The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy welcomed International Visitor Orfelinda Torres-Rivera, Academic Dean of Universidad Politécnica de Santa Rosa Jáuregui in Mexico, with the 100,000 Strong in the Americas program. Their mission aimed to expand hemispheric exchange in higher education.
Universidad Politécnica de Santa Rosa Jáuregui was established in the State of Queretaro in 2011. It belongs to a national system of polytechnic and technological universities that offer higher educational opportunities to students from low-income families, including degrees in software engineering, automotive engineering, animation and physical therapy. Ms. Torres-Rivera has led this start-up institution by developing innovative academic programs, including the design and implementation of new programs for students with disabilities and launching a STEM Academy.
While in Utah, 100,000 Strong in the Americas Visitors met with multiple higher education institutions. Ms. Torres-Rivera describes her experience as helpful and rewarding. Visiting colleges such as the University of Utah, Westminster, and Utah State University gave her insight to consolidate programs at her own institution. In reflecting on what she has taken away from her visit, Orfelinda told UCCD, “STEM and the promotion of engineering programs among the female community is one example of many of the things I learned during my visit.”
Orfelinda hopes to start a student or faculty exchange within the next year. She is currently in the process of obtaining a grant in order for her university to be able to work and collaborate with the University of Utah, the Polytechnic University of Santa Rosa and another university in South America. We hope to work with her and Universidad Politécnica de Santa Rosa Jáuregui in the near future.