15 de December, 2020

FEN ISMC Student Wins Jane M. Klausman Scholarship

A little over two weeks ago, Bernardita Castillo, a fifth year student of FEN’s Information Systems and Management Control major, former Coordinator of the Conference of Youth (COY15), current Young Negotiator for Chile for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and a volunteer with the “Uno.Cinco” organization that seeks to educate on climate change, learned that she was the winner of this year's Jane M. Klausman regional scholarship.

She recalls reading the email several times in awe and running to tell her family immediately afterwards. A scholarship that beyond its financial benefit consisting of US$ 2,000 to aid study expenses, is a recognition with a much deeper meaning.

The Jane M. Klausman (JMK) Women in Business scholarship program seeks to enable women to pursue undergraduate and master’s degrees by overcoming gender barriers, facing the low presence of female leaders in the business world. It operates through Zonta International, a leading global organization whose mission is to professionally empower women around the world through service and advocacy.

“Zonta is an organization recognized internationally for its work for more than 100 years in the empowerment of women, and I identify a lot with its mission and values. This scholarship is not only a monetary award, but it is a recognition that encourages me to continue the work that I have carried out so far, as well as opening many doors for me at an academic and work level,” said Bernardita Castillo.

Castillo’s track built around education, dissemination and the fight for sustainability and climate change, were key factors for the assignment, which she agreed to after applying to the Zonta Santiago club in September and being selected to represent the organization before all the South American clubs.

Regarding the scholarship, which since its creation in 1998 has benefited 460 women, the student plans to study for a Master's degree in Sustainability or Social Innovation abroad, to acquire new tools and continue developing professionally with sustainability and climate change at the core.

"Studying abroad is not cheap, and this scholarship will allow me to cover part of the costs involved," she said. In addition, she stressed that obtaining this scholarship creates an important precedent to apply for different study programs, scholarships and jobs abroad, “(...) which will allow many doors to open for me to continue with my activism, not only at an extracurricular level, but also professionally as an Information Systems and Management Control Engineer”.

Creating changes for the future in the present

Currently, Castillo is carrying out her professional internship at the Climate Change Office of the Ministry of the Environment and co-leading a project called "School of Young Negotiators", which was founded after her notable participation in the Chilean delegation for UNFCCC, as one of the first young negotiators in the country.

“That’s where the idea of this School came from, where we seek to train young people in the Region on these topics, create a booklet on good practices to encourage other countries to include young people in their delegations and establish a special training process for young Chileans, while we standardize the selection process for future young negotiators seeking to make this figure permanent," she described on the project that she hopes to see formalize in April of 2021, and which has the support of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Diplomatic Academy of Chile, and the economic support of the European Union.

Bernardita’s piece of advice to her colleagues: find what you like, link it with your studies and professional career, and continue learning in other spaces.

"This type of opportunity makes you expand your horizons and opens new doors that would not have opened if we don’t take the leap, it is up to us to look for these opportunities and not give up when a door closes, since experience has shown me that if you keep on going with determination, a lot more doors will open, rest assure”, indicated the student who is also part of the taekwondo varsity team, a member of the Social Responsibility department of the Student Sports Center (CDA) and a representative in the Local University Committee for Sustainability FEN (CLUS).

We applaud the student and hope that she soon proudly receives her diploma!