Going for gold made easy by World ORT’s Ecology Summer School


An unforgettable fortnight studying Panama’s stunning wildlife on a World ORT summer camp has helped Valentina Campisi win a scholarship to one of the best engineering schools in Latin America!

The 18-year-old chemistry major was one of 30 participants from Latin America and Spain in last year’s inaugural Ecologia Summer School. Already ahead of many of her peers thanks to the superb education she’s received at ORT Argentina, Valentina found that what she learned at the Summer School helped her to prepare for – and win! – the National Biology Olympiad which, in turn, earned her a scholarship to the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology.

Valentina Campisi gets to grips with local fauna at the World ORT Ecology Summer School.

“We learned a lot about team work with people from different countries and, in my particular case, as I got to do a project about plants, I learned a lot about them. It was a subject that I really did not like before the summer school but after that I was able to see that there was more about it than I expected so it was easier for me to study plants for the Olympiad,” Valentina said.

She and her teammates, Alejo Romano and Ivan Ghiglione, thought they’d do well in the National Biology Olympiad but winning a competition which attracts 300 high school teams, was a life-changing surprise.

“It seemed that to win the gold medal we would have to learn every word in every book but it was not so much about that as it was about team work – working together to solve problems that are beyond one’s capability… I am now planning to study bio-engineering at the Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires where I got a scholarship due to earning the gold medal at the biology Olympiad,” she said.

“For me, winning this competition means a lot. It showed me that I am capable of more than what I thought I was and that team work is always important and always for the best. Also, it showed me the importance of having a good tutor, one who doesn’t encourage us to compete with each other but to try to compete with ourselves in order to improve.”

Dream team: ORT Argentina’s gold medallists at the National Biology olympiad (from left) Ivan Ghiglione, tutor Nancy Ribas, Valentina Campisi, Alejo Romano.

Valentina urged other ORT students to apply for the summer school, which is scheduled for February of each year.

“It’s a very enriching experience where not only do we learn about biology, ecology and science but we also learn about other people’s cultures; we learn to work together, respect each other, be responsible, and, of course, we learn a lot about Panama, which is a country that has one of the world’s highest levels of biodiversity. And while doing all that we make a lot of friends and have a lot of fun!”

Learn more about World ORT Ecology Summer School in Panama here.