In high school I learned a basic overview of the social conflicts that evoked wars within countries. Rarely did we discuss the economic development and international relations that tie to today’s current issues. Therefore, I always had a passion to study in depth of the economic, political, social and cultural interactions that result our current dilemmas. My two concentrations in college were Caribbean and Latin American Studies and U.S. Cultural Studies.
The courses I most enjoyed are Global Population Issues, La Frontera, and my Independent Senior Thesis. In these courses, I became more aware of social movements and found within myself that I too wanted to make a social change. Global Population Issues taught me of the long-term effects of economic development. This course also helped me realize how political and social issues should be more of a concern to us all.
La Frontera helped me understand the relationship between Mexico and America historically. This course I learned how to deal with my identity struggle; being a citizen of both countries. I had the opportunity to travel to El Paso, Texas where I exercised using research skills. During my weeklong visit I was able to visit an Annunciation house, network with the volunteers, and visit human right organizations. I also visited the town named Lomas de Poleo, where I wrote a full report on this specific land dispute. Lomas de Poleo is a small town that is being overtaken by the Zaragoza bothers, which will ultimately overtake their land. Lomas de Poleo cries for help and support from outsiders because the Zaragoza brothers are wealthy and have a great influence in Mexico. I understood then, that I wanted to somehow reach out to my community in East Harlem helping immigrants of all races especially women. As well as bring awareness to others to topics that are overlooked.
After completing Research Methods, I felt well prepared by the fall of my senior year to establish my senior thesis, In the Shadows of a Dairy Farm: A Critical Analysis of Mexican Migrant Workers in the St. Lawrence County. It was an investigation that started late November 2011 to the end of my senior year in 2013. I was inspired to do this research by two Mexican brothers who came to my class and discussed their experience living in Canton as temporary workers at a local dairy farm. They were both contracted by obtaining an H-2A visa from the farm owners. Mrs. Sharron and her son Blake (ownership of the Twin Mill farm) helped me to commute to the dairy farm to meet other migrant workers, to observe their life style and their journey to the North Country. This research is composed of two sections. The introduction of the research explains the relationship between Mexico and the United States. I also mention my personal view and interest for approaching this topic. This first part is based on comparing and contrasting the usage of words and images to describe migrant workers at a macro level. Then, I analyzed the usage of migrant workers in the North Country.
The second part of my research consists of observing the lifestyle of the migrant workers (living in the north country/adapting) and their journey to Canton. I interviewed three men but also mentioned my encounter with the brothers that I had initially met in the fall of 2011. Based on these open-ended interviews, I analyzed common themes that are related with each of the interviewee’s personal responses.
I studied a semester abroad in Trinidad and Tobago. I took a course on Women Work in Global Economy and another course on what defines Gender, Ethnicity and Class in Trinidad and Tobago. Taking these courses in Trinidad offered me a different perspective on their views of being a mixture of ethnicities as well as their form of education. It was truly a life changing experience to travel out of my comfort zone. I participated in different religions, tasted a variety of different foods, and really pushed my personal boundaries in a foreign nation. In the same year, I applied for a grant to travel to Merida in the summer. My peers and I worked closely with the Faculty at the Universidad Autonoma Chapingo. I had the opportunity to study their cultural ecology, and what I found most intriguing was how the ejido system in Yucatan functioned. It was my first time traveling to another part of Mexico. This journey provided me with the perspective to compare Yucatan to my familiar Puebla. I mostly enjoyed visiting the Mayan communities with their beautiful ecological and tropical forests. I admire Yucatan for cultivating their traditions in their lifestyle. I also took note of the impact that America has on tourism attraction. This has taken an effect on both agricultural and community land.
Overall, the global studies department offers a variety of interdisciplinary topics. Issues that I loved the most were migration, social movements, and learning about the economic inequalities that affect us globally.
The professors in the Global Studies department have all influenced me in some form or another. The skills of reading reports that I learned from Madeline Wong, became very useful in my academic courses. I truly admire my advisor, Martha Chew Sanchez, because of her passionate research work. She has helped to create courses with travel components in order to enhance the student’s ways of thinking. I always felt motivated and encouraged by my professors in all of my academic aspirations.
In the fall, I will be attending Columbia to obtain my Master of Science in Social Work. My concentration will be on Clinical Social Work Practice. My field of practice will either be working with Family, Youth and Children’s Services or International Social Welfare and Services to Immigrants and Refugees.