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Dr. Ellen Giarelli Presents at International Nursing Conference in Colombia 

December 2, 2013 — Ellen Giarelli in ColumbiaDr. Ellen Giarelli, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions’ graduate nursing program, was invited to the University of Colombia in Bogota, Colombia by the Nursing School’s Dean to give various presentations on Genetic Nursing and Autism Spectrum Disorders at their XVII Seminario Internacional De Cuidado Investigacion: Estrategia Cualificadora del Cuidado (XVII International Research Seminar of Caregiving). All of her travel and per diem expenses were paid for by the University of Colombia.

From November 7-9, she was able to meet many international speakers, faculty, and students who were interested in tapping into Dr. Giarelli’s expertise. While the primary objective of her visit was to give several large presentations, she also took the time to serve as a mentor, offering advice to many international graduate nursing students who were conducting their own research projects.

Before the trip, Dr. Giarelli had concerns about the language barrier, since Spanish is the primary language spoken in Columbia and she does not speak it. However, any concerns she had before boarding the plane immediately dissipated when she was provided with Camilo, a translator who was by her side every step of the way. Camilo was able to effectively translate her oral presentations for the mostly Spanish-speaking audiences. “I was so impressed by the seamlessness and extent of their technology. Their knowledge was so advanced,” said Dr. Giarelli. Her presentations included multimedia and video elements, which were conveyed successfully to all students and faculty via translations through their headphone devices.

There was substantial interest in Dr. Giarelli’s presentation on genetics. The University’s Nursing School at the Bogota campus has a genetics institute, and is trying to develop cutting-edge curricula in order to promote research and education in the field of nursing genetics. As a result, students and faculty were extremely interested in her talk.

What amazed Dr. Giarelli the most, however, was the extent of nursing knowledge that the international students possessed. “They have a top notch nursing program,” elaborated Dr. Giarelli. “I can say that many of those students possessed the knowledge of Drexel and Penn students” she continued.

Apart from her academic work, Dr. Giarelli was also able to visit several historical and architectural attractions, such as the downtown area of La Candelaria, Colombia. “The environment was fascinating,” she said. “They have beautiful architecture and culture which is different than ours. I am looking forward to coming here again,” Dr. Giarelli finished. 


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