Almost 20 years ago, the University of California, the UC Institute for Mexico, and the United States National Council on Science and Technology began collaborating to create UC MEXUS-CONACYT to attract top graduate student talent from Mexico.
“It’s been an incredible program; we consider it the model program,” said Dr. Wendy DeBoer, Director of Academic Programs at UC MEXUS. “Berkeley has always been among the top campuses attracting fellows.”
UC Berkeley has hosted 61 scholars — the second largest number of fellows of any campus since the program started in 1997, according to DeBoer.
UC MEXUS-CONACYT Doctoral Fellowships provide up to five years of funding for Mexican students pursuing doctoral studies at any of the ten University of California campuses. Funding includes non-resident tuition and fees, a stipend, and support toward health insurance. Students can study in nearly all academic disciplines, including:
- Biological Sciences
- Earth Sciences
- Environmental Studies
- Physical Sciences
- Social Sciences
- Urban Planning
“Berkeley has always been among the top campuses attracting fellows.” — Dr. Wendy DeBoer, UC MEXUS
A current UC MEXUS-CONACYT fellow is Octavio Narváez-Aroche, a doctorate candidate in his second year, studying mechanical engineering in the Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory. He also studies under Professor Homayoon Kazerooni.
“I feel privileged, honored and humbled to be accepted at Berkeley, and to find out I would get support from UC Berkeley,” said Narváez-Aroche, who is passionate about exoskeletons. His current project involves researching control algorithms to make an individual’s gait cycle more robust. “I enjoy helping people walk again,” Narváez-Aroche. “It’s difficult but fun.”
Narváez-Aroche applied more than once before becoming accepted but said it is worth the effort to work at this level at UC Berkeley. The Mexico native plans to graduate in May 2018. He encourages more Mexicans to apply to this program.
For Nelson Augusto Berrocal Quezada, living and studying in Berkeley as a UC MEXUS-CONACYT fellow has been one of his greatest experiences. Quezada is pursuing a doctorate in Molecular and Cell Biology.
“My immersion in the biological research at UC Berkeley — one that is changing the world and our understanding of the very bases of life — has been the most enjoyable intellectual adventures in my life,” said Quezada.