Alumni Updates: Thailand, El Salvador, & Guatemala


Wanitcha (Fa) Wannasook (2010-11) was placed at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on her Global UGRAD program and is studying in the second year of her Master’s degree in English. She is also working as a part-time lecturer at Khon Kaen University Language Institute.

Aim thiland
Hataitip (Aim) Tasena in Sheffield, UK

Hataitip (Aim) Tasena (2010-11) is studying for her Master’s degree in molecular medicine at the University of Sheffield, UK, under the sponsorship of the Royal Thai Government after completing the Global UGRAD program at the University of Wyoming.

Poompong (Pooh) Chaiwongkhot (2010-11) is building on her studies at Montana State University by pursuing a Master’s degree in Quantum Information at the University of Waterloo, Canada. His plan in the future is to gather knowledge and pursue the highest level of education possible to become a good instructor and researcher.

Pongtham (Fun) Khiaosakhu (2010-11) has a part time job teaching English at I-Genius Language School, Khon Kaen while  studying for a Master’s degree in English at Khon Kaen University. His coursework will end in October, and he will then prepare for a thesis to complete his degree. 

Liw thailand
Phitchakan (Liw) Chuangcha in Thailand

Phitchakan (Liw) Chuangchai (2010-11) attended Missouri State University while on the Global UGRAD program and recently graduated from Chiang Mai University with a B.A. in English. She received a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government to pursue an M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural Management at King’s College London, UK, next year. She will be joining a program called the Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP) for two months starting at the end of October.

El Salvador

Jose Francisco Alfaro Cruz (2012-13) attended St. Cloud State University while on Global UGRAD program and is currently participating in the third round of the Alumni Engagement Initiative. He is also an active volunteer at the US embassy in San Salvador and was excited to help out with orientation for the 2013-14 UGRADers this past summer. Reina Guadalupe Tobar (2012-13) who attended Shawnee State University in the U.S. is interning at the Ministry of Education in San Salvador working on a project training teachers in public schools. She and two fellow UGRADers developed a free basic English course for the teachers and will graduate from this program in November 2013. Leticia Fara (2012-13) attended Augustana College in the U.S. and is a Teachers Assistant in the Foreign Language Department the University of El Salvador. When she is not assisting in the classroom, she is volunteering for the “Laughter Factory”, an institution that helps people in need find relief and healing through laughter.

Dora Alexa Cabrera (2012-13) attended Minnesota State University-Mankato while on the Global UGRAD program and is very busy these day studying to finish her degree, volunteering, teaching to keep up her English skills, and working for an electric company. Jimmy Alvarado (2012-13), who attended the University of the Incarnate Word as a Global UGRADer, is finishing his degree and looking forward to graduating in May 2014. He was a 2013 Dell award winner in the category of “People’s Choice” for his project that teachers English and computer programming to four communities throughout El Salvador. His project is launching on Oct 25, 2013 and he is excited to see his idea come to life very soon! Wilber Alexander Martinez Carrillo (2012-13) has been kept very busy since returning from his time at University of Southern Indiana finishing his degree, working part-time and assisting 15 students who are getting ready to take the TOEFL exam early next year. Every Saturday the students gather to practice tests and review test-taking strategies. He is also hoping to start a project started that donates sporting goods to local communities around San Salvador.

Fatima Rodriguez (2012-13) attended Murray State University as a Global UGRADer and is an active member of her Students Association of Sociology from Salvadoran Universities (ASESUES).  When she is not busy with school and her association, she is volunteering for Youth Unity (Unidades Juveniles) as a mentor to children in her hometown.  After returning home the University of Mississippi, Henry Antonio Martinez Aviles (2012-13) is excited to finish his senior year at ESEN University in San Salvador and remains an active member of the Leadership Center on campus. He spent part of his break working at a Leadership Camp and is involved in numerous multi-national organizations in San Salvador. Oscar Andres Montes (2012-13) who attended North Dakota State University as a Global UGRADer was elected vice-chair of the IEEE student branch at the University of Don Bosco in El Salvador. Hector Joel Campos (2012-13) returned from the East Tennessee State University and is splitting his time working as an English teacher at the Technological University of El Salvador and also at a local private school. Both of these jobs have kept him very busy and he is looking forward to applying for jobs within the Ministry of Education soon. Juan Campos (2012-13) is also working at the University of Don Bosco like his fellow UGRADer Oscar Montes and is excited to teach students for the first time!


Alejandra Villagran Calderon (2010-11) who attended the University of Utah started a project last year in education and has thus far helped inaugurate the first English learning center in a local community outside the capital, which has already been accredited by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education. As part of the same project, she has also helped inaugurate another center for tutoring students from elementary school all the way to college students called Centro de Estudios Complementarios (Center for Complementary Studies). Former University of Minnesota-Twin Cities UGRADer Maria Andrea Chang (2010-11) is currently taking the World Learning Alumni Engagement Initiative online course, with which she seeks to start a project to eradicate malnutrition in the Guatemala City landfill (the largest garbage dump in Central America). She is one semester away from earning her undergraduate degree in Psycho-pedagogy and also works for an NGO in the development of  community projects. Aside from that, she raises her 1-year-old son. Renato Jose Conedera Navas (2011-12) is now a senior at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities after he transferred in as a full-time student after his time there as a Global UGRADer. He studied mechanical engineering in the field of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) for companies like Boeing and Animal Care Systems during his time away from school. He’ll be interning in the field of machine design as part of his internship next spring and summer and plans to apply for a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering after he finishes his current degree.

Former University of Utah UGRADer Diego Raul Guzman Verbena (2011-12) is one semester from earning his Bachelor’s degree in Music at his home university, where he is working in his graduation project, which seeks to integrate simple technology and music education for the benefit of poor children. After graduating, he’s applying for a Master’s degree in Music for Film and Television abroad. In the meantime he’s working on a deal with an American producer to feature one of his compositions in one of the producer’s show’s episodes. Aida Teresa Lopez del Valle (2011-12) who ‎attended Augustana College recently completed her first year working as an English Program Coordinator in a Christian bilingual school in Guatemala, where she oversees the English academic program from Preschool to senior high school. She is one year away from earning a degree in Psycho-pedagogy but is already working on her graduation project, which consists in the creation of an eco-technological water purification plant with a multidisciplinary group, working along chemical and civil engineering students. Jazmine Osorio (2010-11) who attended the Minnesota State University-Mankato will be graduating at the end of this year, and as part of the last semester of her nutrition degree, she’s doing an internship in Guatemala’s largest hospital, giving nutrition counseling to HIV patients. She’s also an English-Spanish interpreter for visiting American medical doctors who come to another hospital to do surgery shifts. Aside from that, she is the Vice President of the United States Department of State Alumni Association. Former University of Evansville UGRADer Ricardo Antonio Rodriguez (2011-12) is taking his last courses at his home university and will be graduating in November. He is currently working for a government agency in Guatemala City as well as applying for several universities abroad to earn his Master’s degree.

Jorge Zou (2012-13) who attended the University of Arkansas as a Global UGRADer is currently studying in his last semester of architecture at university. He was able to catch up with several courses during the summer term and now he is working on his thesis. He is also doing an internship where he works as supervisor in a construction site. José Andrés Barrios Rubio (2012-13) returned home from Montana State University and continues singing with his Latin pop-rock band, writing music, and is also studying in his last semester of industrial engineering at school. Hugo Oliveros (2012-13) studied chemical engineering at the University of Wyoming as a UGRADer and now teaches at a local elementary school in his home town. Additionally, he is working at his university in the chemical engineer department resarching how to make biodiesel oil reusable and efficient. Mayra Alejandra Chavez (2012-13) got the surprise of a lifetime when, upon her return home to Guatemala, her U.S. host family while she was at Murray State University visited her for a couple weeks. They all spent 10 days at an orphanage helping with activities. After that rewarding experience, Alejandra decided to volunteer at herself local hospital before her classes started. This is her last semester at university where she is studying nutrition. Pamela Varinia Ruano (2012-13) who attended Tennessee Tech University as a UGRADer is in her last semester studying chemical engineering and is working on her thesis. Additionally, she is working at her university’s student association as an adviser. She is also working on the project Engineering Without Borders from Illinois and Missouri, which helps communities in Guatemala. In February she traveled to Trondheim, Norway, where she was invited to participate in the biggest student festival in the world – International Student Festival in Trondheim (ISFiT) related to social and political current events.

Elizabeth Filippi (2012-13) who attended the University of Evansville is studying business administration and expects to be graduating on September next year. She is working as an Imports and Exports Assistant in the energy industry. Last month, she became a teacher for English as a foreign language, after receiving 100 hours of training and passing all the required exams. Next year she is looking forward to being involved in a program that teaches low-income elementary school children classes around the topic of literacy. Former University of Minnesota – Twin Cities UGRADer Isabella Diaz (2012-13) is in her third year of business engineering school and expects to graduate by the end of next year. Currently she is the Marketing Director of Enactus, which is a group of international college students who use entrepreneurial action to transform lives. Her team helps women of communities in need by giving them tools to make elaborate accessories, made of industrial waste (Eco.Weaving) and then to later sell them. She was also a speaker and represented her team in the Enactus National Competition. Mercedes Haro (2012-13) who attended Marymount University while on the Global UGRAD program completed an internship at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. and then participated in the General Assembly of the OAS. She is in her last semester of university and is currently working on her thesis. Estuardo Carpio (2012-13) who attended the University of Evansville as a Global UGRADer is currently in his fourth year of undergrad and keeps in touch with the friends he made while on his UGRAD program.

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