Colombia Purdue Initiative — CPI

Colombian Students at Purdue Network with Colombian Researchers in the US


The Colombian Student Association at Purdue (CSAP) organized its 2nd Academic Event, “Latino Research Experiences: Talento Local y de Exportación”, which was held on Saturday, October 22, 2016. Student-organized and free of charge for attendees, this event provides a forum to discuss interdisciplinary issues with a particular focus on featuring research that Colombians are conducting in the United States and stimulating discussion on research topics related to Colombia. It also provides a venue for Purdue University graduate and undergraduate students to present their research and to network with experts in a variety of research fields.

The inaugural event in 2015 was viewed as a success with more than 70 participants and a keynote talk given by Dr. Cesar Ocampo, from the University of Texas, Austin, who led the effort to launch the first Colombian satellite into space. 

With 68 attendees, this year featured several dynamic, innovative speakers who shared their experiences with the Purdue community and served on a discussion panel that allowed a more interactive opportunity to explore their topics and their careers as researchers.  A poster session allowed attending students to communicate their own research and network with the speakers and other event participants. The event also included a photo exhibit and competition.  The Best Photo Award was determined by popular vote and given to "Desayuno" by Santiago Catano, "Naive" by Rodrigo Rodríguez Fuentes and "Tokay Gecko" by Andrés Tibabuzo.

Prof. Ana María Rey, delivered the keynote entitled “Building with crystals of light and quantum matter: from clocks to computers.” Prof. Rey is a Colombian theoretical physicist, distinguished researcher at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics and the Department of Physics, University of Colorado, Boulder, who has made extraordinary contributions to the understanding of optical and condensed matter physics. She received her B.S. degree in physics at Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá in 1999. Then she emigrated to the United States where she earned her Ph.D. in physics at the University of Maryland in 2004. She went on to work as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Among many other honors, in 2013 she was awarded the McArthur Foundation Genius Grant and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She also won the 2014 Maria Goeppert Mayer Award of the American Physical Society (APS) and became a fellow of the APS in 2015. She was introduced by Prof. Moisés Wasserman, the former rector of Universidad Nacional de Colombia, who also delivered the opening remarks.


Dr. Ana María Rey, keynote speaker and Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder (Photo by Andrés Díaz Cano)


The other four Colombian researchers represented diverse fields:
Prof. Gustavo Rosanía, a Colombian biologist, distinguished researcher in the College of Pharmacy at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, delivered a talk titled “Curing Leprosy: Discovering the Science Behind a Miracle”. He earned his B.S. in biological sciences from Stanford University in 1989. Then, in 1996 he graduated with a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology at Harvard University. He has also been distinguished with the 2004 Exterior Colombia Award for Excellence in the United States and the 2007 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Juan Felipe González, a software engineer at Motorola Software Solutions, gave a talk titled “Next Generation 911 for the World”. He graduated with a B.S. in systems engineering from Universidad Javeriana in 2010. Then he emigrated to the United States where he got his M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Alabama, Birmingham in 2013. Since then, he has worked with Motorola to improve the software that assists authorities in managing emergencies.

Jairo Campuzano-Hoyos is a Fulbright scholar holding a B.A. in History from the Universidad de Antioquia and both a M.Sc. in Administration from the Universidad Eafit and a M.A. from the University of Notre Dame.  He delivered a talk titled “Circulating Ideas, Policies, and Models of Material Progress in Latin America. The Colombian case, 1870-1930”.

Prof. Ximena Bernal, assistant professor of biological sciences at Purdue University since 2014, gave a talk titled “Eavesdroppers of mating signals: lessons on basic and applied science from frog-biting midges”. Her B.S. in biology was from Universidad de Los Andes in 1998 and her M.Sc. in Physiology and Animal Behavior from the same university in 2001. Then, she graduated with her Ph.D. in ecology, evolution and behavior from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007.

Written by Carlos Hernán Borca Paredes
On behalf of the Colombian Student Association at Purdue Board


Undergraduate Research Experience at Purdue - Colombia (UREP-C) students at the event poster session (Photo by Rodrigo Rodríguez Fuentes)


The cultural showcase featured a photo exhibit and competition (Photo by Rodrigo Rodríguez Fuentes)


Discussion panel. From left to right: panel moderator and CSAP president, Juan David Ortega, Prof. Gustavo Rosanía, Jairo Campuzano-Hoyos, Prof. Ana María Rey, Juan Felipe González and Prof. Ximena Bernal (Photo by Andrés Díaz Cano)



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