Review by Heather Tanner – postgraduate student in Landscape Archaeology
Like a diamond amidst rubble, Dr. Cinthia Mena-Duran has managed to shine brilliantly despite all of her adversity. In her presentation this past Friday, 12 December 2014, Dr. Mena-Duran enlightened me of the toils which face students from her community who want to receive a higher education.
Living in a small community where most members married and settled in her community, she broke through her local cultural norms in order to embrace her dreams. Traveling and attending classes from around 5 am until 9pm while in high school, she had little time for finishing her homework or studying if she wanted to sleep. On top of this, she had to stop attending school to work in order to pay for the rest of her education. It was only at the cost of her health in which she was able to receive a scholarship that the government almost did not give her.
After these trials, her acceptance to York, and her completion of her degree, Dr. Mena-Duran disclosed information about her impending departure to Peba and the activities she has in store for the youth of her community. As she already has partaken in some public affairs activities in Peba, making sure roads were kept up for travel, checking the water quality, and keeping the youth’s interest in education, Dr. Mena-Duran intends to introduce not only Chemistry, but also Music and an assortment of other educational activities to her community through help from other postgraduates from the University of York. One audience member even suggested she go into politics as her passion to protect and enable her community was both tangible and impossible to miss.
Overall, Dr. Mena-Duran gave a heart wrenching rendition of her journey to a higher education and the kind of good she hopes for and has done for her community. This was one very rare opportunity to learn firsthand about someone who faced all odds in order to achieve greatness.
Follow Cinthia on Google+ and don’t hesitate to get in touch with her to support her cause.
Curious to hear more about her actual scientific research? Check out this video of her oral presentation at E2KW Conference in Toledo 2013