Minoring in Caribbean and Latin American Studies was an integral part of my undergraduate education at St. Lawrence. Being able study and conduct research abroad in Latin American countries such as Costa Rica and Nicaragua, were opportunities I never thought I'd have back in high school. Living in Costa Rica for 7 months and studying at the University of Costa Rica enabled me to better my knowledge of US foreign policies in the Central American region throughout the 20th Century, as well as current policies. I was lucky enough to see how coffee farmers are impacted by the free-trade agreement that the United States implemented in Costa Rica by working in a rural community and experiencing their daily struggles. With Nicaragua, I was fortunate enough to have received an endowment award from St. Lawrence to conduct a research project on Augusto. C Sandino and the Sandinistas as revolutionary icons. A project that would eventually pave the way for what was to be my Senior year honor's thesis. Being a CLAS minor made all of these things possible for me, and for that, I am forever grateful.
One of the best things about being a CLAS minor, however, is the personal interactions that I had with a variety of different professors. I was able to learn from professors such as Martha Chew Sanchez, who taught me a great deal about border issues between the US and Mexico; something that was personally special for me being a Chicano from the Southwest. I also worked with professors such as Evelyn Jennings, who guided me throughout my research preparation before I left for Nicaragua and made sure I was well prepared for my project. Another professor who I was very fortunate to work with was Steven White, who worked tirelessly with me every week to develop my interdisciplinary honor's thesis during my senior year. The interactions I had with all of these people shaped the person that I am today.
Currently, I am living in my home state of Arizona and gearing up to start Grad School in the Fall. I will be attending the University at Buffalo, and working on getting a Master's in Caribbean Cultural Studies. I'm at a very exciting point in my life because I feel that the foundation I gained as a CLAS minor will enable me to succeed in this next endeavor. The Master's program will be four semesters, two of which will be abroad; one in Merida, Mexico and the other in Sevilla, Spain. I am confident that the experiences I gained as a CLAS minor have more than prepared me for this next step in my life, and I know my CLAS professors would be proud.