Thursday, October 13, 2011

Agronomy Department Celebrates

Today the College's Agronomy Department celebrates 18 years of preparing young people to be agronomists--an amazing and inspiring achievement when you consider the College's humble beginnings and challenges that continue to face the small, but growing institution.

Eighteen years ago, there were just 54 students registered at the College, which was only able to give degrees at the technical level. Today, there are more than 750 students registered for classes and thesis work--the vast majority of them (241) study in the Agronomy Department and graduate with the equivalent of an undergraduate degree.

In the past three years, the College has started tracking graduates more closely--paying particular attention to their work and their post-graduate studies.  What we have discovered as we follow our graduates is that they are doing really different and amazing things!  Examples?  Here are just a few:

UAC-CP Agronomy graduate René Villca is the director of FUNDACOM.

Angel Rolando Endara received his PhD from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México in 2010. He writes: "My time at the UAC-CP was the most beautiful experience of my life. Carmen Pampa taught me to mature as a person and as a professional. I recovered important values at the UAC-CP--for example, the commitment of working for our people and the desire to work in the countryside and for the people of the countryside."

René Villca Huanaco, current master's degree candidate, is the director of FUNDACOM. FUNDACOM is an association of UAC-CP graduates who manage various projects within three municipalities.  Their work primarily consists of providing training for farmers in apiculture, building and selling apiculture materials, and processing honey which is then sold to the Bolivian government’s food subsidy program. He says, "If it wasn't for the UAC-CP, I wouldn't have been able to study at the college level. The UAC-CP provided me with the professional and practical training necessary to succeed."

Pamela Rocha Valdivia is currently working on her master's degree at the Universidad Privada Boliviana. Since graduating in 2008 she has worked as a consultant for such organizations as USAID, CARITAS, and the United Nations.  She says:  "I think the most important thing about the UAC-CP, even apart from living the mission and vision of the College, is putting into practice the life lessons that we take away from our education."

Danitza Ramos Pardo works for a micro-finance lending institution. Danizta writes: "Had I not studied at the College I wouldn't have had the opportunity to know other people, from other places in Bolivia, and I wouldn't have been able to have the opportunity to find work. I'm also grateful for having had the practical experience of working and studying in the rural area."

Aldo Estevez del Villar owns a consulting company and has been studying for a master's degree in conflict resolution and taking English classes.  He writes: "The UAC-CP is a home for many youth from the rural area who choose a major to study with the idea of using their education to help benefit the development of the communities from which they come from."
Today, as UAC-CP Agronomy students celebrate the anniversary of their academic department, may they be inspired by those who came before them and are now working and studying (throughout the world!)--inspired by the same mission and vision for improving the quality of life for people. 

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