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 Graduate Obtains the Charles Darwin Award in Psychology

Havana, Cuba. Angélica Castro Méndez, a recent graduate from Universidad de las Américas Puebla, presented her thesis on metabolic syndrome before the experimental psychology group of the Inter American Society of Psychology (ISP), earning the Charles Darwin Award for young researchers in experimental and compared psychology.

A few months ago, the UDLAP graduate went to San Diego, California to present the first advances of her thesis, about morphological changes in different parts of the brain due to metabolic syndrome in animals, before the world’s most important congress on neuroscience. Then she attended the XXVII Interamerican Society of Psychology congress to present the second part of her project, which will be transcendental due to the results.

“We analyzed the CA1 hippocampus, dentate gyrus and prefrontal cortex layer 3 for their implication in memory, attention, and decision-making. We found that there is a decrease in arborization of the dendritic length when comparing obese and healthy [animal models],” explained Angélica Castro, who added that samples were taken of three strains: one diabetic and obese, the other with predisposition to both syndromes, and one that was relatively healthy.

With this project, the UDLAP Honor’s Program graduate earned the Charles Darwin Award by demonstrating that there is cognitive damage in memory, attention, and decision-making deficiency in living beings who are obese, an important result for the world. “I am very happy, satisfied and proud, as well as thankful to all the people who have been involved and have supported my project”, expressed the former UDLAP Clinical Psychology student.

This award was given during the XXVII ISP Congress, where Castro Méndez gave a ten-minute presentation before a jury of international members who gave their verdict due to the validity and importance that it has for the psychology field. Besides the award, this encounter with colleagues allowed her to meet people from all over the world and propose different projects. “Among the people I met were several doctors and post-docs. For example, I met a student of neuropsychology from Brazil and several presenters from Chile. This created an environment of collaboration that may lead to a stay in their labs or to carry out joint research”, she said.

It is important to mention that this work is a team effort with noted researchers like Dr. Rubén Vásquez-Roque and Dr. Julio César Penagos Corzo, both UDLAP faculty. This is the second occasion that a graduate from Universidad de las Américas Puebla receives the Charles Darwin prize for young researchers. In 2017 Sofía Navarro Báez achieved it in the pre-graduate category for her work Mindfulness Effects in Amplitude and Latency of P1 During Affective Priming Tasks.

UDLAP Graduate Invited to Correspondents’ Dinner at the White House

Javier Vega Urreta has 12 years of journalistic experience as a reporter, correspondent, and news presenter in local, national, and international media.


As a Washington correspondent for Noticias Telemundo, Javier Vega Urreta, graduate from the Licenciatura in Communication Science at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was invited to the Correspondents´ Dinner at the White House.

“This event, organized by the White House Correspondents’ Association, is very important because it is a scholarship fundraiser for gifted students in college journalism programs”, commented Javier Vega, who also said that this event is an opportunity to defend freedom of speech in an environment that is increasingly antagonistic to reporters.

With twelve years of journalistic experience, Javier Vega Urreta has been a reporter, correspondent, and broadcaster in local, national, and international media including MILENIO, Televisa, and TeleSUR.  He is currently the DC correspondent for Telemundo, a job position that opened the door to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. “I always wanted to attend this event, but I saw it as a distant possibility. When I started as a student reporter at La Catarina, during my first year in college, if someone had said that I would end up as a White House corresondent, I simply would not have believed it”, expressed the UDLAP alumnus.

Regarding his experience as the Washington DC correspondent for Telemundo, Javier Vega Urreta commented that he has been in that position for almost a year and that these have been intense months of reporting: “I have broadcast news such as the death of George Bush Sr., and high political impact news such as the nomination of judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and the Muller report on Russian interference. I also covered the shooting at the Pittsburgh synagogue, hurricaine Florence in North Carolina, and the trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán in New York”.

Finally, when asked about his experience in national and international media, the UDLAP graduate said that the essence of journalism does not change with geography. “The elements that make good journalism are the same in different countries. For me, really, the difference has been in reporting in an English speaking environment and adapting to a political system that is different from the Mexican one.  Besides that, what I see is that American media has an abundance of resources so that we reporters can tell better stories.  Journalists are meticulous in planning and data reporting, whether in daily stories or in research”.

Javier Vega Urreta is a talented young man who stands out for his continuous studies. After finishing his studies at UDLAP, he obtained graduate certificates in Journalism at Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Universidad de Guadalajara and Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). “Talent, vocation, and enjoying your job must go hand in hand, ideally. I can only suggest to students that which has worked for me: passion to achieve a goal, dedication, and attention to detail.  This is the correct attitude that, added to continuous experience, allows you to be successful. This does not mean that the road won’t have pitfalls. This is a resistance race… and you have to get up if you fall”, emphasized the UDLAP graduate.

UDLAP Alumnus Obtains Honorary Mention in the Alfonso Caso Award Granted by INAH

  • The doctoral thesis of Carlos Andrés Salgado Ceballos, from Colima state, is linked to the work he did to obtain his UDLAP licenciatura diploma.

Carlos Andrés Salgado Ceballos, a UDLAP graduate from the Licenciatura in Anthropology with specialty in archeology, obtained an honorary mention in the Doctoral Thesis category for the 2018 Alfonso Caso Award, granted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH – Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia).

“The INAH awards are granted yearly since the 80s and are given in all the anthropology and history categories for specialists who work and study in Mexico, or Mexicans working abroad.  Two theses received honorary mentions, considered to have earned this distinction. In my case, I obtained an honorary mention in the best doctoral thesis category,” stated in an interview the UDLAP alumnus.

For Carlos Salgado, obtaining this award meant a recognition from his colleagues in Mexico, “… I have been in England for 8 years, and it was important that my colleagues knew and valued my work, and thus I was very glad to be considered for this honorary mention”, he explained.

His thesis, written while in England at the University of Exeter, “Intraregional and Dynamic Strategies, deals with the production of Colima ceramics between 550 and 1000”.  “It is curious because it is linked to my licenciatura thesis.  I started my doctoral studies in 2012 and finished in 2017, but I have been working on this topic for about 20 years, as I am from Colima and I am a specialist in this area”.

His work is the archeo-metrical study of ceramic produced in Colima. “I tried to discover the political strategies behind this production, and see the different areas in Colima that interacted among themselves.  I studied Colima because, traditionally, its archeology had been studied from its relations outside the State. This is the first time that a thesis sees Colima by itself as a unit” he added.

On the other hand, the UDLAP graduate, who has been studying abroad for many years, commented: “I would strongly recommend going abroad to see how things are done, learning, perhaps, what we are not doing here.  What I liked was to see that Mexican researchers have the ability for this type of first-level research”.

Regarding his interest in archeology, the UDLAP graduate stated that it is a life-long interest, since his love of history is a part of him. “I believe that archeology is an endurance race, as things get done slowly. It is a career that requires financial backing to carry out projects, and thus it takes a long time to do, to wait for an answer and hope that it is positive.  You have to be patient”.

Finally, he said “I appreciate my UDLAP´s professors because they were very good.  If I had to summarize three things that they taught me, they would be scientific rigor while doing research, intellectual honesty that you must have during your research and, above all, to question the status quo”.

UDLAP Graduate is a Telemundo Reporter in Washington

  • Before his selection as reporter in the United States, the UDLAP graduate Javier Vega collaborated with different networks in Mexico and Venezuela.

Javier Vega Urreta, UDLAP´s graduate of the Licenciatura in Communications who for the past ten years has been a journalist, was selected by NBC Universal as a reporter for Telemundo in Washington D.C.

“I am very honored to be offered the position of NBC´s news correspondent in Washington DC.  As we know, it is the political capital of the world and at this moment a central place to cover the news for agencies in the hemisphere. To be able to experience it firsthand and in the front row, as we journalists say, is something that motivates me, challenges me, and definitely will mark me,” commented the UDLAP graduate.

Javier Vega Urreta always had the personal aspiration to work in the US Hispanic media since, as he commented in the interview, its relevance in carrying out quality journalism consists in “giving the news in your language to a population group that is increasingly important.” He added that, regarding this new phase, it is a monumental challenge in his career as a journalist.

“This means starting from zero in a city that is very diverse and competitive. My challenge is also to establish relationships and links with information sources in English. I am interested in giving the immigrant public in the United States quality information that is well-researched and with context, especially in the complicated times and political circumstances they are experiencing.  I think they deserve quality information.  I hope to provide the best service as a journalist in Washington” he said.

This will not be the first time that the UDLAP graduate collaborates with news media outside of Mexico.  He had the opportunity to work with TeleSur in Caracas, Venezuela, as an editor of the “Impacto Económico” news segment, as host of the weekly interview show “Cruce de Palabras”, and as main anchor of the morning show “El Mundo Hoy”.

“It is very interesting to venture to work outside your country, as it implies a lot of complications – leaving behind certain conveniences, your comfort zone, your family and your friends.  But when you are a young professional, it is important to accept these opportunities and widen your perspective of the world”, he commented.

In his first job outside of Mexico, in Venezuela, he covered the last years of Hugo Chávez’s presidency, his last election against Capriles, as well as the historic news of his illness and death.  At the same time, as a TeleSur newscaster, he also covered the resignation of Benedict XVI. “These news stories define you,” he mentioned.

However, the journalistic career of Javier Vega started at UDLAP, since from day one of his licenciatura studies he practiced journalism, both in the social communications area where he was an intern and collaborating with the university newspaper La Catarina, which he considers was a great school for developing talent.

“At UDLAP is where I was truly endowed with values, ethics, and idealism, which I believe one must have to be a good journalist and to be at the level of what is required by society today. We need to improve our country and the conditions of hundreds of thousands of people, but that requires an ever more professional journalism” he expressed.

“I would like to continue working in international media, continue growing in Telemundo, which is a great company that fosters talent, its journalists.  The number one objective at this time is to make my employer happy with my work and that the audience feels connected.  I think that everything I have done has contributed to placing me in the right place and, just as I was in Venezuela during the Chavez era, I am now in Washington during the Trump era. That, without a doubt, will be fundamental for whatever the future holds” he finished.

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.