Zamorano AGEAP USA Alumnus of the Month
Dr. Rodrigo Diaz
Department of Entomology, Louisiana State University
Dr. Rodrigo Diaz (Ecuador) is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology at Louisiana State University (LSU). Dr. Diaz graduated from the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School in 1999 with a B.S. in agronomy, followed by an M.S and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from Texas A&M University and University of Florida, respectively.
Dr. Diaz’s research focuses on the ecology of invasive species and the use of biological control for pest management. He is responsible for the biological control program of giant salvinia where he studies methods to improve its control in temperate regions and assists in the implementation of the program in other regions of United States. Salvinia is an aquatic native plant from South America. Since its detection in Louisiana it has become the most important aquatic weed in the state. Dr. Diaz is the author of 65 scientific publications. Currently, Dr. Diaz serves as a Graduate Advisor playing an important role in the academic and social life of the Zamorano Agricultural Society at LSU.
AGEAP USA subchapter spotlight: Louisiana State University
The Zamorano Agricultural Society (ZAS) at Louisiana State University (LSU) represents Zamorano Alumni currently studying or doing an internship at LSU, as well as faculty. This subchapter is composed of 46 members from seven different Latin American countries during spring semester. Zamorano and LSU have had a healthy partnership since the 80’s, and this on-going partnership is still bearing fruit, as shown by the numerous achievements of graduate students and Zamorano-LSU alumni. Since 2005, LSU-AgCenter has received approximately 125 Zamoranos for internships (representing more than $ 625,000 in investment). Many of these interns have been given the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at LSU or other universities in the USA. The LSU-ZAS subchapter is one of the most actives subchapters of AGEAP USA. Zamotigers participate in stadium cleanups, sell ice cream, and sell t-shirts to raise funds for the ZAS-LSU AgCenter Summer internship program to support bringing more Zamorano alumni to LSU. For the past two years, they have been holding closing ceremonies to recognize people that support Zamorano and the outstanding ZAS-members.
AGEAP USA – 2020 Year in Review
AGEAP USA (acronym in Spanish meaning Alumni Association of the Pan-American School) is a chapter of AGEAP International dedicated to fostering relationships and supporting the professional development of Zamorano Alumni residing in the United States of America. Zamoranos in the USA are from 19 different nationalities and are distributed in 42 of the 50 states that make up the USA. Gender distribution is 34% women and 67% men. Currently, AGEAP USA has 11 subchapters located in different regions of the country. The establishment of subchapters improves the coordination capacity and increase the outreach of AGEAP USA. The chapter’s board is directed by Franklin Bonilla ’14 (President), Luis Cañas ’90 (Advisor), Jonathan Clavijo ’15 (Vice President), Allan Calderón ’17 (Treasurer), Marco Goyzueta ’14 (Secretary) and Ana Morales ’14 (Communications Coordinator). The board holds monthly meetings to plan events and activities with the representatives of each subchapter. At the sub-chapter level, activities are regularly coordinated among its active members, and interaction with other sub-chapters of the association is encouraged.
Activities conducted in 2020
During 2020 the chapter launched the “AGEAP USA Webinar Series” initiative. To date there have been four webinars delivered via Zoom. Members of AGEAP USA and Zamorano oversaw the development of the webinars, which are conducted in Spanish and feature Zamorano alumni. To date the series has reached more than 300 participants. Additional webinars are in preparation phases. More information about the topics and registration for these webinars will be shared with alumni through the AGEAP USA Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as through the e-mail list for AGEAP International. Others interested in receiving notices of upcoming webinars organized by the AGEAP USA please contact María José Baires, Zamorano Director of Alumni Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Efforts are currently under way to enable recordings of future webinars.
This year we managed to have a space to share important information about AGEAP USA in the Zamorano newsletter. Each month, AGEAP USA randomly selects a subchapter which shares general information about its structure, members, and presence at the university where the subchapter is located. At the subchapter level, they select a Zamorano alumni of the month, someone who stands out for its impact and achievements. In addition, the newsletter shares information about activities that have been carried out by AGEAP USA during the month, or achievements of one of its members. This space within the newsletter has exposed the impact of Zamorano alumni in the United States. As future steps, it is planned to include a new section on the newsletter that allows us to share the day-to-day life of the Zamorano alumni who do science in the United States. AGEAP USA is always looking for opportunities for improvement.
On November 30th, the AGEAP USA launched its Mentoring Program. The Mentoring Program is aimed to support, motivate, and guide future colleagues and graduate students in the USA. This program, encouraged by Ana Morales (Class 2014) and coordinated by Dr. Cynthia Machado (Class 2002) and Osler Ortez (Class 2014), will start in early 2021. This program will strengthen the Zamorano family and motivate students to look for graduate studies opportunities in universities in this country. Graduate students will be advised by Zamoranos who are working in industry, academia, or the public sector. This Mentoring Program will help future colleagues and Zamorano graduate students in career decision making by connecting them to experienced professionals. More details about the program and how to register are available in the AGEAP USA Facebook and Instagram pages.
The current and future directive is establishment of a volunteering platform to support our Latin American communities. AGEAP USA will be the intermediary between volunteering Zamorano colleagues and organizations looking for support of experts on different agricultural issues. Experts in the USA in different agricultural areas will be contacted and connected to those organizations. This way, highly skilled professionals can contribute with their expertise, advice, and support the improvement of the lives of Latin American people in need, and lead to changes in those communities. As Zamoranos, Pan-Americanism is one of our pillars. This program will strengthen this important Zamorano foundation and will show that distance is not an obstacle to support and generate changes in our communities.
Thank you to each of the colleagues who supported, support and will support the initiatives of the AGEAP USA. The new directive, which will be led by the colleague Jonathan Clavijo (Class of 2015), will be open to ideas, suggestions, and participation that will help motivate and achieve change for the benefit of all colleagues and the countries we are originally from. We are all Zamoranos and we are all part of the AGEAP. We invite colleagues to feel free to contact us and follow our social media, where we will continue distributing all the information regarding our Zamorano community in the USA. The AGEAP USA will continue improving, growing, and working on an agenda generated by a team committed to its ideal of service and love for our Alma Mater. Labor Omnia Vincit.