Global Seminar Spotlight: Rosalba Rodriguez-Pena
This is a continuation of our "IANR is Global" series, which highlights the many ways internationalization is woven through the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources: through research collaboration, government and private industry partnerships, extension work, student educational experiences and the IANR community from around the world.
This edition is specifically focused on the many global voices we have or have invited to campus who will be sharing their expertise through seminars during fall semester 2020. Rosalba Rodriguez-Pena, plant pathology doctoral student, will be giving a seminar on her research on October 26 at 4:00 p.m. as part of the Department of Plant Pathology’s Fall Seminar Series. We appreciate the expertise we are fortunate to have from all over the world, as shown by their many and varied contributions to the work of the university and our continued mission to create a globally engaged institution. To this end, we want to help our campus community get to know each other (and the world) more, starting with these experts.
Where is home for you? Where did you receive your education?
I am from the Dominican Republic, a beautiful island in the Caribbean Sea. I got my bachelor's degree in agronomic engineering and my master's in integrated pest management both from Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo.
Tell us a little about your path to where you are now.
I worked at (my country’s) Ministry of Agriculture for seven years. My duties included international trade regulations, pest risk assessment, and inspections of quarantine's measures. However, I always found time to do the research side. I participated in projects that focus on the development of biological fungi control. Also, I worked on viral disease distribution and epidemiology. I had the opportunity to meet an excellent Dominican researcher, Graciella Godoy, who guided me to Nebraska's top-notch plant pathology training program to work with the outstanding Dr. Hernan Garcia-Ruiz.
What is something people don't know (or that you wish they knew) about where you're from? I wish people would realize that there are brilliant and very organized people there, in the Dominican Republic.
Why is it important for institutions like the University of Nebraska to create opportunities to hear from people with experience from different parts of the world?
As plant pathologists, we study plant diseases. But I think it is essential to listen to people that deal with the pathogens in the field—about the experiences in disease management and how they want science to help them. Without that, we might find solutions, but not for the real problems in the field.
What is one piece of advice you would share with students, especially those who are interested in an international career?
Being an international student is an arduous journey. It requires being far away from your family and friends; I am here far away from my son and fiancé. If you want to succeed, you need to make sure that this is what you really want. Also, it helps if you have a friend network that supports you during the down periods. Do not be too hard with yourself as you adapt; give yourself time to grow. Try to have good communication with your PI and your peers. You will spend a lot of time with them, so enjoying the time together is vital. Work hard, read a lot, but do not forget to take care of your physical health…just as essential is your mental health. Set aside time to pray, walk in the park, or just lay down on the grass.
We encourage the campus community to attend Rosalba’s webinar at 4:00 p.m. on October 206 via Zoom.
Are you giving a seminar in fall 2020 (or the future) and have an international element to your work, studies or experiences you'd like to share, please contact Brianne at firstname.lastname@example.org.