Alumni of the Month  |  2018-04
April 20, 2018

Mexican IVLP Alumna is a Shining Star

“We were like astronauts travelling through space and time with one single goal: science and technology education in the United States,” Mexican exchange alumna Miriam Carrillo Barragan said about her 2015 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) exchange to the United States. Miriam, the Science Curator at the Universum Science Museum in Mexico City, not only learned about science and technology education during her three-week exchange to the United States but also left with a renewed focus on increasing the participation of women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in Mexico.

As she visited Washington, D.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Orlando, Florida, Miriam networked with American experts in the STEM field and her fellow IVLP participants from 13 countries. When she returned to Mexico, she gave virtual presentations to their networks about physics, space exploration, and women’s participation in math and science. These collaborations expanded knowledge of STEM and promoted cross-cultural understanding.

 

As part of the Women beyond Space program of the Mexican Space Agency, Miriam serves as a role model for girls interested in science and technology. With the agency, she facilitates a simulated space mission that has reached more than 800 elementary and junior high girls across Mexico. The simulation is an idea she picked up from science and technology teachers during her IVLP in the United States.

Miriam also lends her expertise to other public engagements and initiatives.  She discussed the August 2017 solar eclipse on live TV and served as the key speaker at the Mexican Space Agency for International Women’s Day in 2018.

For the past three years, Miriam has worked closely with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico on multiple initiatives, including a summer STEM camp for youth from marginalized communities in Mexico City. She has delivered presentations at schools and universities and inspired a new generation of Mexican youth to pursue careers in STEM. One student she spoke to said that he plans to study physics in college with the ultimate goal of working for NASA. Miriam is an active member of the Mexican Alumni Association, and in addition to her work in STEM, she has organized events focused on entrepreneurship and human rights.

“IVLP changed my life and opened a new window of knowledge and gave me new great friends.”

Each month, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ (ECA) Office of Alumni Affairs recognizes one outstanding alumnus or alumna.  The International Exchange Alumni community looks forward to seeing what Miriam will do next, and congratulates her on being named the April 2018 Exchange Alumni Member of the Month!