Carmen is a graduate of the Master’s degree program in Educational Technology by Tecnológico de Monterrey and UBC, and graduated with honors in English Language and Literature by Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua; she is currently Head of Foreign Languages at Prepa Tec CEGL, Leader of Foreign Languages regionally, and member of the National Academy of Foreign Languages for the Prepa Tec system.
She has taught English for more than 30 years, is an examiner for the International Baccalaureate and has taught from kindergarten level to Ph. D. programs. She wrote a Bachelor’s degree research leading to the development of a children’s picture dictionary, a Master’s degree thesis on the use of technological tools for foreign language learning, articles on teaching poetry in the classroom, and reviews for different Mexican poets; she has offered conferences and lectures in Mexico and the US. She currently teaches American, British and Post-colonial literature.
She has collaborated in the design of online courses in different languages and on Competence-Based Education, has trained and led international teachers, and has participated in meetings in the UK and the Netherlands for standardization and curriculum development projects; she has also offered webinars on assessment.
Carmen and her husband, Rafael Cárdenas Aldrete, promote readership and creative writing through Poetazos, a light-hearted humorous editorial concept that fosters a positive contact with literature. They have published emerging and consolidated writers from Latin America and Europe.
She is delighted to be UBC Global Alumni Ambassador for Monterrey, Mexico.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
I approached the UBC as part of my online studies as a Master of Educational Technology at Tecnológico de Monterrey. The possibility of graduating with a joint degree from both universities was particularly interesting for me, as I have always admired the Canadian people and culture for their kindness, friendliness and strong sense of organization.
My studies in this joint program provided both an additional challenge and a great satisfaction. Yet, the most amazing part has happened over the last thirteen years: through its continued communication, activities, and initiatives, the Global Alumni Network of the UBC has allowed me to feel as a part of a community that actively engages in making sure the world becomes a better place through intercultural understanding, a deep awareness for the preservation of the environment and a huge sense of commitment towards the world in general. Thus, I’ve learned that the mission of the UBC did not conclude when I graduated and became the proud holder of a diploma displaying a degree of both institutions; the UBC makes every effort to keep its alumni connected and relevant every day. The feeling is wonderful!
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
Since I graduated, my Master’s degree allowed me to become the Head of Foreign Languages, at Prepa Tec Campus Eugenio Garza Lagüera, where I still make sure I continue to share a message of intercultural understanding. I have worked intensively in curriculum and course design both nationally and overseas. Also, I have worked as senior examiner, course developer, and content contributor for international organizations and editorial houses, such as the International Baccalaureate, Pamoya Education, Pearson and Oxford University Press. I have taught courses at a diversity of levels, and participated at international meetings in the UK and the Netherlands for standardization and curriculum development projects. I have had the pleasure of training teachers and examiners from different parts of the world.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Inclusion and equity are two elements that are key in my job on a daily basis. I try to find the opportunity to discuss these issues every day with my students in the courses I teach on English literature. When we discuss identity, customs, traditions and how they have undergone transformations throughout the centuries, my students’ eyes shine with wonder and curiosity. I make sure that what they learn becomes relevant and meaningful, so that they develop a sense of tolerance and understanding.
Recently, in the context of the pandemic, my team of teachers participated in a collaborative effort with the human development department of our school, in order to guide our students in the design of a website where they created free online Math, Spanish and English content, activities and materials to aid teachers of elementary education in their online classes during the pandemic.
Also at the high school I work for, I have been assigned a role at the inclusion committee, and a student extracurricular group invited me to be their guiding counselor, as they are aware that I am passionate about making sure students with disabilities do not miss out on every opportunity our school can offer them. It has been a very satisfying journey.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Once you graduate from the UBC, you will discover your relationship with this institution is strong and meaningful. You will feel you have become part of a community that cares for you and for the world in general.
Today’s global problems demand actions of international collaboration; if we keep reinforcing ties and teamwork with other cultures, we will be in a better position to find more sensible, multidisciplinary solutions for the challenges we face in own communities. Make every effort to collaborate both locally and internationally, so that we together can foster understanding, creativity and kindness.