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Jun 11, 2021
Escrito por: Sonia Zamora

Ivonne Tatiana Latorre Beltran, got a Biology Bachelor’s Degree  at Universidad Pedagógica Nacional (UPN) in 2004 and was one of the 40 people chosen among 180 applicants who applied for Fulbright-MinCiencias scholarship, which will allow her to her PhD at any U.S. university in 2021. Her goal is to continue her research on high-Andean systems, which correspond to the interaction in the high Andes of the organisms themselves that inhabit there and their environment, something which has triggered the emergence of unique life forms over geological eras. 

Latorre has been interested in this topic since her undergraduate period with María Eugenia Rincón, when she also understood the importance of science education, because for the researcher the study of biology makes sense as you work with communities. Since then, ecology and teaching have been intertwined and become a permanent issue of her professional and personal life, something evident in her participation in projects such as an endeavor implemented with Universidad Tecnológica del Chocó to improve the quality of education in the Department of Chocó between the period 2016-2018.

In addition to workshops in rural schools to teach villagers about insects and their habitat conditions, three years of teaching experience in private schools and her work as a biodiversity expert for Cundinamarca Government. 

Latorre thinks the Fulbright grant represents a significant personal and professional satisfaction as it is a very competitive call. "It is also an achievement for people who have been part of my training," she says. A far-reaching trajectory from her time in the classrooms at UPN, when she was part of the team leading structuring of the collection of aquatic insects, and other recognitions such as the scholarship of the National Council of Science and Technology of the Mexican government that she received in 2007 to her master's degree at the Institute of Ecology of the Mexican country.

In addition, she is a member of the Colombian Network of Women Scientists and has researched the moorlands of countries such as Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Colombia as a member of a network of Latin American experts devoted to the study of this type of ecosystems.



Some advice for future colleagues

Latorre invites UPN students to be always aware about the value of teachers and the importance of public education, while calling on them to defend and protect universities and contribute to their academic quality. "Take advantage of every resource the University may provide you, so enjoy and work to leave a footprint. Don't take only the curriculum gives you, always go beyond far and support yourselves with your good teachers", the biologist recommends, who assures that her time at the institution changed her life and vision by opening doors not only to academic knowledge but also to social knowledge arena.