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[xmca] Sad news about a talented and humane colleague and friend
With deep regret, we want to inform the xmca community of the death, on October 6, 2012, of Jorge Fernando Larreamendy Joerns (at age 47), after a brief illness in Bogotá, Colombia. His survivors include his son (Marcelo) and daughter (Tatiana), his mother and two brothers. He also leaves many colleagues, students, and friends in Colombia, the United States and many other countries.
Jorge was a professor at the University of Valle, then obtained his PhD in education from the University of Pittsburgh. His doctoral work was supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship. He joined the University of the Andes, Bogotá, in August 1999 as a professor in the Department of Psychology, and in 2005 was appointed Director of this department. Ten years ago, he returned to Pittsburgh briefly for a postdoctoral fellowship at LRDC. He recently served as one of the co-editors of MCA.
>From Ellice Forman and Martin Packer
One of Jorge's former students, Javier Corredor, who also did his Ph.D. work at the University of Pittsburgh composed the following, longer message about him. Javier's obituary follows:
Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns, associate professor of Psychology at Universidad de los Andes, passed away in the early morning of October, 6, 2012. He was born on July 29, 1965 and grew up in Cali, Colombia, where he attended Universidad del Valle. There, he was without doubt the best student in his class based on his academic record and on the lasting memories he left with his classmates and professors. During those years, he worked under the philosopher Estanislao Zuleta, under whom he developed a deep understanding of psychoanalytic approaches in psychology, and of continental philosophy. This early experience created in him a fascination for interdisciplinary work grounded in big questions. He always enjoyed going back to the classics and found inspiration in original sources. From 1992 to 1996, he attended University of Pittsburgh as a Fulbright scholar. He obtained a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, under Ellice Forman along with Stellan Ohlsson. One part of his basic work during those years focused on understanding learning mathematics through collaborative reasoning. His dissertation work, supported by the highly prestigious Spencer foundation, is captured by the title, “Learning Science from Text: Effects of Theory and Examples of Students’ Explanation.” He was also an “unofficial” member of the Cognitive Studies student group; there, other students were also working on the role of examples or on explanations. After returning to Colombia, he worked at Universidad del Valle, Universidad de los Andes and Universidad Nacional where he inspired many to devote their lives to research and to pursue academic careers that addressed Latin American questions while looking for global relevance. His work as a mentor and example changed the way psychology is seen in Colombia. He returned to Pittsburgh in 2003 as a visiting professor at LRDC where he worked with Gaea Leinhardt. During this period his research focused on online education, and how it is changing the teaching and learning of subject matter in several domains, including formal logic, chemistry, and statistics. After returning in 2005 to Colombia, he served as the chair of the psychology department at Universidad de los Andes, and as an editor of Mind, Culture and Activity. Jorge Larreamendy-Joerns´ work spreads across several learning domains and goes back to recurrent topics: the way that the history of the disciplines shapes disciplinary thought, the connection between social interaction, narrative and identity in learning, and the parallel between evolutionary debates in biology and developmental debates in psychology and education. His friends around the world will always remember his sharp humor and the way he explained complex issues with simple stories. Jorge was a great man and great friend, who never denied anyone a second of his time when it came to support and teach. He will be greatly missed. His Mother, Brother, and two children survive him.
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