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Fall Colombia Exchange Program Participant Bios

Adeline Vargas del Castillo

Born in San Andres de Tumaco, Adeline Vargas del Castillo is currently the Director and Founder of the ecological foundation, Green Heritage (Etnia Verda). Additionally she participates as a consultant for the Access to Justice Program managed by USAID, and previously worked with their human rights program. She received her degree in Industrial Chemistry from the University of Environmental and Applied Sciences in 2001 and later her Masters in Environmental Management from the University of Javeriana. She was named a Climate Change Champion by the British Council in 2010.

Dayan Steele Aguilar

Dayan Steele studied social work in Barranquilla and returned to her home on Providence Island. For the past 5 years Ms. Steele has been working at the Old Providence Mc Bean Lagoon National Park where she promotes and discusses conservation among social actors and institutions. Her principle role is to actively engage the community in the developments of the island. In 2011, she had the opportunity to be part of the Afro Peace (Afro Paz) team, aimed to support and empower Afro Colombian social organizations. She is currently leading a program to involve organizations throughout the island to develop food security, environmental, social and cultural initiatives.

Laudy Zuniga Aguino

Laudy Zuñiga Aguiño is a student of international business from the Pilot University of Colombia (Universidad Piloto de Colombia) and works as an administrator at the Promoter of Goods and Services of the Pacific (Promotora de Bienes y Servicios del Pacifico) {PBS}. She was awarded the Martin Luther King Scholarship because of her dedication to creating opportunities for women and Afro-Colombians. She is very dedicated to working in the Pacific Coast of Colombia and developing economic opportunities for vulnerable populations in Tumaco.

Ingrid Angelica Gonzalez Hernandez

Ingrid Angélica Hernández González began her career in social work teaching literacy to a group of 10 poor children. Her passion is working with families with children who have special needs. In 2006 she founded the Ant House (La Casa de la Hormiga), nonprofit entity, with the motivation to help the disabled population in the extremely poor neighborhoods surround Cali. The beneficiaries of the programs are victims of the armed conflict, displaced persons, and female heads of households.

Fredy Ernesto Arango Garcia

Fredy Arango is an agricultural technologist who is currently pursuing an additional degree in Business Administration at the Cooperative University of Colombia (La Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia). He currently serves as an administrative assistant at the Mayor’s Office of Pereira where he works to improve economic opportunities for the community. He is also a coffee grower and the treasurer of EntreVerdes, the Association of Coffee Growers in Pereira.

Mary Carmen Nieto Ariza

Mary Carmen Nieto Ariza graduated with honors from Direction and Production Radio and Television program at Autonomous University of the Caribbean (Universidad Autónoma del Caribe). In 2009, she worked at the Association for Child Development (Asociación por Desarrollo de Familias – APRODEFA) where she coordinated the communications department. Currently Nieto Ariza works with the Network of Afro-Caribbean Women (La Red de Mujeres Afro Caribes) {REMA}, which empowers Afro-Colombian women from the Caribbean region. She is an advocate to halt the injustice and inequality faced by Afro-Colombian women and end discrimination.

Yancy Castillo

Yancy Castillo has a degree in Social Communication and a diploma in Project Management for International Cooperation from the St. Thomas University (Universidad Santo Tomás). She has developed audiovisual work in black communities with women and young people in the District of Aguablanca in the city of Cali. She has also worked on the TV show “Black Label” (Sello Negro) that airs on the channel “Signal Colombia” (Señal Colombia), which is composed of political content and other topics for the Afro-Colombian population. She is currently working with the National Association of Maroons (La Asociación Nacional de Cimarron) as a social worker in a training program for Afro-Colombian women. Through the Nelson Mandela Leadership School, Yancy is in charge of communication for the organization.

Oscar Enrique Berrio Royer

Oscar Berrio is the cultural manager for the Social Foundation for Integral Training (Fundación Social para la Formación Integral) {Fusfi}, a non-profit organization that creates and operates projects involving human development, social, economic and cultural communities in the District of Cartagena de Indias. The organization focuses on educating their members by encouraging a culture of participation and social engagement, particularly through creating opportunities for participation by women and youth.

Doris Rodriquez

Doris Rodriguez graduated with a degree in Social Communication and Journalism with an emphasis on Organizational Communication. Rodriguez currently works as an administrator for a community development foundation named the Light Holder (Funda Luz). Doris manages social programs, communication, accounting and contract management with other institutions and organization such as the National Association of Maroons (Asociación Nacional Cimarrón), Publimaster of Colombia (Publimaster de Colombia and others).

Pilar Rivera

Pilar Rivera has a degree in Education and Social Communication. Her diverse professional and academic career has provided her ample opportunities to work in project design and management. She specializes in participation, collective leadership, and media production. She is currently working with the Solidarity Organizations (Organizaciones Solidarias) to empower grassroots and non-profit organizations throughout Colombia to improve their competitiveness and strengthen their organizations.

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