Among the new master's students whom the LAII welcomed in fall 2015, María José Ramos brings to the program a unique background in educational performance art and a deep-seated interest in community organizing.
Born and raised in Liberia, Costa Rica, María José received her undergraduate degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, double majoring in Theater and Latin American Studies. She chose to pursue her MALAS degree after speaking to a professor who recommended UNM and its LAS program. She liked the program's sense of collaboration, the diversity of UNM's campus community, and the level of involvement of community activists in Albuquerque.
She chose Latin American Studies as a discipline because she saw many changes due to tourism while growing up in a rural community in Costa Rica, and decided to get involved with local activists to bring awareness about what was going on in the region. Her work has evolved into focusing on community building, conflict resolution, and solidarity. She is interested in using performance art for education purposes, and facilitates theater workshops based on ensemble building exercises to build trust among groups and communities.
As a graduate assistant at the LAII, María José works for the LAII director, Susan Tiano, by supporting the LAII's research initiatives. Outside of classes and the LAII, she enjoys writing poetry, bike riding, and attending open mic nights. She assists an LGBTQ organization in Tucson that focuses on assisting trans individuals being held in immigration detention centers. Here in Albuquerque, she hopes to get involved with such groups as (un)Occupy Albuquerque and those protesting the Santolina Development project. After graduating from the MALAS program, she hopes to pursue her PhD in Latin American Studies and to become a professor in Costa Rica. Eventually, she would like to own her own home where she will teach theater methods to children. For more information on María José's theater projects, educational background, poetry, etc., visit her website.
To read profiles of other current graduate students, visit the LAII academics webpage.
Image: Photograph of María José taken in Tucson, Arizona.
--Posted Monday, August 31, 2015.