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 Was Host for Several International Institutions

Universidad de las Américas Puebla, in its continuous outreach to international academic institutions, served as host for the IPBS (International Partnership of Business Schools) meeting, where several points regarding dual programs were discussed to create new alliances and encourage mobility among students and professors.

 

Dr. Cecilia Anaya Berríos, Academic Vice President, welcomed the delegates of the association and wished them a happy stay and a productive meeting in which they reach agreements. “It is also very important that you get to know more about Mexico, and that you get closer to the students who come to visit you”, she stated.

 

Dr. Ingrid Kirschning Albers, Global Education Dean, explained in an interview that the IPBS meets twice a year to discuss new alliances, review the status of current dual programs, solve any problems, and continue reinforcing relationships between its members: Reutlingen University, Northeastern University, Reims University, Dublin City University, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, and Universidad de las Américas Puebla.

This was the spring meeting, and its focus was on new dual licenciatura and graduate programs as well as the acceptance of Brock University as a new member. For this purpose, they divided into two work committees and reviewed, during two days, the strategies for students to have an international exposure in business, providing them with a strong international projection for the member universities, and promoting mobility not only of students but also of faculty. “Our final objective is for students to be global citizens and acquire business competencies in international business and administration”, stated Ingrid Kirschning.

 

The IPBS is a group of higher education institutions that trust each other´s quality, exchange experiences, and support each other to continuously accredit themselves. Universidad de las Américas Puebla is the only Mexican university in this group, with an average of 30 to 40 students in dual programs, according to the UDLAP´s dean.

 

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 and a US University Will Combine Actions for an Academic Exchange

Universidad de las Américas Puebla and Virginia Commonwealth University will develop an exchange program for Physics students from both institutions, focused on language training and support for local communities, thanks to funding received from the US Department of State through the education initiative 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.

In the global context, universities continuously seek to establish student exchange programs abroad, not only for academic reasons but also for social ones, to train young people committed to their profession and their community. The US government has several initiatives to support mobility programs for students and faculty from other countries.  One of these actions is the 100,000 Strong in the Americas program, an innovation fund that encourages American institutions to associate with Latin American universities to create bilateral training opportunities.

The idea is to grant scholarships to university teams who, through a contest, propose a project for their students to develop technical skills in diverse disciplines through joint labor. “The plan is to create synergy in academic, research, and work exchanges.  In our case, the project is to take science workshops to Telesecundarias (distance-learning junior high schools) in Mexico, and to underprivileged communities in the US”, explained Dr. Melina Gómez Bock, a faculty member of the Actuarial Sciences, Physics, and Math Department at UDLAP and leader of the presentation process.

Virginia Commonwealth University found this project attractive and, for several months now, both universities have been working closely to develop a project. It was presented and accepted, earning a grant that will support with paid expenses American and Mexican students for activities related to the development of teaching and outreach strategies in science. “We hope that they will participate in the summer of next year. We will send students from Universidad de las Américas Puebla’s Physics Department and receive students from Virginia Commonwealth University at the same time”, stated Erika Barba Salce, head of the UDLAP International Programs Department.

With the experience that they gain, it is expected that they will work with other academic departments from Universidad de las Américas Puebla, so that the doors will open not only for students from Virginia but from other places in the United States, since the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund has different calls throughout the year for different knowledge areas in which UDLAP wishes to participate. “For UDLAP, these achievements are always important because they are the result of a collaboration from different areas of the institution, and they highlight the recognition and support of international organizations towards our institution.  From now on, the work is for the Department of Actuarial Sciences, Physics, and Mathematics and the International Affairs Department, who have to carry out what was proposed in the call”, added Dr. Sergio Picazo Vela, Dean of Research and Graduate Studies.

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 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.”

The Royal Society of Biology accredits UDLAP’s Licenciatura in Biology

  • Universidad de las Américas Puebla is the only university outside the United Kingdom to have a licenciatura with an advanced accreditation.

The Licenciatura in Biology at Universidad de las Américas Puebla obtained the Advanced International Accreditation granted by the Royal Society of Biology, a leading professional organization in Biological Sciences in the United Kingdom, which grants this accreditation to educational institutions that make an outstanding contribution to the advancement of biological sciences.

“This is a five-year accreditation granted to UDLAP’s Licenciatura in Biology through the Honors Program of the Royal Society of Biology of the United Kingdom”, commented in an interview Dr. Martín Alejandro Serrano Meneses, faculty member of the Department of Chemistry and Biology at UDLAP and the person in charge of the accreditation process. He explained that this accreditation was obtained through the honors program, as one of the criteria to earn it is that students have experience in research. “…the students who have done research are part of the Biology Honors Program”, stated the UDLAP professor.

He pointed out that Universidad de las Américas Puebla is the only university outside the United Kingdom to have a licenciatura program with an advanced accreditation. “There is no licenciatura program in the world outside of the United Kingdom to have earned an advanced accreditation, since one must remember that the Royal Society of Biology has two types of accreditations, one that is normal and an advanced one. In our case, we received the advanced accreditation because we met all the academic and quality research standards required by the Royal Society of Biology”, stated Dr. Martín Alejandro Serrano.

For his part, Dr. Eugenio Sánchez Arreola, academic director of the Department of Chemical Biological Sciences at UDLAP, explained that in order to receive this accreditation the university had to meet criteria which included conducting research and offering a quality study program; integration between teaching and research; proven practical experience in the lab and in the field; knowledge and understanding of research methodology; appropriate and clear evaluation criteria within the program; active and ample research; a faculty with renowned researchers recognized in the nation and abroad; ongoing research projects in labs; recorded achievements of the students at the end of their learning practices. “To grant this accreditation, the study programs and facilities were reviewed, including the library, labs, syllabus of each course, manuals, facilities, and quality of the faculty”, commented Dr. Eugenio Sánchez.

By achieving this type of accreditation, both the university and its students and graduates acquire benefits in two areas.  An international accreditation for UDLAP and international accreditation for its students and graduates.  In the former, the most prestigious is the accreditation that was given to the university, with an international branding of “good practices”, which allows it to be compared with other top-quality universities and guarantees employers that its graduates have adequate skills and knowledge. In the latter, students and graduates have greater perspectives to be employed and are more competitive in the global work market.  In addition, graduates receive a free subscription to the Royal Society for a year after graduation, which will expose them to an important network of biosciences professionals and will keep them updated in topics related to biology. “This accreditation will bring great benefits to UDLAP, because it means that we meet international criteria and have outstanding quality students”, said the academic director of the Department of Chemical Biological Sciences at UDLAP.

It is important to note that the Licenciatura in Biology at Universidad de las Américas Puebla has been taught for over 20 years, and that it was one of the first programs offered at the School of Science.  This licenciatura has other great accomplishments, such as the fact that its graduates have earned graduate degrees at leading universities abroad.

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 Students Get Certification as High Efficiency Asphaltic Mix Designers

José Antonio Romero Gil and Andrea de Ita Quiroz, both Civil Engineering students at Universidad de las Americas Puebla, obtained their certification as Designers of High Efficiency Asphalt Mix Level I and II, granted by the Mexican Asphalt Association, AC (AMAAC).

“This is a professional certification by AMAAC, which calls on students and people interested in participating in roadworks and highway infrastructure design”, explained Andrea de Ita, who also commented that they participated at the invitation of Dr. Rosemberg Reyes Ramírez, professor of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UDLAP: “He told us about it and helped us prepare for the certification.”

José Antonio Romero commented that attendance at the certification was numerous, and  that they “were excited to participate with many students, asphalt lab personnel, and design companies.  The result we obtained was favorable.”

About the certification process, the UDLAP students explained that they took a preparation course followed by an exam, through which they obtained the certification: “In the exam they asked about all the tests and specifications that must be carried out.  Also, all participants had to propose an asphalt design of a resistant asphaltic mix based on the characteristics of an area.”

 

Finally, the students who were certified by the Mexican Asphalt Association agreed that they feel satisfied with this achievement: “We were very sure when we took the exam, since UDLAP has very good labs where we learn the basics about manufacturing asphalt.  Also, the topics studied in the Pavements course are very similar to those of the certification”, expressed Andrea de Ita.

It is important to mention that this two-year certificate represents a competitive advantage for them, since it certifies that they understand the topic and can be responsible for this type of work. “This certification guarantees that you are trained to create high performance asphalt and that you know the techniques and guidelines to make good-performance and top-quality designs”, stressed José Antonio Romero Gil.