Querer es poder- Where there’s a will, there’s a way

Hello friends, my name is Olivia Young, and I am a strong woman from Cucuta, Colombia. I am a single mom of two girls and have two grandchildren! I left my family in Columbia to find my dream in USA. In Columbia, my family are farmers, and they also harvest fruits from the forest. I love my family. I currently work at Baystate at central processing where they sterile hospital instruments. I am currently taking Anatomy and Physiology since this class is a requirement for the Surgical Technology degree that I want to join. At first, I wanted to quit this class, but after I started working with my classmates and my professor I was motivated to stay, work hard, and succeed. In this class I had the wonderful opportunity to choose a research project about how the environment affects human health and later present my findings at the University of Massachusetts, Undergraduate Research Conference (UMass URC). This annual conference unites students to exhibit their diverse research.

I was very afraid and anxious at first to present in front of people since my English is not good. However, I decide to choose to try and the topic I choose was ‘Adaptation to Climate Change in Colombian Agriculture’. I had to study many research papers and I used Google translate to understand and write all the complicated concepts presented in scientific research papers. It took me many weeks to complete my poster and apply to the UMASS URC conference. Growing up in Columbia I hear sad stories of how climate change has affected our coffee farmers. There is always news about extreme floods, droughts, and landslides affecting diversity, natural resources, and humans. Colombia is biodiverse with beautiful flowers and animals in the Amazon rainforest to the Andean mountains and conservation during the changing climate is important. Regarding coffee, the rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns have led to the spread of pests and diseases, disrupted coffee flowering, reducing yields and quality. These challenges threaten the livelihoods of coffee farmers and the overall stability of Colombia’s coffee industry which is a big economy of my country. Hence, we have to promote alternative crops or value-added products that are less vulnerable to climate change impacts. My research findings show that we must increase crop diversification, manage water use, soil conservation, and the adopt improved crop varieties in Agriculture. These efforts, more innovation, and community engagement will ensure food security in my country in the face of changing climate conditions.

On the day of my presentation at UMass URC we were given lunch and a parking discount pass during registration. My classmates and many STCC students tried all the delicious food in the dining hall. We all went round and round trying all the treats. The students were excited, laughing and taking photos. It was time to present, my was session 4. The huge auditorium was loud with anticipation. Students dressed up in professional clothes, set up their posters and took their spots. There were people eager to interact with the presenters. As soon as my session started, I was surrounded by eager students and professors asking questions, they all applauded my good work. I lose my fear and was happy. This was an big experience both in terms of the knowledge acquired and being able to share my research. This activity was a great contribution for me as a student and made me feel that I am on another academic level. I hope to participate in future activities of this prestigious STCC school. I am thank my teacher Reena for believing in me. Gracias.