Inquiring Young Minds

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Victor Orellana

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Inquiring Young Minds

Victor Orellana


Victor Orellana

Victor Orellana came to the University of Georgia as a biochemistry major and completed a CURO research apprenticeship during his freshman year under the direction of Carl Bergmann, associate research scientist at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center. After switching his major to kinesiology he decided to pursue a very different line of inquiry.

“CURO presented the only opportunity for me to do real research as an entering freshman. I applied, got in, and worked for Dr. Bergmann for two years as a CURO apprentice doing biochemistry experiments,” says Orellana. “Through all that, I heard about the CURO summer fellowships and had an idea for a project, so I went from there.”

Under the guidance of Nicolás Lucero, an assistant professor in the Romance languages department, Orellana took a close look at La Araucana, a Renaissance-era story he knew through his family’s connection to Chile. Orellana’s father is from Chile and many relatives still reside there.

La Araucana is important to Chile because of her fight for independence from Spain” he says. “In the late 18th and early 19th century, a lot of the revolutionaries in Chile read La Araucana because it was a story of fighting off Spanish tyranny and demanding freedom in their lands, even if it cost their lives. The most recognizable heroes of the poem are the Mapuche warriors, and these warriors were a huge inspiration to the colonials to keep fighting,” explains Orellana. “Now, they are among the most recognized names in the country, especially among romantic history buffs and Chilean patriots.”

Orellana hopes to attend medical school after graduation, but values the chance CURO gave him to conduct some literary sleuthing and broaden his understanding of society.



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