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El Salvador risks losing its young scientists

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Currently 44 alumni of the young talent program are studying in different universities around the world, there are also two students who have already been accepted and will soon leave the country. Four of the students were accepted into the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Five received scholarships to study in Japan, including Gerardo Urbina, who recently returned to El Salvador after studying for his bachelor’s and master’s degree at Nagoya University.

The number of students who have gone on scholarship gives an idea of the achievements of the young talent program, says Ernesto Américo Hidalgo, former director of the young talent program and current coordinator of the teaching area of the School of Mathematics at the UES.

The fact that the graduates return to contribute, makes El Salvador have another professional profile. This is why it is important to train students at the best possible level, to compete internationally for positions in universities,” he says.

There are many scholarship students abroad who return to the country during their holidays to help train the youth of the program who are part of the Olympic groups.

“The goal of young talent is to create strategic human material for the country. May your students already have the opportunity to work on difficult problems, such as traffic, logistics, all of that,” says Riquelmi Cardona, who was part of the first generation of Olympians and is now a professor at the School of Mathematics.

Bryan Escalante was part of the Olympic Physics Group, both as a student and instructor, currently studying for a degree in Physics at the Balseiro Institute in Argentina, but has returned during his vacation to support the program.

Before obtaining his scholarship, Bryan had completed the faculty in Mathematics and was a sophomore in physics at the UES. “Leaving the country helps you face situations that change you, academically there are elements we don’t have in the University here.”

For Bryan The Young Talent Program has meant an opportunity for students who have the ability and love the science to study more.

His brother, José Manuel Escalante, was also in the olympic group program. He is currently studying physics at the University of Valencia.

“The program changes your life in a great way. In my case I never imagined that I would meet so many countries, that I would have the pride of representing El Salvador in International Olympics and putting it up, I did not imagine that I would be able to study abroad, that even goes well and ask me what it is that El Salvador has because I am so well prepared”, says José Manuel.

For him, the program is an opportunity for all people who want to overcome themselves and work for the future of the country.

Edgar Ángel Cerón, a student at the UES and an instructor at the biology Olympics, says he knows many fellow students who study with scholarships in other countries. “If it hadn’t been for the program, they wouldn’t have felt able to apply for a scholarship abroad.”

Gerardo, who has already completed his studies in chemistry in Japan, shares that before joining the program he did not know very well what he wanted to study at the University. It was in the program that he first studied chemistry. “I don’t know if I would have developed a passion for chemistry if it weren’t for the program. Until I finished high school I always felt like we didn’t learn chemistry, just memorizing things.”

Unfortunately, both students who are in universities outside the country and those who have returned face not finding space in El Salvador that will allow them to develop everything they have learned due to little investment in science and technology.

” I’d like to go back to El Salvador, but I spend my time wondering what I’m going to do and what institutions can help me, ” Bryan says. His brother agrees that he would like to return to the country. “I would like to give that knowledge that I have received to my country. I’m missing the race because I just started it. My plan is to go back and work for the country, but there are few places.”

For young people like Escalante brothers, no longer returning home and working abroad in research and science can be the most logical bet for their future.

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