First UNal Arhuacan Indian Physicist graduate returns home
“I will return to the Sierra to show all the members of my community the knowledge I obtained," said Teyrungumu Torres, the first Indian of this community to receive a Physicist degree from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal).Bogotá D. C., 30 de agosto de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
The student is very pleased with the degree he will now take to his community to show what he learned.
The student is part of the 4,603 students that received their graduate diploma from UNal during the second semester of 2016. From this group 2,857 were undergraduate degrees and the rest graduate and master’s degrees from the different UNal campuses including Bogotá, Manizales, Medellín, Palmira, Amazonia and Caribbean.
At first it was not easy for Torres to live in Bogotá, far from his home in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta. The weather, customs and the food were very different from his homeland. But the support from his community and family drove him to continue his efforts.
Five years later he finished his Physics studies and is preparing to return home. “I will return to the Sierra and take my achievement to my community, I did this for them and they are all I have, they are my life,” he said.
The UNal León de Greiff Auditorium was the scenario where he received his diploma. “My authorities encouraged me to come to Bogotá to study physics, something that I always had a passion for and they did everything possible for me to achieve it,” said Torres.
According to the Physicist, youngsters of his community always chose careers related to humanities such as anthropology or sociology but he decided to study physics.
“Knowing about all disciplines is very important for our community because it helps us understand the environment around us. Learn from all branches such as politics, physics and art helps us provide individuality and identify ourselves as a community,” he said.
Although he is getting prepared to return home, he also wants to come back to Bogotá and strengthen his Physics studies and begin, if possible a master’s or doctorate degree to reinforce what he studied.
Just as this student from the Arhuacan community, hundreds of youngsters from UNal have overcome barriers such as distance, language or health to continue studying and always supported by the institution.
Another case of surmounting obstacles to receive a degree is Grenard Ortiz, a multiple bilateral sclerosis student which graduated from Fine Arts last Tuesday.
After overcoming a series of hurdles, including changing his major, Ortiz found a therapeutic healing to his issue. His thesis project, ticuyes (mud dolls which recalled Indigenous works of art) was recognized among the university community.
During the third quarter of 2016, 4,603 students obtained their undergraduate or graduate degree, each one hand signed by UNal Rector Professor Ignacio Mantilla Prada.
Mantilla recently wrote a recent article in the El Espectador newspaper saying: “Graduates are not products which are barcode tagged to be identified. We cannot fall into pragmatism, apparently efficient for printing everything with predefined formats with the purpose of saving time or work. I do not think we would pleasantly accept that instead of receiving a diploma in a ceremony it would be sent to us under the door or a personality would just sign his/her autograph digitally. I cannot imagine the day when a graduate would receive a message stating “You are one click away from graduating, click and print your diploma.”(Por: Fin/ACP/MLA/APBL