Dear great Peruvian

Doctorate and Master programs attract prospective students from all over the world: China, India, Turkey, Canada, South Korea, etc. In my entering electrical engineering cohort, I was the only Peruvian and Latin American. In my first year, I felt tiny compared to my peers who came from renowned universities and very competitive college degrees – that was my perception.

A few years before I started my Ph. D., a fellow from Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería (UNI) started his Ph. D. at Harvard University. “How did you get admitted to Harvard from Peru?” another Harvard graduate student asked this UNI fellow. Even now, I cannot understand what this other student’s opinion of Peru was. The story remained in my mind, feeding the “maybe they are right.” Feeding the perception.

Now, I am writing with confidence that Peruvian students are astounding as the top students from all over the world. I broke free from my initial perception.

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Toxic apprenticeship

Verbal and psychological aggression in the academia can be part of the apprenticeship – read toxic apprenticeship. I think that students and postdocs who learn toxic apprenticeship and become faculty keep feeding the loop of an unwelcoming academia for future generations.

Way before I started my PhD, I heard about horror stories that occur at research universities between bosses and their students. One needs to be careful to not step into a minefield by choosing the incorrect adviser for one’s personality. 

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