Destinos Brillantes

October 2018

Hello again,

I hope you are all enjoying our beautiful October, with the rains behind us and the town sparkling clean and green! 
We never had a “down” season at Jóvenes — we have been as busy as ever getting the new students settled in, and we are already laying the groundwork for the recruitment of next year’s intake! I hope you enjoy this recap of our recent highlights:
  • Profile of the Month: Erika Lizeth Banca Ceja
  • Destinos Brillantes
  • The Board Welcomes New Staff
  • Writers Needed!
Happy reading, and all the best as we head in to Dia de Muertos season!


Angélica Argüelles García

Profile of the Month:

Erika Lizeth Banca Ceja

When Lizeth Banca Ceja arrived back in San Miguel from Bogotá, her eyelids were drooping with the late-night travel, but her mind was open wide with the persons, places, and experiences she had encountered in the last two months abroad.

Thanks to grants from the Mexican government and Jóvenes Adelante, this Universidad de Guanajuato undergraduate in biochemistry had been advancing her studies in the lab of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá. With the aid of an internationally recognized scientist, Dr. Claudia Parra, Lizeth had entered a field new to her: mycology, the study of funguses. In addition to learning more about infectious diseases by injecting candida albicans into larvae, she was taught how to diagnose problematic samples of blood and urine, collected at local hospitals, contaminated by destructive micro-organisms.

Dr. Parra graciously included Lizeth in her travel plans, and together they attended congresses and seminars outside Bogota. Lizeth found Colombian academics more open than their Mexican counterparts, happier to work in teams. In contrast, and much to her surprise, her fellow students were more formal, consistently using the Usted form of speech with people their own age and status.

Although she was often homesick, Lizeth tackled the many “first time” experiences with enthusiasm. The working hours were long but weekends brought the thrill of cultural exploration and social activities. Her homestay family was friendly and helpful, often taking her on trips around the city in their car. The center of Bogota offered many beautiful—and secure—historical sites and museums. Lizeth found she could walk without trepidation the thirty minutes from her home-stay to the laboratory.

To her slight dismay, she found her light clothing to be inadequate for Bogota’s high elevation climate. At 8,600 feet, it is one of the highest capital cities in the world and has only one season in its year: chilly! The sun sets at 6.15pm like clockwork and the air cools quickly. Lizeth managed by wearing her warmest clothes, in multiple layers, day after day throughout her stay. She laughs about it now, saying, “The people of Colombia are far warmer than the climate!”

What was the greatest benefit that Liz derived from her visit? Without doubt, it was confirmation that she has chosen the right career for herself.

And now? Liz must complete 480 hours of social service to qualify for her degree. This she will do in Queretaro with a company named Pharmaservice where a wide range of injectable medications are produced for sale in Mexico and throughout Latin America. By coincidence, it is a Colombian company that opened its doors in Mexico three years ago. With only 200 employees at present, it is expanding quickly. Once her social service is complete, Liz may be offered a full-time paid position there. If so, she plans to work there for a year, to repay her family for the sacrifices they have made for her career. Hopefully, from there, a Master’s degree!

Jóvenes Adelante provides a platform for higher education and development of life skills for talented, economically disadvantaged San Miguel de Allende youth through scholarships and other means of support. For more information, please contact Executive Director Angelica Argüelles Garcia at

Student Successes!

Name: Fatima Guadalupe Moya Hernández

Major: Odontology

University: Universidad Cuauhtémoc

Campus: Querétaro

Grad Date: June 2022

Fatima started university in Queretaro and has settled in well. She found a great living situation through her mentor and has learned her way around the city well enough to accumulate all the materials she needs for school. She misses her family a lot but returns to San Miguel on weekends and appreciates the regular support of her mentor.

Name: Ilse Stephania Guerrero Rangel

Career: Environmental Engineering

University: Universidad de Guanajuato

Campus: Guanajuato

Ilse is finding her first semester very busy but she is very comfortable with her decision to study Political Science. She is juggling her workload to make time to attend talks, conferences and book presentations given by her teachers. She is currently researching the socioeconomic situation in Guanajuato state, and wants to become more involved both in political events and in the work of non-government organizations of San Miguel.

Name: Nancy Morales Mendieta

Major: Tourism Resource Management

University: Universidad de Guanajuato

Campus: Guanajuato

Grad Date: June 2020

Nancy has been working with museums, conducting surveys to underpin a market analysis. She has especially enjoyed learning about marketing the services and finds it fascinating to learn how to position a product or service – how to make it necessary for the consumer. She is excited to see that what she learned in past semesters is serving her well now, even though the subject matter was complicated at the time.


Name: Luis Fabián Arroyo Ferreyra

Major: Public Accounting

University: Universidad Tecnológica del Norte de Guanajuato

Campus: Dolores Hidalgo

Grad Date: August 2020

Fabián has just completed his four-month professional practice period at the Rosewood Hotel. He was attached to the staff training and development department, and participated in the Hospitality Committee that plans special events. He also contributed through a project to improve compliance with government regulations around staff training. He is grateful to have met many people who shared their personal experiences and knowledge.

Name: Karina del Carmen Rioyos Muñoz

Major: Industrial Relationships

University: Universidad de Guanajuato

Campus: Guanajuato

Grad Date: July 2020

Karina is taking 7 courses at the University of Guanajuato and continues to maintain a GPA of 9.5. She is working on her thesis which still in progress. Coming up, she hopes to travel to Poland in early December, as one of ten students invited by the United Nations Conference of Youth to attend an annual gathering of young people who are passionate about climate change and environmental topics.
Jóvenes Adelante Board
Welcomes New Staff

The Board of Jóvenes Adelante is delighted to announce the recent changes to its staffing structure. The departure of Student Programs Coordinator Laura Lopez, who left for personal reasons in August, coupled with the anticipated departure of Student Relations Coordinator Diana Cadena, a JA graduate who plans now to embark on her chosen career as a teacher, provided an opportunity to restructure both job descriptions and reporting relationships.

This exciting transformation began with redefining the roles related to the office’s two main activities: recruitment and selection of qualified students, and support of students while they are in the program. Reflecting the increasing professionalization of the JA office, these roles are now better aligned with both current demands and the potential growth of its operations.  

Following a rigorous external recruitment process, the Board selected Dulce Monserrat Cerritos Bustamante and Ada Saray Martínez Tellez to join the JA family, Dulce as Selection Process Coordinator and Saray as Student Relations Coordinator.

Dulce Monserrat Cerritos Bustamante
Selection Process Coordinator
Dulce comes from twelve years in a high-stress management position in the private sector. Her organizational skills and "grace under fire" approach make her a perfect fit for the challenges of student recruitment and selection. She knows first-hand the challenges faced by JA applicants. She excelled in her Computer Science studies, but with a scholarship that provided only two years of support, she was compelled to postpone completion of her degree. She found work with a produce company, hoping to save money to follow her dream. Fortunately, her talents were swiftly recognized and she enjoyed continuing growth and professional development as she worked her way up the ladder. Dulce now welcomes the chance to help other students succeed where she missed out, saying, "I see myself in each applicant and I know how they feel. For me, it's a gift to be part of an organization that will ensure their success."
Ada Saray Martínez Téllez
Student Relations Coordinator
Saray has a degree in Psychology and spent several months with Corazon Valiente before joining JA. Her focus there was to provide the holistic, individualized support that enabled children – mostly girls -- to transform their life trajectories. She was involved in every aspect of the Corazon Valiente program, from health to education to life skills development. Now as JA’s Student Relations Coordinator, Saray embraces the chance to assist each JA student reach their full potential. She believes, “It’s not simply about academic achievement – it’s about seeing past your pre-set limits, opening your mind to the world and achieving even more than you thought you could.”

Filling both positions simultaneously has already created a stronger, more dynamic team environment. Dulce and Saray bring a fresh perspective to office operations and new ideas about how to improve and expand student support. Executive Director Angelica Argüelles Garcia looks forward with optimism, reporting that “While losing two valuable staff members was hard, we have been so fortunate with our recruitment. Dulce and Saray are quick learners and fit easily into our team, already sharing the workload and decision-making. We are all excited about the work we can do together!”

Jóvenes Adelante provides a platform for higher education and development of life skills for economically disadvantaged high achievers from San Miguel de Allende through scholarships and comprehensive, individualized support. For more information, please contact Executive Director Angelica Argüelles Garcia at

 Writers Needed!
Do you have experience with journalism or creative writing? JA needs you! We have a long list of wonderful stories, just waiting to be told! Please email Kate Greenaway at
Contact Us
415 150-0030 Office
415 117-3006 Cell

512 221-1687 USA/Canada

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