Jenny C. Urbina Gonzalez, an international student from Colombia, is majoring in environmental sciences and will graduate in 2017. Throughout her time at Oregon State, she has been involved in the Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) and the International Cultural Service Program (ICSP). As part of the ICSP, she has been able to share her culture with students at Oregon State and in the greater Corvallis community.
Q. What are three random things about you?
I love dancing.
I love traveling.
I am punctual.
Q. What advice would you give to a new OSU student?
Take advantage of all the opportunities OSU has to offer you. Explore Oregon — it is a wonderful state to travel around, which can help you maintain balance in your life.
Q. What does community mean to you?
Community means support and inclusion. It means understanding despite differences; it means acceptance and interaction.
Q. What value do you think diversity brings to our campus?
Diversity brings a lot to campus, like better understanding and tolerance. Diversity represents learning from different cultures and traditions. It can provide you with a broader perspective. Diversity prepares you to be a global citizen, facilitating the way you create your connections. Diversity benefits all of us as it encourages creativity, innovation and collaboration. As the old saying goes, “Diversity is the spice of life.”
Q. What is the best way for you to de-stress?
At OSU, I go to Dixon Recreation Center. Because I love dancing, I go to Zumba class!
Q. What do you like about living in Corvallis?
Living in Corvallis is good. It’s a small town, so you can bike everywhere. It’s also beautiful. Plus its proximity to Portland and Eugene makes it easy to attend concerts, theater and other events not always offered in Corvallis. Similarly, being close to the Oregon coast is always an open window to go and enjoy the magnificent views that the Pacific Ocean has to offer, like whales, creatures in the tidal pools, pretty beaches, surfers.
Q. Why did you choose your major?
I chose Environmental Sciences because the program gave me the opportunity to pick up a track among many different options. It is an interdisciplinary program, which makes it flexible and inclusive.
Q. How do you plan to use your degree?
I will go back to Colombia to share my knowledge and try to implement actions in biodiversity conservation. I hope to be able to suggest management strategies with good scientific basis — ones that can be implemented in the decision making process of the environmental agendas of official agencies, NGOs and academic institutions in Colombia.
Q. What activities have you been involved in at OSU?
I have participated in different activities such as “Discovering the Scientist Within,” organized by the Center for Outreach in Science and Engineering of Youth (COSEY) at Oregon State. COSEY is a workshop to encourage young women to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I’ve also volunteered with Winter Wonderings, Discovery Days, Ecosystem Sleuths summer camp and LEGO robotics.
As an ALAS member I have participated in the organization as a dancer in at least four Latin American nights.
As an ICSP student I have shared about my culture to elementary, middle, and high school classes and to the OSU community. I have shared in churches, associations and organizations, not only in Corvallis but also Albany and other towns. I have shared a lot of different aspects from my culture: literature, music, traditions, food and dance. Once, I even modeled traditional clothes of native people from my country during Spring Festival.
Q. How have your experiences outside of the classroom impacted you?
I have learned a lot about time management and how to share my knowledge. Speaking to different audiences has been key to improving my communication skills, as I am more confident now than in the past. I enjoy sharing about my culture and learning about different cultures. I’ve found that dedicating your time to sharing outside of the classroom will bring a lot of benefits, like networking and other opportunities.