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MALAS Student Profile: Matthew Rethorn

2013-2014 shows the MALAS program with a strong and diverse array of students. Among these students is Matthew Rethorn (MALAS '15), whose concentrations are Southwest Studies and Management. Matthew comes to the program with an enduring focus on education in relation to Latin America.

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Matthew's interest in Latin America and its diaspora has been shaped through academics, travel, professional experience, and personal connections. During his time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Matthew majored in Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian studies and had various opportunities to supplement his coursework through study abroad and professional internships. Matthew spent the summer of 2009 studying Spanish at the Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia. From Colombia, Matthew traveled to Mérida, Venezuela, where he attended VENUSA during fall 2009 and 2010. He supplemented his studies in Venezuela working as an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. Upon graduating, Matthew traveled to Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, to intern with Education and Hope, a non-profit education foundation that aims to increase education access among impoverished children and young adults in the area. In addition to his work with Education and Hope, Matthew continued to refine his teaching skills as an ESL instructor, in preparation for the Arizona Teaching Fellows, an alternative certification program that strives to eliminate the academic achievement gap.

After returning to the U.S., Matthew was placed on the U.S.-Mexico border in San Luis, Arizona. While at San Luis High School, Matthew taught the third and final level of Sheltered English Immersion (ESL equivalent) designed to bridge the gap from SEI to mainstream classes. Additionally, Matthew taught freshman and sophomore English in both single and a co-teaching format for students with special needs. To supplement in-class instruction, Matthew founded Project: éxito sanluisino, an after school enrichment program that aimed to prepare students for post-secondary education. Informed by his teaching and travel experience in Latin America as well as his work as an Arizona Teaching Fellow, Matthew's interest in structural barriers to education and their limiting effect on socio-economic mobility led him to pursue the MALAS program at UNM. Prior to his first semester, Matthew began his Portuguese language training at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Now in the second semester of his program, Matthew concentrates in international management as well as Southwest studies within which he focuses on issues in Hispanic and Latin American education and business. This past December (2013), Matthew was able to further explore his research interests through a faculty-led academic travel experience in Nicaragua where he researched public perception. He ultimately desires to pursue a career in international education.

To learn more about the LAII's current MALAS students, see other student profiles.

Image: Photograph provided courtesy of student.

--Posted Thursday, March 27, 2014.