Alumni Class Secretaries: Panama, the Philippines and Chile


After working two months in the Human Resources Service Division at the Panama CanalMaría Bustamante (11-12) started an internship in her field of study, Marine Engineering, as a requisite for graduation. Her improved English language and cultural skills, acquired during her UGRAD program at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, have allowed her to interact with people from European and Asian countries.  In addition, her improved self-confidence is key to her success in an internship role at a multinational company.

After completing an internship in Washington, DC with The Sierra Club, Denisse González (11-12) has returned to Panama to finish her undergraduate studies in Environmental Engineering.  She is working with a group of young Panamanian professionals to implement an association dedicated to help young leaders. Also, she has been volunteering with Ancon, an environmental organization in Panama.

Shantal Murillo (11-12) is finishing her Law and Political Science mayor. It has been a huge undertaking but fortunately she’ll be finished this coming June.  In addition to her studies, she is volunteering with Festival Abierto and applying to a scholarship to continue her studies abroad. Her short stories will be published to two upcoming anthologies, and hopefully in six months she will have her own short story book published. Please check out her literary blog (English and Spanish) at She would love people to review her work so that she can improve her fiction writing.

Carlos Osorio (11-12) defended his bachelor thesis on Corporate Social Responsibility on February.  He will graduate with honors on June 21st as an Industrial Engineer. In fact, he may be the valedictorian at one of the most prestigious universities in Panama.  Now, he is looking for a job to obtain professional experience in Industrial Engineering.

After almost a year back home, Alberto Jaén (11-12) has secured a job.  It is not related to his major field of study, English, but nevertheless, he is happy and proud to have this job. During the evenings, he continues to study English. He greatly misses all his American and International friends.  He wishes he could close his eyes and be back in the U.S. once they open.

Joel Photo2013 has been a very busy year for Joel Aizprua (11-12). After working as a technology consultant in the education field, he was offered a teaching position at a British English School.  Now he is a second grade teacher with 14 students who enjoy learning from him.  The best part is that his entire job is in English.

UGRADER Estefanía Guillén (11-12) has been working as a general manager assistant in a multinational company since she came back. She is also finishing her studies in her major in order to apply to a US graduate program.

Reina Tercero (11-12) is working on her graduation research and will graduate in late July. She’s very excited and is trying to obtain a job at the U.S. Embassy in Panama. She is also engaged in other projects regarding her Criminal Justice Degree.



Pia Besmonte (11-12) has been writing stories and performing spoken word poetry. She recently won Second Place for Poetry Writing as well as Honorable Mention for Flash Fiction Writing at the 21st Genoveva Edroza-Matute Awards in her home university. Pia is currently completing her junior year requirements and has begun planning for her senior thesis and an off-campus teaching practicum.

John BrionesJohn Caldan Briones (11-12) became the Commission on Elections chairperson at the University of St. La Salle this academic year. To encourage students to vote in the upcoming university elections he and his team sponsored a “Rock the Vote” event inspired by a similar event in the United States. “Rock the Vote” was featured in the news and garnered the highest voter turnout in the history of elections at the University of St. La Salle. John will also start his internship under a city councilor in Bacolod’s local government this April.



Dexter Caluza (11-12) is learning Nihongo this semester and finds it interesting and challenging. He hopes to visit Japan one day so he can meet his friends and speak with them in the language. Dexter is also working towards graduation.

Jonas Paul Dela Cruz (11-12) will be graduating cum laude on April 3. He credits God for his victory and is currently focusing on his discipleship group. Jonas believes the greatest achievement he can have is to be an instrument for transformed lives for the glory of God. He also plans to go to Manila to prepare for the November 2013 licensure exam for civil engineers.

Sam Durac Garcia (11-12) was the Speaker Support Head for a student congress on journalism and social media hosted by his college paper “The Crusader.” He is currently working on a research paper on the adaptation and resettlement of evacuees in Xavier Ecoville following the devastating effects of Sendong, the biggest tropical storm to have hit Cagayan de Oro in recent times. Sam, a nursing student, is also taking a class on psychiatric nursing and will have a practicum in April for two weeks.

Sam Garcia

Malaya Negad (11-12) and her teammates were finally able to leap across the greatest hurdles before graduation – her thesis paper and oral defense. Her group was able to  successfully defend their exploratory and descriptive thesis entitled “The Impact of Tropical Storm Sendong on the Micro Enterprises in Iligan City.” Their research illustrates the effectiveness of businesses’ coping mechanisms toward recovery after Sendong. Malaya is working toward her graduation next year.

Malaya Negad

Jessica F. Santiago (11-12) graduated magna cum laude with a degree in journalism in  November 2012. She currently works as a copy editing consultant at a major television network and hopes to learn more about the media industry.



phill student photoAlvaro Cabrera Urrea (11-12) graduated last December, now he is an “Ingeniero en Informática Empresarial” (engineering related to Business and Technology). He recently started working as Coordinator at the American Academy of Science and Technology. This position is a U.S. Embassy in Chile/University of Talca science public diplomacy partnership. Alvaro’s position involves organizing large and small public events; creating and leading innovative programs for young people; networking with both university academics and researchers, and high school teachers; identifying contacts and reaching out to new audiences; managing website and social media; creating and giving informative outreach talks; processing grants; reporting; contact data base maintenance and renewal; and receiving VIP visitors, among others.


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