2013-2014 shows the MALAS program with a strong and diverse array of students. Among these students is Amie Belmont, whose concentrations are Anthropology (Ethnology) and Spanish Linguistics. Amie brings a diverse background to the program, with understanding and enthusiasm gained from diverse academic and personal experiences.
During her time as an International Studies and Spanish major at the University of Wyoming, Amie was exposed to the languages, cultures, and institutions of Latin America not only through her course work but also through her participation in educational exchange programs in various countries. In the summer of 2009, Amie attended intensive language and culture courses in Alajuela, Costa Rica, and São Paulo, Brazil. Additionally, Amie spent the 2010-2011 academic year in Cholula, Mexico, studying at the Universidad de las Americas: Puebla.
Contacts made during her year in Mexico facilitated her undergraduate senior thesis project in Tepito, a marginalized barrio in Mexico City. Amie's paper, titled "Tepito. Identity, Community, and Development," explored the Defeño perspective on Tepito, its effects on the identity of Tepito residents, and the ways through which this identity is mobilized to sustain the development that maintains Tepito in an increasingly gentrified city.
Amie is now in her second year of study as a MALAS student, concentrating in Anthropology and Spanish Linguistics. The ways in which language and culture interact in the form of discourse continue to be the focus of her studies. In addition to her work with the Latin American & Iberian Institute, Amie is a teaching assistant in the Spanish and Portuguese department, where she teaches multiple sections of Spanish 101 and 102. Amie is also a supervisor of the UNM Resolanas, a program which plans and executes cultural events to supplement UNM's Spanish language curriculum. The events range from documentary screenings and readings to board games and music. The program is designed to ensure that students not only have exposure to the Spanish language but also that they possess cultural literacy of the Spanish-speaking world. Amie puts to use her Spanish language and cultural knowledge outside of the University of New Mexico as well. During the summer of 2013, she worked as a Migrant Farmworker Outreach Specialist with Legal Aid of Western Ohio. The law firm advocates for the underserved communities of migrant farm workers and seeks to ensure that those communities are aware of and have access to their rights.
Ultimately, Amie hopes to continue her studies on language, culture, and discourse in a way in which her work can be applied toward policy development.
Image: Provided courtesy of student (left); taken while volcano boarding in Nicaragua.
--Posted Monday, December 2, 2013.