In 1998, at the age of 19, Wilder Escobar traveled almost 4,000 miles from Colombia to Redding, Calif., to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Simpson University.
“I come from a low socioeconomic background, and Simpson gave me an opportunity to study,” he said. “Business seemed like a degree that would help me attain my goals, and it definitely did.”
As a student, Wilder benefited from both his general education and the specialized business classes offered in the program as well as from the social and professional interactions he had the opportunity to take part in.
“While at Simpson, I was immersed in an academic English-speaking environment which brought my second-language (English) proficiency up to a higher level,” he said. “The business major helped me develop social and networking skills while providing general business knowledge useful in everyday life and in my teaching and writing career. Having a business major was the gateway to university teaching.”
During his time at Simpson, Wilder led a six-member student mission team to Brazil and participated in a business internship with the Athletics Department. As a student, he was hired by the Enterprise School District as an instructor for the After School Community Education program (ACE) for which he would later become the coordinator for at Mistletoe School.
“My favorite part of attending Simpson was the people with whom I crossed paths,” he said. “Not only did I learn academic content, but Simpson also presented me with opportunities to grow as a person and reasons to strive for being a good human being.”
After graduating in 2002, Wilder went on to earn his master’s in applied linguistics from Universidad Distrital in Colombia. He has taught at three universities in Colombia, directed a research group, and taught master-level research methodology courses. He has also written numerous scientific journal articles and several peer-reviewed research books concerning quality and justice in education.
“I feel fortunate to have the chance to come back to my home country and share what I’ve learned and to build academic communities for the betterment of life conditions,” he said.
Wilder recently received a full scholarship from the Colombian Department of Science, Technology, and Research (COLCIENCIAS) and the Dean´s scholarship from the University of New York at Buffalo to pursue his Ph.D. in foreign and second language education. After he completes his doctoral program, Wilder will return to Colombia and resume his teaching career at El Bosque University. He will also continue research work as part of his agreement with COLCIENCIAS.