Hola! My name is Alejandro Cárdenas-Avendaño and I am an undergraduate student at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogotá, Colombia. I recently completed a three-week internship with Universe Awareness (UNAWE) at the organisation’s International Office, which is based at Leiden University, the Netherlands.
I started my physics major in 2009, which was also the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009). During IYA2009, I participated in many projects in Colombia and this is how I first came across the UNAWE programme. I think the UNAWE activities during IYA2009 were the most important ones, because they introduced many children to the cosmos and science. Since then, I had been looking for an opportunity to work with UNAWE.
I worked on two different projects during my visit to Leiden: a repository for open educational resources (OERs), and another to quantify the number of scientific papers in astronomy published each year in different countries, particularly in the developing world. I will continue to contribute to both of these interesting and valuable projects from Colombia. In particular, there is a clear need for a repository for OERs that assures the quality of open material, which will reduce the inequalities in education around the world.
During my internship, I also had the opportunity to participate in many physics and astronomy colloquia that were held in Leiden University. The International Office of UNAWE is immersed in an academic atmosphere that is perfect for developing good ideas and for conducting research!
I would like to thank Pedro Russo, George Miley and the rest of the UNAWE team for teaching me so much during my internship. Following this experience, I am confident that I can develop more UNAWE activities and help to promote astronomy in my home country. UNAWE is a terrific international organisation that uses astronomy as a tool to inspire children with science. I believe that education is an ideal vehicle to create a more inclusive world.