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People: 2017 FLAS Fellows

Through support received from the US Department of Education, the LAII is able to offer academic year and summer Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students.

Undergraduate Recipients

Dunia Barahona


Portuguese (Academic Year 2017-2018)

A double major in Speech and Hearing Science and Spanish, Dunia Barahona was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese. Dunia is a full-time undergraduate student whose future goal is to receive a Master’s degree in Bilingual Speech Pathology at UNM so she can help her community and underserved communities. Dunia believes that in our increasingly diverse society, a bilingual speech pathologist must be multilingual, and with this in mind, plans to use the FLAS fellowship to further her knowledge of Portuguese. The Academic Year FLAS fellowship will help Dunia achieve this major goal, and will connect her further to understanding different cultures through language.

Jessica Garcia


Portuguese (Summer 2017 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

An undergraduate student studying Biology with minors in Portuguese, and Health, Medicine, and Human Values, Jessica Garcia was awarded a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jessica hopes to improve her Portuguese skills to better understand the Brazilian healthcare system and various health challenges that affect the country. Gaining experience in Brazil will help her to achieve her goal of working in the field of international public health for either a non-governmental organization (NGO) or on behalf of an agency within the US government. Jessica is excited to fully immerse herself in Brazilian culture and gain a more nuanced understanding of the political and social complexities of the Brazilian healthcare system.

Graduate Recipients

Josue Aciego


K’iche’ Maya (Academic Year 2017-2018)

Graduate of the M.A. in Latin American Studies program at UNM and a current M.A. student in Anthropology, Josue Aciego was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS Fellowship. After working for multiple years with Public Health institutions, law firms, and non-profits Josue frequently worked with Central American migrants that spoke indigenous languages. In a search to more effectively support these communities, Josue became interested in learning indigenous languages of Central America, including K’iche’. As a current M.A. student, Josue focuses his studies on Central American history, political and economic development, and issues concerning Central American migrants in the Mexican borderland. In his upcoming doctoral studies, he will explore topics related to Human Rights, migrant studies, border studies, and anthropological linguistics with the eventual hope of acquiring a deeper analysis of how to better serve disadvantaged populations.

Jose Almeida


Kichwa (Summer 2017 in Ecuador)
Quechua (Academic Year 2017-2018)

A Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, Jose Almeida was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Quechua and a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Quichua in Ecuador. Jose’s life experiences in Ecuador working with indigenous peoples in their communities and collaborating with indigenous political activists motivated him to pursue a Ph.D. in Anthropology at UNM. He focuses on the struggles of Ecuadorian indigenous communities in defense of their natural resources and the involvement of indigenous intellectuals in defining political goals and promoting indigenous mobilizations. Through both his Summer and Academic Year FLAS fellowships, Jose hopes to explore the indigenous perspective on the use and value of natural resources in the highlands and the Amazon regions of Ecuador through the political discourse and actions of indigenous intellectuals.

Jennifer Arnason


Portuguese (Summer 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Portuguese (Academic Year 2017-2018)

An M.A. student in the department of Spanish & Portuguese, Jennifer Arnason was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese as well as a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jennifer is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Spanish with a concentration in Hispanic Linguistics, and with the support of the FLAS fellowships hopes to also add an MA in Portuguese. Professionally, Jennifer will use her experiences in Rio de Janeiro as well as an Academic Year fellowship to further prepare for her ultimate goal of working for the US Department of State as a Consular Fellow and eventually as a Foreign Service Officer.

Diego Bustos


Portuguese (Summer 2017 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

A Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, Diego Bustos was awarded a Summer 2017 FLAS Fellowship to study Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Diego began his Ph.D. studies in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese in 2013, where he realized his previous academic training did not integrate the Portuguese language and culture into the discussion about Latin American literature. Having received approval for his research project in January, 2017, Diego is in the preliminary writing phase of his dissertation. His comparative project broaches the cultural politics of class in Brazilian and Colombian literature, through an analysis of contemporary literature from both countries and the dialectic relationship between the emergence of new middle classes and the formation of a national imaginary.

Chloe Courtney


Portuguese (Summer 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil)

An MA student in Art History, Chloe Courtney was awarded a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Chloe’s research interests include indigeneity and coloniality, constructions of gender and race, as well as the body and its relationship to the ecological landscape. Through her studies, she seeks to understand how global power structures manifest in daily rituals, conditions, or encounters, and how the quotidian can inform decolonial thinking and work. Chloe hopes to use her experience as a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship recipient to deepen her understanding of the Portuguese language and Latin American art as a whole. She sees Portuguese fluency as a crucial element to her success at both the MA and Ph.D. levels, and to achieving her goal of becoming a university professor and a curator of Latin American art.

Kalyn Finnell


Quechua (Summer 2017 in Cusco, Peru)
Quechua (Academic Year 2017-2018)

A MALAS/MCRP student, Kalyn Finnell was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Quechua as well as a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Quechua in Cusco, Peru. Kalyn's research is on the gentrification and displacement of long-term Andean communities in the neighborhood of San Blas in Cuzco, whose social and economic fabric is changing rapidly due in large part to tourism and globalization. As Kalyn intends to conduct structured interviews with selected community members, in addition to participatory mapping sessions with long-term neighborhood residents, fluency in Quechua is especially important for oral communication and for spatial, temporal, and cultural understandings in Andean cultural contexts.

Lauri Gonzalez


Quechua (Academic Year 2017-2018)

An M.A. student in Latin American Studies, Lauri Gonzalez was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Quechua. As travel and languages continue to play an important role in her life, Lauri believes that her academic pursuit to learn Quechua is vital to her professional goals of interpreter, translator, and liaison for underrepresented communities in Latin America. Concentrating her focus on Latin American languages, indigenous studies, and urbanism and community development will prepare Lauri for a professional career of facilitation concerning government interaction and community intervention, and the opportunity to learn Quechua will allow her to examine the complexities of culture through language.

Sabrina Hernandez


Portuguese (Summer 2017 – Sao Paulo, Brazil)

A dual-degree J.D./M.A. student in Latin American Studies, Sabrina Hernandez was awarded a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Captivated by coffee and its relationship to society, culture, economies, environments, and politics, Sabrina hopes to work in coffee related matters upon graduation in federal international trade law. Due to the historic and contemporary importance of coffee throughout Latin America and especially in Brazil, Sabrina has chosen to study in Sao Paulo as it is a Brazilian state that produces a significant amount of coffee and whose development was undergirded by the coffee boom in the middle of the nineteenth century. Sabrina hopes to continue her study of Portuguese in Brazil and also inform herself on the local importance of coffee in the state of Sao Paulo in order to prepare her for a career in federal international trade law.

Sarah Leiter


Portuguese (Summer 2017 in Florianopolis, Brazil)
Portuguese (Academic Year 2017-2018)

A Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology, Sarah Leiter was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese as well as a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese in Florianopolis, Brazil. Sarah hopes to explore Brazil’s changing religious landscape by conducting ethnographic interviews with members of local congregations, participant observation within emergent Jewish communities, and careful analysis of the ways in which members of such communities speak with one another and about themselves.

Pablo Lituma


Kichwa (Summer 2017 in Ecuador) / Kichwa (Verano 2017 en Ecuador)
Quechua (Academic Year 2017-2018) / Quechua (Año Académico 2017-2018)

A dual degree Master’s student of Architecture and Community and Regional Planning, Pablo Lituma was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Quechua and a Summer 2017 FLAS fellowship to study Kichwa in Ecuador. Pablo’s professional interest in Ecuador is grounded in his personal history. Born in Azuay, Ecuador, Pablo was raised in New York and plans to use his knowledge and skills in architecture and community and regional planning to benefit indigenous communities in Latin America and the United States through academic and governmental institutions that can better serve relationships across cultural boundaries. For Pablo, learning additional languages will enable him to understand the use of space through specific cultures, their knowledge, and their values, which will inform a possibility to conceptualize space from an indigenous perspective in Latin America.

Pablo Lituma, estudiante de doble Maestrias en Arquitectura y en Planificación Comunitaria y Regional en la Universidad de Nuevo México, recibió la beca FLAS para estudiar, durante el verano 2017, Kichwa en Ecuador. El interés profesional de Pablo en el Ecuador se basa en su historia personal. Nació en Azuay, Ecuador, creció en Estados Unidos, se educó y obtuvo su título de Arquitecto en New York. Pablo Desea aportar con sus conocimientos profesionales en Arquitectura y Planificación Comunitaria y Regional, a las comunidades indígenas de América Latina y los Estados Unidos colaborando con instituciones académicas y gubernamentales que puedan desarrollar y beneficiar las relaciones culturales. Para Pablo, aprender nuevos idiomas le permitirá comprender mejor el uso de los espacios en estas culturas, sus valores y prácticas tradicionales, para de esta manera conceptualizar los espacios desde la perspectiva indígena en América Latina.

Hayley Pedrick


Portuguese (Academic Year 2017-2018)

An M.A. student in Latin American Studies, Hayley Pedrick was awarded a 2017-2018 Academic Year FLAS fellowship to study Portuguese. As a MALAS student, Hayley will concentrate in Brazilian Studies and Geography. She aims to look at cultural production through several disciplines, focusing on performance art and food practices, in Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. Hayley has experience teaching Spanish as a full-time high school teacher and is excited to collaborate with Spanish and Portuguese teaching assistants at UNM. She also plants to share Portuguese language skills with her local capoeira group in hopes to preserve the teaching of their master teacher, Mestre Acordeon.