDLAP’s president.

Eduardo Ruiz-Healy, proud alumnus of Universidad de las Américas Puebla, delivered the commencement address to the UDLAP class of 2018,  and encouraged the graduates to trust their instincts to achieve success. “If there is one defect of formal education it’s that it kills the instincts. Trust your instincts and become fully aware that you will not take anything with you.  That day you will no longer be afraid of losing it all”, stated Ruiz-Healy.  He finished his speech with a list of recommendations: “Do whatever you enjoy and makes you passionate; learn to look for jobs – there are no unworthy or boring jobs; do not work for money, work for pleasure; enjoy what you have, set achievable objectives, fight against your demons and addictions, accept your failures and tragedies, be humble and seek love so you can love and be loved”.

During the 74th Graduation Ceremony, Universidad de las Américas Puebla recognized the academic merit and outstanding achievements of its graduates.  Cum Laude awards were bestowed on students who have a GPA above 9.7, Summa Cum Laude for graduates with a GPA of 9.9 or above, and the Medal for the Highest GPA for students from undergraduate schools and graduate studies who obtained the best GPA of their class. This honor was given to Eduardo Camarillo Abad from the School of Science, Adolfo Sánchez Monterrosas from the School of Business and Economics, Graciela Isabel Huerta Bedolla from the School of Social Sciences, Jessica Tecpanecatl Durán from the School of Engineering, Alejandro Iván Flores Chávez from the School of Arts and Humanities, and María Teresa Graciana Aguilar Nava from the Master in Organizational Psychology.

The most emotional moment of the ceremony came when balloons and confetti flooded the stage and stands, which was followed by hugs, photographs, and finally the meeting of graduates with their families.

It is worth mentioning that Universidad de las Américas Puebla graduated the Class of 2018 convinced that it is made up of well-educated citizens who are committed to society and able to work for a better Mexico and world.  This is the result of their potential and UDLAP´s academic excellence, as well as the projection and leadership that its students and alumni achieve.