Congratulations on winning the Derek Bok Public Service Prize. Can you describe your service work?
For the last 10 years I have worked to improve education access, quality, and inclusiveness of special needs students, an endeavor that has involved both national (Mexico) government and international NGOs. My public service can be summarized in three categories: the change of Federal Legislation in the House of Representatives of Mexico, with a particular role in designing, promoting, and developing a new law for special needs students; a post for the last seven years as an international delegate at the World Council for Gifted and Talented; and an inclusion initiative for guaranteeing human rights on talented marginalized students.
How will your degree from Harvard Extension help you in your career?
My experience at Harvard Extension has been very enriching and has increased my scope as an educator and psychologist. For the last 10 years I have worked with the Mexican government and international NGOs to improve education access, quality, and inclusiveness for special needs students, including designing, promoting and developing Mexican law for special needs students and serving as an international delegate at the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children.
My time at Harvard has opened up opportunities to be more visible within multiple spheres both at government and private institutions. It improved my ability to apply my work in multiple high-impact fields where I feel I have been able to affect real changes in society.
What was the most challenging aspect of your time at Extension? What was the most rewarding?
Honestly, I found the approval for the thesis project a challenging process that took considerable work but left me with really important tools for academic life. The faculty I worked with on that project in particular really helped me relearn how to think and write for a scientific audience.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my time here has been the friendships and professional bonds formed with faculty and students.
The experience of actually taking a class and studying within the Harvard campus is by itself a remarkable time to remember. Bringing my own ideas to campus but then leaving the classes having been exposed to new and innovative ways of thinking is truly life-changing and enriching.
In which ways did you connect with the Harvard community?
Part of my job involves the organization of education conferences in Mexico to promote the relevance of academic excellence and the human right of access to knowledge, among other topics. I had the opportunity to invite and host several members of the Harvard community who have shared their experiences with Latin American audiences.
Do you have any advice for new students?
Live every day as if it were the last one in your life, be passionate in your studies, and get involved in social-changing initiatives. It is never too early to start contributing.
Never be afraid of reaching out to the faculty and classmates as the community here is really supportive. Be sure to take full advantage of the resources offered by the University.
And finally, the time at Harvard is wonderful and passes very quickly, but leaves strong memories. Enjoy it!
Describe your Extension School experience in one word.
This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length.