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News 2 > Global Student Prize - Finalists > 2023 Finalists Global Student Prize > Santiago Paez

Santiago Páez

Santiago Páez lives in Colombia, studies Natural Sciences at the Universidad de La Sabana and his passion is astronomy. He has four siblings and a mother who has been responsible for supporting them with great effort amid difficulties. 

His story began in Chaparral-Tolima. There he finished primary school in a rural school and started secondary school in the town centre. With his mother and his twin brother, they moved first to Villavicencio and then to Bogotá in search of better opportunities and quality of life, where he finished high school and, thanks to a public fund from the Bogotá Ministry of Education, was able to enter university. 

During his career at the Universidad de La Sabana, Santiago has stood out for his academic excellence, the accompaniment of his classmates and the perseverance that has allowed him to participate in different projects. He has tutored scholarship students in different subjects and is the author of several academic articles, including one he wrote with his teacher during high school in which he highlights his educational trajectory: "Spectrography from a district school: reaching for the stars with our feet firmly on the ground". 

Santiago is training to be a teacher and thanks to the support of his teachers and his curiosity, he has carried out projects related to astronomy and science education, being one of the three responsible for the design of the evaluation strategy of the programme "Learn at Home with Maloka" of the Interactive Museum Maloka, in order to complement the teaching and learning process of science in students of rural schools in the city of Bogota.  

Another of his major achievements is leading the first Regional Astronautical Festival Sopó 2021 in Colombia; a scientific dissemination event attended by more than 800 people and supported by the country's Air Force. In addition, he has achieved a provisional discovery (in the process of confirmation over the next 6-10 years) of an asteroid with his research group and has led the "Proyéctate" programme of the Bachelor's Degree in Natural Sciences, in which school students are motivated to enter university through guidance on study tools, financial intelligence, time management, environmental education and STEM education. 

Currently, he is doing his graduate work on teaching about exoplanets in spaces such as the Planetarium of Bogotá and continues to carry out projects in science, astronomical observations and STEM education for rural schools. Although part of his family has had to migrate to another country, they have always supported him. Santiago will be part of the first generation of his family to graduate from university. 

Santiago dreams of continuing to teach and pursue postgraduate studies in astrophysics. But above all, he dreams of being able to give back to his community for the opportunities that have allowed him access to education and to find his great passion for science, teamwork, perseverance and wonder. 

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