Academics

Passion for the Galapagos brings Universidad San Francisco de Quito alumni to Chapel Hill

Two Universidad San Francisco de Quito alumni are beginning graduate school at Carolina after making connections at the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies.

The sign for the UNC-Chapel Hill Galapagos Science Center
The UNC Center for Galapagos Studies and Universidad San Francisco de Quito have a long and mutually beneficial connection. (Photo by Mary Lide Parker)

Two incoming Ph.D. students share a love for South America and the intricate ecosystems and wildlife that support it. Isabel Silva Romero and Diego Urquía are joining the University as international students thanks to a longstanding connection between the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies and Universidad San Francisco de Quito, where the pair completed their undergraduate studies.

Both Silva Romero and Urquía grew up exploring nature and saw the effect of tourism on ecosystems. Silva Romero, who is from Salinas, Ecuador, which draws thousands of tourists each year, grew up going to the beach and exploring tidal pools every chance she had. Her parents — who work in the fields of marine biology and geology — cultivated a sense of respect for the environment and its complexities in their children.

Urquía came to Carolina thanks to the encouragement of Corbin Jones, a professor in the department of biology and faculty director of Genomic Technologies. From Quito, Ecuador, Urquía also spent his childhood exploring the outdoors.

Read more about Silva Romero and Urquía.