In part 3 of my interview with LeRoy Larry Jr. he talks about his experiences in Costa Rica.
You were doing research at the University of Costa Rica (UCR)?
-Yes at the Center for Space Research (CINESPA). The research I was doing involved analyzing gamma-rays emanating from supernova remnants with the goal of discovering where cosmic rays originate from.
NOCHE DE ESTRELLAS
Dedicado al Año Internacional de la Luz
Planetario de San José, Universidad de Costa Rica
28 de Noviembre:
Nuevas Misiones del Sistema Solar -Mag. Leonardo Herrera (15pm-15:40pm)
Nueva luz sobre Plutón -Dr. Daniel Azofeifa (15:40pm-16:20pm)
Light from the Galactic Plane -MSc. LeRoy Larry (16:20pm-17pm)
La luz de remanentes de supernovas-Dr. Miguel Araya(17pm-17:40pm)
17pm-18pm: (2 talleres para 15 personas)
Taller de Telescopios-Tec. Eric Sanches
Telescopiada en acera
18pm y 20pm:
Programa Fulldome en el Planetario*
*Las actividades son gratuitas, solo el programa fulldome tiene un costo especial de c2000 y requiere la reservación.
-During this time I was the first professor in the history of the University of Costa Rica to teach physics in English, and the first to give astronomy and astrophysics presentations in English at the Planetarium of San Jose, Costa Rica, in the Planetarium Community Education Outreach Program in Astronomy.
-My application for admission to the Doctorate Program in Astrophysics was denied. The reason given was that my MSc. Degree in Physics was obtained via oral examination and not via thesis. This distinction was not stipulated anywhere in the requirements documentation for admission. My research faculty advisor and I were shocked and completely caught off-guard at my application not being accepted as I possessed all the requirements stipulated in the documentation! Seven months had transpired between the time I submitted my application and when I received notification of the decision.
-During this period I had met numerous times with UCR personnel to ensure that I fulfilled the requirements for admission – at no time did these personnel indicate otherwise to me or my faculty research advisor. I appealed the decision and received an indication from UCR that my appeal contained valid points and the matter would be looked into further. That was five years ago.
What is the status?
-The events that occurred in the United States last year and then spread around the globe caused me to reflect upon what had happened with my application, and I decided to determine if the evaluation of my application contained elements of a discriminatory nature. My application from 2015 has remained on file at UCR. Because my appeal was acknowledged and recognized as valid, my 2015 application, not a new application, is being re-evaluated and I am awaiting a decision at this time.
-My previous faculty research advisor and I have since found out that I was the first graduate student to apply for admission with a MSc. Degree in Physics obtained from another university, Tulane University, which is recognized as a prestigious university throughout the world. I even received a Certificate from UCR acknowledging my MSc. Degree. It has become evident that all graduate students applying for admission to the Doctorate Program are expected to go through the MSc. Program at UCR and to receive their MSc. Degree in Physics from UCR.
-It is understandable for an educational institution to want to provide the opportunity for higher education to students from that country.
Is this to be attained by the exclusion of students not from that country?
-Racial, nationalistic, or any other form of discrimination has no place in any institution especially those whose duty it is to provide the opportunity for higher learning to everyone.
Bruce Callow is a Canadian teacher and co-author of the books To the Stars: Costa Rica in NASA and The Intrepids: Costa Rican Women in Science and Technology. He does space education outreach work on behalf of NASA.