Global Alumni Spotlight: Former NC State International Fulbright Student Tackles Global Challenges
Former Fulbright student, María Cecilia Ginés, currently lives and works in Rosario (a city in the Province of Santa Fe, Argentina). Cecilia is a 2019 graduate of NC State’s Master of International Studies program. She currently works at an NGO called Aapresid (Argentine No-till Farmers Association) that specializes in no-till farming, as the manager of the International Program.
Cecilia came to NC State in the fall of 2017 after working at her alma mater (National University of Rosario) as part of the project management team of the Latin American Cooperation Institute (ICLA, as per its Spanish acronym). Wanting to further her education through a hands-on-program while also experiencing other cultures and making new friends from around the world, she applied for a Fulbright Scholarship in 2016 to pursue a Masters degree in the U.S.
“For me, this was one of the greatest things about my time at NC State: making friends from different countries and experiencing the US education system.”
When reminiscing about her favorite NC State memories, Cecilia recalls RecFest, Moonlight Howl and Run, football, basketball games, and volunteering opportunities. She mostly heard about these activities through the Office of International Services (OIS) and is very thankful for these community-building opportunities to meet new people.
Staying true to her passion for sustainability, Cecilia particularly enjoyed any courses related to environmental topics such as Global Environmental Law and Policy and Environmental Policy. She specifically recalls Dr. Kotcheeva as her mentor, who was her capstone project advisor and recommended her to participate in the annual Graduate Research Symposium hosted by The Graduate School.
These experiences also enabled her to be selected for a summer internship at a local NGO (Curamericas Global), “an experience from which I learned very much. From global health, fund raising, to quantitative and qualitative data analysis and much more,” says Cecilia.
After graduating from NC State in May 2019, Cecilia returned to Argentina and started working in Rosario as a Program Management Officer at a multinational consulting company. However, at the end of 2020, she started looking for a new professional challenge and after a few months of searching and interviews, she successfully started a new job at the Argentine No-till Farmers Association (Aapresid), an NGO, as the Manager of the International Program. Aapresid’s mission is “to promote sustainable food, fibers, and energy production systems through innovation, science, and knowledge networks.”
“The Aapresid International Program has the goal of promoting and adapting agricultural production systems based on no-till within the international community. To achieve this, the program establishes strategic international linkages, hosts foreign delegations of farmers to provide training, and transfers and exchanges knowledge on no-till production systems,” says Cecilia.
Although COVID-19 still impacts which projects can be done, Cecilia has been interacting with other farmers associations, embassies, with international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Cecilia is currently in the process of organizing a series of virtual events on sustainable soybean production and has participated in virtual events in the past organized by Aapresid.
When asked what advice she would give to soon-to-be graduates, Cecilia says “to be patient and enjoy each step of the process.” After graduating and returning to Argentina, Cecilia was very focused on finding a job right away and missed out on the opportunities to travel and simply enjoy some time off. Looking back, even though being a recent graduate looking for a job can be daunting at times, she recommends trying to enjoy the good in every moment. After all, everything will fall into place.
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