LTAM Alumni spotlight: Ana Cristina Carrera

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Ana Cristina Carrera, UNC ’12

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these accomplished LTAM alumni, Ana Cristina Carrera, UNC ’12.

Before graduating law school with a certificate in International and Comparative Law and working at a firm in the Dominican Republic, Carrera, double majored in political science and Latin American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Having grown up in the Dominican Republic, Carrera always had a lifelong interest in pursuing a career in law to fight corruption and gender inequality.

Even before she began her undergraduate studies, she visited campus as an accepted student and her passion was clear.

“The admissions officer who gave me a tour of campus asked me what I wanted to study and I said, ‘I’m here to start my journey to be a lawyer.'” Carrera said.

After taking a class her first year, however, her original plans were amended. Carrera said she never imagined she would also study Latin American studies (LTAM) along with law, but was inspired by a course taught by Lars Schoultz on the United States policy toward Latin America and declared LTAM as her second major.

Carrera did not lose any time exploring opportunities that incorporated the Latin America region and passion for law. For three years, she managed the Institute for the Study of the Americas’ Latin American film library and participated in volunteer experiences that included the Carolina Cancer Focus, Linking Immigrants to New Communities (LINC), Habitat for Humanity and participating in a Latino Migration Issues APPLES alternative spring break. She was one of 17 students that produced an album documenting local Latino music scenes, “¡Viva Cackalacky! Latin Music in the New South,” which honored the growing Latino community in North Carolina by focusing on music as a dynamic medium to explore their migration experience.

“All the courses I took gave me a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing Latin American and the Caribbean,” Carrera said.

Although the major provided a broad view of the socio-economic issues and culturally rich aspect of the region, Carrera recommended to undergraduate students considering the major to keep an open mind. She said her beliefs were not only affirmed, but also challenged.

Upon reflecting, Carrera said she sees firsthand what she learned in her education now in her career, and hopes to continue to be involved with policy to help make a change.

Thank you so much Ana Cristina, we look forward to the great things you will do!

 

 

LTAM Alumni Spotlight: Ph.D. Candidate Nicole LeNeave

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Nicole LeNeave, Ph.D. candidate (right) with ISA Director Lou Pérez (left)

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with one of these accomplished LTAM alumni, Nicole LeNeave, UNC ’14.

Nicole LeNeave is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, at The University of California, San Diego. She is studying the cultural history of the Cold War in Latin America; specifically, looking at insurgency and rebellion through a music and art lens. Since graduating as a double major in Latin American studies (LTAM) and Latin American History with a music minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, LeNeave continues to have wide-ranging experiences in Latin American Studies.

As an undergraduate, LeNeave served as an Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) intern where she transcribed oral history interviews and supported department communications. The work encouraged her to participate in the 2014 APPLES alternative spring break, which gave her the opportunity to record oral histories herself. After interviewing UNC Latino students and speaking with members of the Guanajuato, Mexico community, LeNeave was struck by the power of an individual’s narrative.

“Oral histories are intrinsically part of the way we function.” LeNeave said. “They provide a greater understanding beyond the empirical nature of academia.”

Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, LeNeave first became interested in Latin American studies after taking a first year seminar with Professor Miguel La Serna about revolution and rebellion in Latin America. When it came to declaring a major, LeNeave liked the interdisciplinary nature of the LTAM major. The political science, music, history, anthropology classes all helped to frame her other major of Latin American history.

“LTAM is a great complement to another major,” LeNeave said. “I encourage people to do it and make it your own.”

LeNeave did just that, and with a future Ph.D. and dreams of a tenure-track professor position, she is just getting started.

Nicole, we look forward to seeing your forthcoming research and the great things you will do! Thank you for joining us!

About LTAM
Stand out in the NEW South
EXPLORE | CATALYZE | LEAD

Explore. The LTAM major offers opportunities to travel to Latin America for field work and study while you are here at UNC, including ISA scholarships for LTAM majors wishing to undertake study in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an LTAM major, you are highly competitive for these scholarships.

Catalyze. The LTAM major also offers high quality advising and personal attention, which are hard to find at a big place like UNC. Departmental advisor, Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz can help you decide if this is a good major for you, select courses that fulfill requirements, plan a complete educational program, and learn about academic policies and procedures.

Lead. The Latin American studies major prepares students for graduate school and public and private sector careers such as in education, business, public health, law, communication, and government, among others. LTAM majors have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, in non-profit organizations working with migrants in the U.S., and in transnational companies that operate in the U.S. and Latin America. Click to meet a couple of these talented alumni: a Georgetown Master’s student and 2017 Peace Corps volunteer.

LTAM Major Spotlight: Raina Enrique

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

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Raina Enrique, class of 2017

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Raina Enrique, class of 2017 LTAM and Psychology double major, who departs for Peru August 2017 to serve in the Peace Corps.

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Enrique entered UNC Chapel Hill as an undergraduate student in 2013 and took LTAM 101. She was quickly inspired to pursue the major.

“It was like a match lit within me,” Enrique said. “I learned things I had never been exposed to before.”

With personal ties and interests in Latin America, Enrique identified with the subject and wanted to pursue learning more about LTAM history, politics, and perspectives, which included not only how the United States saw Latin America, but also how Latin America saw the United States. She quickly developed a passion for the region, and sought out an international experience to study Yucatec Maya abroad.

“Going to Mexico was my first time leaving the country,” Enrique said. ” Once I was there, it clicked with me and the experience really tweaked my passion.”

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Enrique received a FLAS award to study a second summer in the Yucatan.

Enrique liked the Yucatec Maya program so much, she went again as a FLAS recipient. Having had such a transformative experience learning an indigenous language and culture, Enrique applied to the Peace Corps with the intent on working with indigenous populations in Latin America.

“I loved the culture, the story, and the history,” Enrique said. “I still use my Maya today when I talk to my friends.”

In applying for the Peace Corps, Enrique requested to work with indigenous populations in Latin America. She will officially get that chance as she accepted an opportunity to serve in Peru as a Peace Corp youth development facilitator. In this position, Enrique will also add a fifth language of Quechua to her already existing skills in Portuguese, Spanish, Maya, and English.

Although she has not yet graduated, Enrique is looking ahead. She hopes to eventually earn a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology after taking this spring’s APPLES Global Course Guanajuato. Enrique said the LTAM major gave her the flexibility to tailor her interests in the Maya region and Mexico, and pull from many departments for a well-rounded perspective. Overall, Enrique said the LTAM major is enriching to learning.

“Not only is LTAM one of the majors that will change your perspective, it will also subsequently change your heart,” Enrique said.

Thank you for speaking with us, Raina! We look forward to the great things you will do!
ABOUT FLAS@UNC

FLAS fellowships fund the study of less commonly taught languages and area studies coursework. This program provides academic year and summer fellowships to assist graduate students and advanced undergraduates in foreign language and area studies. The goals of the fellowship program include: (1) to assist in the development of knowledge, resources and trained personnel for modern foreign language and area/international studies; (2) to stimulate the attainment of foreign language acquisition and fluency; and (3) to develop a pool of international experts to meet national needs.

Taking the road less traveled: Spotlight on UNC alum and South American traveler Michelle Carreño

Through leadership development, experiential learning, and engaged service, UNC alumni have had an incredible impact through our programs, and continue to make their mark in their careers. One of these professionals we had the pleasure of connecting with is Michelle Carreño.

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Carreño in Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

After graduating from UNC and participating in the APPLES Global Course Guanajuato, Carreño moved to Colombia to become a bilingual World History middle school teacher with plans to eventually travel around South America alone.

“Traveling solo has been something I have always wanted to do ever since I can remember,” Carreño said. “The idea of going to a foreign place: meeting new people, learning about a new culture, a new language, trying new types of food, dancing different types of music, visiting new places, making decisions on my own from the smallest to the biggest ones and all of this ‘solo’ sounded so fascinating to me, and especially in Latin America with an indefinite time.”

While a student at UNC, Carreño took LTAM classes and instantly connected to the material.

“I did not realize how passionate and interested I became with Latin American studies when I first took classes,” Carreño said. “It was something so natural to me… I truly believe I felt I was searching my identity and learning where I came from.”

Being the daughter of Colombian immigrants, Carreño wanted to explore that side of her identity and moved to Colombia after graduation with the intention of teaching for a couple of years and then traveling alone. After the first year ended and it was time to resign her contract, Carreño made the difficult decision to pursue her solo travel dreams sooner than she intended.

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Carreño (above) is a Guanajuato alum

And it paid off.

“What many people do not realize is that traveling brings heaps of enriching perks to our lives and helps humans become stronger,” Carreño said. “Additionally, I soon realized in my travels, you never travel alone because you meet millions of people disposed to give you a hand and share with you your path if it’s for 5 minutes to a few hours to days to months to years.”

Seven countries later, Carreño has taken advantage of her time in South America. Whether camping, hiking, or meeting new people, Carreño explored places in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. She was even able to meet up with her brother to explore the Amazon and Brazil.

When it comes to traveling solo, Carreño encourages others to do the same.

“I decided to take this trip through Latin America because it has been one of my dreams and I also wanted to empower women, especially Latinas, that they can travel ‘sola’ through their own continent,” Carreño said. “You will grow in so many ways. Best of all, you will see how you’re not either from here nor there and that we are all world citizens/darte cuenta que no eres ni de aquí ni de allá y que todos somos ciudadanos del mundo.”

Whether she is in South America traveling solo or back in the States, you can find Carreño dancing, doing yoga, hiking, swimming, reading, and of course, traveling.

Thank you so much for sharing your adventure with us, Michelle! We can’t wait to hear more!

See more of Michelle’s adventure below:

 

 

LTAM Alumni Spotlight: Luis González Chávez

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

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Luis González Chávez

We had the pleasure of sitting down with Luis González Chávez.

Before graduating as a LTAM and Political Science double major, González knew he wanted to study Latin American Studies.

“I picked UNC because of LTAM studies program,” González said.

Having personal ties and interests in Colombia, González wasted no time. During his first week of being a UNC first-year student, González looked at a campus map and found the Institute for the Study of the Americas. He knocked on Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz‘s door and found the major was a great fit for his interests and passion.

“It’s great if you love Latin America, love learning about the region, and if you really want an interdisciplinary study—learning about music, art, and history all link well with another major,” González said.

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González spent one year in Uruguay

As an undergraduate student at UNC, González did more than study. He danced with UNC’s premiere Latin dance group Qué Ríco, participated in an alternative fall break with farm worker communities, conducted research at the Center for Bioethics, and received a LTAM Halpern award to support his one year of study in Uruguay at the Universidad de Montevideo. While abroad, González took the opportunity to travel around the southern cone of South America to pursue his interests in Argentina and Brazil, which complemented his LTAM major studies well.

After visiting 10 Latin American countries and finishing up his undergraduate studies, González knew he wanted to pursue graduate course work . Inspired by UNC scholars like John Chasteen, Louis Pérez, Cynthia Radding, and Arturo Escobar, González decided to take advantage of the UNC LTAM partnership, one of only 16 universities, who partner with Georgetown University to allow qualified Latin American studies majors to earn a Master’s degree in Latin American studies.

One day González hopes to teach Latin American history in Latin America. Until then, when he’s not preparing for his Master’s degree at Georgetown University, González can be found dancing or being a master with a yo-yo.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us, Luis! We can’t wait to see all the awesome things you will do!

About

LTAM Major

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Stand out in the NEW South
EXPLORE | CATALYZE | LEAD
Explore. The LTAM major offers opportunities to travel to Latin America for field work and study while you are here at UNC, including ISA scholarships for LTAM majors wishing to undertake study in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an LTAM major, you are highly competitive for these scholarships.

Catalyze. The LTAM major also offers high quality advising and personal attention, which are hard to find at a big place like UNC. Departmental advisor, Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz can help you decide if this is a good major for you, select courses that fulfill requirements, plan a complete educational program, and learn about academic policies and procedures.

Lead. The Latin American studies major prepares students for graduate school and public and private sector careers such as in education, business, public health, law, communication, and government, among others. LTAM majors have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, in non-profit organizations working with migrants in the U.S., and in transnational companies that operate in the U.S. and Latin America. Read their stories here.

B.A. /M.A. Program with Georgetown
The Curriculum in Latin American Studies participates in a cooperative BA/MA program with the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University. The agreement allows qualified Latin American studies majors to earn a Masters in Latin American studies in a year and a summer following their senior year at UNC.

Meet Latin American Studies (LTAM) Alumni

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The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We were pleased to sit down with a number of LTAM alumni who are located across the world, from Washington, D.C., to France. Learn more about our featured alumni below, and consider the LTAM major today!

Latin American Studies Alumni Spotlight: Shaw Drake

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Shaw Drake, UNC ’10

The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the US and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.

We had the pleasure of sitting down one of these accomplished alums, Shaw Drake.

When he’s not being published in the New York TimesHuffington Post, or JURIST , Shaw Drake, UNC ’10, works as an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Human Rights First in New York City, NY. The Georgetown University Law Center graduate has experiences ranging from conducting legal research on surveillance of human rights lawyers in Colombia, studying judicial independence in Guatemala, serving as a Military Commission observer in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, supporting survivors of torture from over 90 countries in accessing legal, psychological, and medical services at the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, as well as conducting an extensive fact-finding project regarding stateless children’s access to education in the Dominican Republic.

Having grown up in Greensboro, NC, Drake experienced an initial interest in migration after working with refugee families and going on a trip to Guanajuato, Mexico. When he came to UNC, Drake found the Latin American Studies major as a good fit for his interests.

“The major is a balance of being small and involved in the community, but broad enough to also be involved in bigger opportunities,” said Drake.

One of those bigger opportunities was Drake’s junior year spring break when he had the chance to work with No More Deaths, a humanitarian organization recommended to him by Latino Migration Project Director Dr. Hannah Gill. Drake was so impacted by the experience that upon returning, he changed the topic of his honors thesis to write about the U.S. border enforcement strategy and human rights on the Arizona-Mexico border.

A double major in LTAM and Romance Languages, which is common for the majority of Latin American Studies majors, Drake said being an LTAM major gives students an opportunity to look at a dynamic part of the world from historical, political, and human rights perspectives, and teaches students ways to critically examine future challenges.

“[The LTAM major] gives you the latitude to pursue interests and encourages you to take on a wide variety of disciplines,” said Drake. “Take it on and view it as an opportunity to examine a dynamic and amazing part of our world.”

Many thanks to Shaw Drake for sitting down with us, we look forward to the great things he will continue to do!

About the LTAM Major

The BA in Latin American studies, offered by the Curriculum in Latin American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences, is designed to foster intellectual engagement with a region of extraordinary diversity and rich cultural complexity, within an interdisciplinary but integrated framework.