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Featured Alumni: Edurne Ponce de León

Our 'Featured Alumni' section aims to showcase Oxford Alumni based in Mexico. By doing so, we promote a more dynamic alumni community, socially and professionally.

Tell us about you. My name is Edurne Ponce de León Tazón. I hold a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Universidad Iberoamericana, an MSc. degree in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford and I recently completed another master's degree on Public Management at Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE). I am a big fan of reading, dancing, coffee, chocolate, dogs and spending time with my family and friends.

What did you study at Oxford? At Oxford I did a Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management (ECM) at the Environmental Change Institute, which is part of the School of Geography and the Environment (SOGE).

What was your research focus? While doing my dissertation, I traveled to Quintana Roo to analyse the possibility of crafting public policy on climate change adaptation. I interviewed people from different backgrounds and views on the issue: the public and private sectors, non-governmental organisations, media representatives, scientists, and indigenous groups, among others, as I was interested in "boundary judgments" that are often involved in the policy-making processes.

Matriculation Year: 2010

College: St. Catherine's College

What is your current job?

I am currently the Chief of Staff to Commissioner Adrián Franco Zevada at the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV).

Name your five favourite places/activities in Oxford:

  1. The Vaults & Garden Cafe.

  2. The Magdalen Meadows.

  3. Having hot chocolate at Georgina's Cafe (Covered Market).

  4. The 'evensong' at Merton College on Sundays.

  5. The Missing Bean.

Who was your favorite academic/professor? My thesis supervisor: Dr. Ariella Helfgott.

What was your favorite library? I liked studying at home as I am not the type of person who can focus on one thing for a long time and often need to have a cup of tea or chill for five or ten minutes while walking around, listening to music. Oxford is full of breathtaking libraries, though.

What was the biggest surprise about living and studying in Oxford? The opportunity to meet wonderful people from so many countries around the world; getting to know myself better and knowing I can adapt to situations I didn't think I could; discovering that I should not ride a bike while stressed as I tend to fall easily...

Describe one life-changing lesson that you learned when living in Oxford. In order to fully understand somebody, one should really make a big effort to try to look at things from their perspective.

What would you like the Oxford Alumni Association in Mexico to focus on? Maybe working with other British Universities' alumni associations; that could probably present an opportunity to join interesting activities organized by other groups and improve networking.

What would you recommend to Mexicans that are planning to apply to Oxford?

  1. Do some research on all colleges: they all offer different things and the "Oxford experience" is strongly influenced by the College you choose.

  2. Plan in advance and save as much money as you can.

  3. Always have in mind that you will have to study a lot; however, try to reach an equilibrium and save some time for having fun.

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