Personal note

I grew up in the 90s when violence in Colombia was at an all-time high. However, unlike many in my generation, I grew up fearless and healthy in the idyllic environment of  a small agricultural town far away from the problems facing the country and just far enough from the so distinctive chaos of Latin American urban centers.

Since I was born, I have been closely exposed to the rural and urban lifestyles of people in my country. My experiences growing up in Colombia, a partly-hysterical, partly-desperate, and partly-peaceful environment with a rather peculiar political history where social injustice and apparently unnecessary poverty are widespread, are the main reason behind my desire to remain in the economics path.

Social development and the sustainable administration of natural resources are among my top academic and personal interests, and I hope to make them the center of my research and career. In particular, I would like to explore the synergy between agricultural systems and their ecological context in order to formulate feasible and effective policy instruments that promote the continual maintenance and flourishing of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Also, I recently became interested in the communication part of science—particularly with the recent toxic media coverage and politicization of scientific issues. I spend a lot of time trying to become a good listener and a good communicator. In my free time, I look for tips to become a better and more responsible civic informant and educator. In that spirit, I am also a sporadic correspondent for NCSU’s students newspaper, the Technician, where I have an opinion column regarding topics of agricultural and environmental economics. Examples of opinion pieces I have written can be found here.

I am highly motivated, intellectually curious, and generally optimistic. I am also disciplined and work well in teams. In the past, and in multiple occasions, I have been part of competitive teams and learned to perform as a team player. I believe these experiences have lead me to deliberately work on the adoption of certain attitude traits including leadership, collaboration, solidarity, pragmatism, clarity in communication, and compassion.

Once I finish my university education, I am looking to work in an area that is important, motivating, and challenging. An area where I can grow as an integral professional, gain exposure to cutting edge topics in social and environmental sciences, and contribute to policy design with honest, relevant, and science-based intellectual input.

About me: I am organized, disciplined, competitive, playful, and though my tendency is to not be particularly cautious, I am consciously working towards becoming a rigorous  person (but not a hardass) in EVERYTHING that I do.

I would say I have a kinesthetic personality. I love exploring my environment, playing in space with my dimension, finding and testing the edges of my contained universe through physical engagement. I practice a variety of activities. Yet, my mindset is one of a tennis player. I played competitively for a long time and all the physical and mental training undergone in and out of the court crippled into every aspect of my life and eventually became the primary driver of the features that define my character. In one sentence, I am a person who plays one shot at the time and for whom the most important point in a match is THIS ONE.

Since I stopped playing tennis, I got into powerlifting, and I must say I  find something philosophically profound and almost spiritual behind wanting to take the time to put maximum effort and engage 100% in the present in order to lift a heavy thing, put it back down, and lift it again: one rep at a time, every set, every training session. This practice invites me to be aware of my environment and my lifestyle choices everyday and at all times so that I can perform at my best on a given weekend and I can slowly slowly become the strongest version of myself. I find this approach very appealing. Powerlifting allows me to explore my limits and reflect upon my behavior and performance, to be a hash critic of myself and revisit my perception of the world, my values, my objectives, and, essentially, how I define myself. And I get to go over this deep reflective and meditative exercise every gym session. It is amazing and I invite you to get motivated by tracking my progress here.

I am a promiscuous music listener, from electroswing to electronic tango to funk to rock en español (and lately, some NWA and 2pac). Really, there’s a time and a place for most of them. Books, like music; and movies, like books and music. Lately, my favorite movie is Hell or High Water: the bitter-sweet tone of its social commentary, the beautiful photography, the excellent direction (even obvious to a non-trained eye like mine!). In general, I enjoy playful directors, funny, confusing, with beautiful photography and soundtrack. Tarrantino movies; Wes Anderson movies; Bong Joon-ho movies; musicals like Hair; animated movies like Kubo and the two strings; and other movies like Mad Max, The Godfather, Blade Runner, Fightclub, the Matrix, Space Odyssey 2000, Brave Heart, Amadeus, The Edukators, Moulin Rouge, Black Swan, Lethal Weapon, and many more.

During my time of commute I enjoy listening to podcasts, specially StarTalk, Radio Ambulante, Revisionist History, Radiolab, Freakonomics, and PlanetMoney. I also like to spend time on YouTube watching mini celebs in the strenght trainig world, specially the guys at Calgary Barbell.

To sum up, I think I am not too crazy, just crazy enough to trust my intuition and thank the universe for its mercy (or should I say randomness?) and the miracle (or should I say error?) of life, every day.