Education during the Pandemic, a Challenge Met and Overcome by Drummond Scholarship Winners

Cienaga, September 8, 2020

*The company, which has continued its operations and social programs, keeps a close watch on its scholarship winners as they do a great job with their college studies and keep moving forward in these complex times, becoming examples of hard work and success.

Currently, out of the 150 students who are a part of this project, 56 have graduated or are waiting for their degrees, while others continue with their academic programs.

During the COVID-19 emergency, Drummond Ltd. continues to support its social programs. One example of this is the Scholarship Program that, in addition to paying for the entire tuition, provides a subsidy for living expenses. It now offers psycho-social support and assistance with technology. By means of calls and virtual follow-up it encourages and
motivates all of the young students to hold on to their scholarships and to continue to meet the academic requirements for the semester.

Young people who continue to perform

Andrea Carolina Corzo, a Drummond scholarship winner in 2015, talks
about the difficulties and challenges she has faced during the pandemic:
“At the beginning it was really hard to adapt. We were used to in-person
classes, and since I live in the town of Cuatro Vientos (El Paso, Cesar) and
our Internet coverage is not very good, I had to go to our neighbor’s
house, where they have Wi-Fi. It was really stressful, and it was difficult not having Internet at home.”

Andrea, who is currently in her ninth semester of mining engineering, says, “The pandemic has definitely affected us. My mother is self-employed, and hasn’t been able to work as much as she used to. Thanks to the subsidy for living expenses Drummond gives us each month, we have been able to keep going, and I have obtained the tools I need for my school work: I have my cell phone, the computer I have almost finished paying for, and better Internet service.” As part of her studies she has been able to participate in a research program at her university, where she had an opportunity to
present her project at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and also at Colciencias.

She is currently working as a young researcher and continues to work hard using this new virtual mode of education. “Another opportunity came up for an exchange with the University of Mexico, and we did it virtually. At the beginning I was really scared, but the experience was wonderful. I met people, colleagues from different cultures, and I learned a lot. Now, starting ninth semester, an opportunity has come up to take two courses at Universidad Catolica de Peru Santa Maria.”

Like Andrea, Maria Alejandra Contreras, business administration student
at Universidad del Magdalena and a Drummond scholarship winner 2020,
reflects on what has been the hardest thing during this stage. “The most
difficult thing about college has been this new way of going to school.
Sometimes it’s easier when the professor explains things to you directly instead of just seeing him on a screen. And being shut in has been hard, since we can’t live a normal life.”

Before starting college, Maria Alejandra, a native of Sevilla in Zona Bananera, Magdalena, participated in the ‘Planting for the Future’ project. It’s a company-supported program to recover agricultural traditions by facilitating social relations and strengthening the municipal economy by forging connections between higher education and the working world.

It’s another thing that has made Maria Alejandra stand out in her community as an example of effort and perseverance. “We have to do school this way, because it’s what’s best for everyone. I’m very grateful to Drummond for its help. They have always kept an eye out for me, helping me with everything I need. I’m grateful for their support and help
with living expenses, because it’s what has made it possible to have the tools and skills I need to make this new form of education work for me,” she expressed.

Sandri Vivas Paredes explained what it was like to graduate in geological
engineering in the midst of the pandemic and continue with her career:
“The work I do can’t be done via telework. I have to be at the mine. Of
course, we are very careful and we follow all of the biosafety protocols
in order to take care of ourselves and take care of others. I graduated on
May 29 this year, and in July I was already working at the company.”

During her academic career, Sandri, from Agustin Codazzi (Cesar), scholarship winner in 2013, did very well academically, and also went on two exchange trips to Peru. The first one was with Universidad Mayor de San Marcos and the second one with Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria. “My ambition is to continue here, giving the best of me, so that wherever I go, my own name and the name of the company that has always sponsored
me will be in good standing.”

Drummond likes to give scholarship recipients an opportunity for an internship. So far, 31 of the 150 students who have participated in the program have been company interns, and 15 of them are currently directly employed by the company.

Drummond will continue to work in favor of quality education in its areas of influence, a strategy aligned with the fourth Sustainable Development Goal on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Agenda.