Yesterday I had the great pleasure of being interviewed by a representative of the Materials Research Society (MRS). It was a very pleasant conversation where we discussed the origin of the outreach activities that we do in our group and in collaboration with other colleagues at Cinvestav-Saltillo. It was very rewarding to chat with someone outside our field of work on what we try to do here. In a country with so many deficiencies in education and infrastructure every activity counts a lot.
My mother was a teacher in a rural school in the “State of Mexico (Estado de México), and every morning my Dad had to drive us from Xochimilco (where I am from) to Ayotzingo, a small community in Chalco. I think he had to drive a couple of hours before we could reach our school. After drooping us at our school my Dad had to drive to his job at the Autonomous Metropolitan University, a really long drive. I never asked my Mom and Dad why they endured for so many years working so far from home, not sure I would be able to do the same with my son. Nevertheless, the friends I had and the image of that school has remained in my mind as a reminder of where I come from and now as an inspiration to work with students where access to hands on activities are difficult to come by.
During the interview I believe I was asked if coming from Mexico didn´t make me feel in disadvantage while studying abroad. The answer is no, coming from Mexico made me realise how strong we are, and how we undervalue the education that we receive. Being abroad for sure gave me a different vision of what I could be as a researcher and what we could be as a country, but also made me realise that we have strong institutions whose quality rivals in my opinion those from the US, Germany and the UK.
So far it hasn´t been a smooth ride, but I have enjoyed it nevertheless. Our work related to outreach activities hasn´t stop. I think I didn´t post but at the end of last year we went to the Desert Museum (Museo del Desierto) where we participated in activities for the general public. We also visited a primary school giving experiments during their summer camp. As part of the project Hagamos con-Ciencia we visited the two schools that will participate in this project. Next week we will visit them again to agree the topics that we will be covering during the next school year in August.