MA in Latin American Studies and M in Community and Regional Planning
Job : Program Manager, Creative Startups
Location : Albuquerque, NM
What were you involved in while at UNM?
President, Student Organization for Latin American Studies (2015-2016); Member, Latin American Development Planning Faculty Hiring Committee, UNM School of Architecture + Planning (2015-2016); Member, Interdisciplinary Curriculum Committee on Latin American Studies (2015-2016);Vice President, Student Organization for Latin American Studies (2014-2015); Graduate representative, UNM Travel Health & Safety Committee (2014-2016); Recipient, UNM Feminist Research Institute Travel Grant; Recipient, UNM Rogers Research Fellowship; Recipient, UNM Regents Study Abroad Fellowship; Recipient, Academic Year Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) Fellowship for advanced Portuguese study(2015 + 2016). Recipient, FLAS Fellowship Fellowship for intensive Portuguese summer study in São Paulo; Recipient, Thurmond Willson Endowed Scholarship, UNM LAII; PA at LAII (2013-2014); PA Creative Startups (2015-2016)
What’s a favorite memory or class from your time in the program?
SOLAS and the LAII provided so many opportunities for engagement with both the UNM community and Albuquerque more broadly. The Sin Fronteras Film Festival was a specifically important project to me, and one that I really enjoyed working on. I am eternally grateful for the LAII's interdisciplinary focus, that allowed me to explore my interest in urban planning via the dual degree, and immerse myself in travel opportunities. It's really hard to pick a favorite class -- I cannot speak highly enough of all of the faculty I had at UNM -- but am deeply grateful for how Leila and Jeremy Lehnen, Claudia Isaac, Kristina Yu, and Celia López-Chavez helped to inform and shape my scholarship. Again, thanks to the LAII's interdisciplinary focus I am super grateful for getting to take courses at the UNM Law School and really hone in on my understanding of international human rights law.
What are you doing now and what have been some of your professional highlights?
Currently at Creative Startups I oversee some of our local program management and execution, as well as our international sales, grant writing, and thought leadership. Travel and presentation opportunities abroad have been wonderful highlights at my work, as well as the opportunity to work every day on something I truly love and care about: supporting creatives and building more equitable and inclusive communities.
How has your Latin American Studies degree informed your work?
My LAS degree has unquestionably informed my work, and likely lead directly to my current job position. My time at the LAII well equipped me to be a strong grant writer, and feel confident in my presentation skills at conferences, sales calls, or in front of media. Honing my linguistic abilities during my Master's degree has been key at my work, as I lead much of our work in Spanish speaking countries and specifically our contract work with the Government of the Açores in Portugal.
What advice do you have for current or prospective students?
Having completed undergrad and grad school at UNM I feel like I've spent a good chunk of time at the University (which is good!) and at any level, I always council students that there are far more opportunities available to you than UNM makes readily seen. You have to really mine out funding, support, or other opportunities, but they are really there. Also, for LAS students specifically, really try to take advantage of the interdisciplinary focus and learn from as many different professors, departments, or schools of thought as you can. Also, the FLAS! Do it! It's such a tremendous opportunity. If you're going to do a thesis, start thinking about it yesterday.
Any additional comments you'd like to add?
I miss the LAII everyday!