High school is an opportunity to dream big, to fantasize about traveling the globe or changing the world. For Carmen Gloria Catalan (CG), those youthful dreams became reality. CG, who grew up in Chile, dreamed of attending graduate school in the United States. She received her undergraduate degree in business from Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez in Santiago, Chile, where she studied under several professors who received graduate degrees at U.S. universities.
After completing her five-year undergraduate business program, CG considered a masters of business administration, but was hesitant. The curriculum for many of the programs she researched failed to integrate the diverse elements at play in the business world. CG's husband, Alan, had majored in Latin American studies at San Diego State University and encouraged her to look at UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy. She was intrigued by the school's masters of public and international affairs program, which offered a more holistic education with a curriculum that bridged political science, international relations, and courses focused on Latin America. CG applied and received a merit-based fellowship. In 2002, she and Alan moved from Chile to San Diego.
The environment CG found on campus was a welcome change. After the relatively homogenous culture she was used to in Chile, the incredible diversity of the students, faculty, and staff at UC San Diego allowed her to better understand the immensity of the world and appreciate the factors that contribute to international business. The case studies and interactive classes expanded on CG's undergraduate work, incorporating business, political, economic, and sociocultural elements. CG was thrilled to see the program's growth on a recent visit to San Diego from her home base in New York: there are even more international outreach, career services, alumni programs, and other initiatives available for new and current students, as well as professional development for graduates.
"I am extremely thankful for my experience at the School of Global Policy and Strategy," CG says. "My education prepared me to restart my career here in the US."
CG and Alan have begun estate planning, and believe that supporting education enables students from varied backgrounds to participate in our increasingly global society. They hope that their philanthropic plan helps alleviate socio-economic disparities and improve tolerance and inclusivity. In particular, they are committed to supporting Latin American students pursuing degrees in the U.S. CG believes that giving these students an education is just the tip of the iceberg, and that the life experiences are just as impactful.
"Education makes society more inclusive and tolerant of others' cultures," CG says. "We hope that our planned gifts provide students with opportunities to experience multiple cultures, backgrounds, and ways of thinking so they can contribute to the future of our world."