Friends of Fulbright Argentina
Friends of Fullbright Argentina Undergraduate Exchange Program:
Promoting mutual understanding and international goodwill between Argentina and the United States.
About the Program:
The Friends of Fulbright Argentina Student Exchange Program provides scholarships to Argentine students to participate in educational exchange programs at U.S. universities. In its fourth year at Virginia Tech, the program already has 65 alumni. Participants are chosen based on their academic excellence as well as their leadership potential. At Virginia Tech, the students audit classes in their fields of study, attend intensive English classes at the Language and Culture Institute, participate in internships and research and share the experience of living and studying with students in Blacksburg.
The Fulbright scholars 2020 had the opportunity to engage with the community and participate in cultural immersion activities, including trips to Monticello, Washington, D.C., and New York. They visited the United Nations headquarters and had meetings at the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC); the Argentine Permanent Representation to the United Nations; the Argentinean Embassy, the World Bank, Library of Congress and many more interesting places. They also had fun.
We are thankful to Virginia Tech faculty for their generosity and to our hosts during our trips, including Ambassador Martin Garcia Moritan, permanent representative to the UN; Jorge Chediek, Director of UNOSSC and special advisor to the Director General of the United Nations; Deputy Chief of Mission Minister Gerardo Diaz Bartolome and First Secretary Sofia Machado at the Argentinean Embassy, and Senior Financial Specialist Antonio Blasco at the World Bank.
We are especially thankful to Dr. Norma Gonzalez, executive director Argentinean Fulbright Commission; Edward Charles Prado, United States Ambassador to Argentina and to the Ministry of Education in Argentina who make it possible for this program to take place.
Facundo Arredondo, Fulbright 2020. Industrial engineering, National University of Tucumán.
I am keeping up with my studies online and I am also working on a VT project in which we work with Covid-19 data provided by a data agency. I have 2-3 zoom meetings a week with Prof. Geoffrey Vining, Professor of Statistics (College of science) and Frederick Faltin, Associate Professor of Practice & Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Academy of Integrated Science. The goal is to make predictions to help government leaders (particularly in Maryland for now) to have reliable information so as to allocate funds to address the economic crisis that the pandemic has caused. It is a pretty complex project, I am learning a lot and I am also happy that I can help in this situation as STEM student. See his presentation.
Marcos Bruno, Mechatronics Engineering from the National University of Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
What I have been up to since my time at the LCI and VT in 2018. I spent some of the best months of my life at VT, both at a personal and professional level. Since then, I have been an analog astronaut of the Mars Society, where I lived for two weeks in the Utah desert, conducting astronaut simulation tests. I was part of the first Latin American crew at the ILMAH base, a NASA-funded center, at the University of North Dakota. I participated in a research project at Stanford University, using the Foldscope, a fully functional one-dollar microscope, as a cervical cancer diagnostic tool to use in vulnerable regions around the world. I had the opportunity to talk about these experiences in two TEDx talks. I also had time to design my own projects: "Luni", a biological experiment designed to travel to the Moon and "Universitwin", a project that seeks to democratize access to space for students in Argentina. Currently a finalist in the Open Space competition hosted by Satellogic. I co-founded of “Game Changers”, the biggest entrepreneurs hub in Mendoza with almost 200 Argentine entrepreneurs being part of it, and “Merovingian Data”, a Data Analytics Startup where we carry out a process of unifying statistics, data analysis and machine learning to understand and analyze real phenomena and get insights that help in decision-making and has an impact on current challenges, such as COVID-19, by spreading relevant facts and behavioral changes.
Agustin Figueroa Nazar
After my Fulbright experience at Virginia Tech, I returned to Argentina where I joined a company in the field of analytics. I graduated from ITBA university (Technological Institute of Buenos Aires https://www.itba.edu.ar/?lang=en ). The spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) that characterizes Virginia Tech inspired me to find new ways to give back to the local community. I coordinated fundraising for an entrepreneurship program I started, and were able to provide scholarships to over 30 students from all over the country to visit a Tech Hub in Buenos Aires. I am actively working as a member of the Fulbright chapter in Buenos Aires - Argentina, connecting with other scholars to organize activities that foster the Fulbright community.
"At Virginia Tech, we met people from different parts of the world, each one with a different story, different culture and with a lot to share and teach."
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Trustees Without Borders
Listen as Andy Morikawa, executive director emeritus of the Community Foundation of the New River Valley, talks with the visiting Argentine students about their time at Virginia Tech.