Students from 13 Mexican universities learned about CIMMYT’s work and mission during the 7th annual Open Door event at El Batán on 20 September. Organized by the Training Office, the event hosted 285 students from seven Mexican states. It introduces students to CIMMYT through visits to the maize and wheat demonstration plots, the germplasm bank and laboratories, as well as through presentations about various CIMMYT programs.
The Training Office said the event was well received and thanked everyone involved for the help. Staff and speakers from various areas of CIMMYT, including the bioscience building, the canteen and security, contributed to Open Door’s success. For most students, Open Door was their first opportunity to learn about and visit CIMMYT. “Basically, it’s new to us,” said Alejandro García Ochoa, a 23-year-old sustainable agriculture engineering student at the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Los Reyes Michoacán. García, who plans on pursuing a master’s degree after graduation, said he was interested by the visits to the germplasm bank and laboratories. “I learned the importance of saving the genetic heritage in our country,” García said.
For Lisbeth Bautista Salazar, a 27-year-old master’s student at the Universidad Autonoma de Querétaro, the 2013 Open Door event was her second visit to CIMMYT. She first came to CIMMYT more than two years ago with other students from her university. Bautista said she enjoyed the tour this year and learned how crucial it is to improve maize for the benefit of society. “It’s a really important mission,” Bautista said. “It’s so challenging with all the social, political and climate problems we’re facing.” Bautista wants to work in Oaxaca after graduation. She explained her grandparents live in an area of the state that could benefit from CIMMYT initiatives as well as from what she is learning in school. “They need this knowledge and the opportunity to apply this knowledge” Bautista said.
Other students indicated they are considering CIMMYT for future career opportunities. Jaime Cesar Vallejo Galván, a 25-year-old agricultural engineering student at the Instituto Tecnológico Superior de Los Reyes Michoacán, said his first visit to CIMMYT taught him about improving maize and wheat varieties. He said he wants to pursue a master’s degree after graduation or “work in a place like this.”