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“If one does what one is passionate about, the doors will open”

This is what answers Beatriz Vanessa Herrera when asked what is the key to publishing, in a refereed journal such as Food Security, only in her first year as a professional geographer, the article titled Threats to cassava production: known and potential geographic distribution of four key biotic constraints. Beatriz came to CIAT to work in the Policy Analysis Programme (DAPA) as a student of geography at the University of Valle. She came to do an internship, "a requirement set by the universities in order to graduate, but it is much more than that. It is a golden opportunity to begin to be known as a professional and to begin to leave a trace of what we can do as professionals, and to give us a vision of what we would like to continue doing." Making the most of her love for biogeography, "a subject that few people like and which can be basically defined as the distribution of living things on earth", Beatriz focused on combining the internship with the completion of her thesis work in cassava pests, cassava being the third most important crop in the daily diet of billions of people in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa. This thesis was supported by DAPA and HarvestChoice funding, an initiative of the University of Minnesota and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), whose mission is to generate knowledge products which would help guide strategic investments useful to improve the welfare of the poor in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, through a more productive and profitable agriculture. "Writing this thesis has been a very interesting journey that allowed me to learn a lot while serving as a link between experience, accumulated knowledge and expertise of senior researchers, with the use of top digital tools such as the ones offered by new technologies, the same that I have learned and continue learning to use. " And Beatriz had the opportunity to work with Anthony Bellotti, a cassava entomologist, a CIAT emeritus researcher, with almost 4 decades of global experience, and with Glenn Hyman, a geographer of the DAPA Programme. In his company, her following ideas were confirmed: "our work is not about doing things to get a result, it is about doing them to learn from them, to do them well, it’s about doing what we really love and what interests us, so that the results bring us the expected satisfaction and gratification." This is why Beatriz is restless, exploring, trying to link the knowledge and experience of other CIAT programmes to the data management and information systems of her programme, and thus carry out other projects that benefit other key crops for the global diet such as rice and beans. Other articles from Beatriz’s work