Monday, August 9, 2010

veronica goes to brookings

Today is a big day for UAC-CP Agronomy graduate Veronica Calles. Tonight, she boards a plane bound for the United States where she will make her way to Brookings, S.D., to enroll as a full-time graduate student in Plant Sciences and Entomology at South Dakota State University (SDSU).

In the past two years, I have written a couple times about Veronica -- a beautiful, intelligent and responsible young indigenous woman who is from the small farming community of Santa Ana (a 30-minute walk from Coroico).

Veronica and her father, Francisco, a couple hours after Veronica's thesis defense at the College in April.

I blogged about Veronica and her incredible life story in March 2009 (click here to read) and I later wrote about a visit to Veronica's home and my experience staying with her family in June 2009 (click here to read). And today I'm thrilled to write about her again to share the most recent and exciting update on Veronica's life.

A year ago, Veronica was given a scholarship from the U.S. State Department to study English at the Centro Boliviano Americano (CBA) -- the premiere English institute in La Paz. While taking English classes daily and living with her sister in La Paz, Veronica was able to finish writing her thesis. In April, she successfully defended her thesis and graduated from the UAC-CP. And a couple months later was informed of her invitation to study at SDSU -- all of which will be funded through a research assistantship.

Veronica is an amazing example of the transformative power of education. She has demonstrated to herself and to others that, given the opportunity, young men and women from Bolivia's rural area can transform their lives through education. And we expect that Veronica's experience and knowledge gained through her master's degree program will help her transform the lives of her people living in Bolivia's rural sector.

We are all very proud of Veronica and wish her the best of luck as she embarks on this life-changing adventure!

Special thanks to Dr. Diane Rickerl and Dr. Paul Johnson, regular and long-time collaborators with the UAC-CP, and other faculty and staff at SDSU for making this opportunity available to Veronica.

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