WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW WITH LORENA CHIN? Lorena is now in the midst of her 7th semester in her study of business administration at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (UPS). Lorena’s grades are excellent, and she was one of the students chosen last year to attend an international congress of students at Cuenca in the south of Ecuador. She should be graduating in about a year and a half. We note that the matriculation costs at UPS have doubled since we starting supporting Gaby Lima and Veronica Guamba there in 2008, from $1000 to $2000 a semester.
Lorena Chin, her three younger sisters, and her newly born brother are “Center kids”. Lorena’s mother and father, María Buñay and Rudolfo Chin, are directors of the day-to-day operations of one of the two sites of the Working Boys’ Center in Quito. Her father Rudolfo was raised in the Center because he and his siblings were orphaned as children, and then adopted and raised by the Center’s directors. Lorena has always been an extraordinarily good student. She graduated from the Center in 2008 with the best grades in a class full of very good students. After leaving the Center, she enrolled in a very good high school to finish her last three years. Once again her work was extremely good; she was among the best four students in a graduating class of about 150.
Lorena wants to study business administration and accounting. She enjoys mathematics and its applications in economics. She took the national entrance exams for universities in 2012 and did very well, so well in fact that she was given a place in the medical school at the national university. But, as Lorena told us, “I don’t want to be a doctor; I really want to study business and be an accountant.” So she decided to enroll instead at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (UPS), one of the better private universities in Quito. (It is run by the Salesians, an Italian order of Catholic religious educators, founded by Don Bosco.) Two of our students, Gabriela Lima and Verónica Guamba, attended and are now graduating from the UPS. We have been impressed by the quality of education at UPS and the dedication of UPS professors and administrators to the well-being of their students. In the experience of the Fund, this is a sharp contrast to the public universities. Of course, tuitions are considerably higher at UPS, though very low by US standards. Now, the matriculation costs at UPS for a normal load of classes is about $1000 per semester. So we think choosing UPS is a very good decision on Lorena’s part. But then, of course, she will need $2000 to be able to attend.
While Lorena’s parents do have quite decent jobs, the cost of UPS challenges their budget, especially since their second daughter Belén is also a very good student and will graduate from high school this year. We discussed this with Rudolfo, María, and Lorena, and came up with a plan that we all think will help manage the situation. The Fund proposes to pay costs of Lorena’s matriculation, and the Chins will pay the day-to-day costs of maintaining a student.
We enjoy working with Lorena a great deal. She is inquisitive and creative. She doesn’t settle for easy, over-simplified answers, and enjoys working at difficult material. She resembles in her intelligence and attitudes very good students that Mike taught during his 30 years at the University of Wisconsin.