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.

IMG_2119

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.”

IMG_5727

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.

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.

luis_cropped

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.

captura-de-pantalla-2016-12-12-a-las-1-04-24-pm

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

LTAMMajorSquareLogo

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.

Congratulations to LTAM major, Luis Gonzalez Chávez

luis

Luis (left) pictured with his parents at the ISA 10th Annual Faculty Dinner

We were pleased to congratulate LTAM major Luis Gonzalez Chávez on Dec. 8, 2016 at the Institute for the Study of the Americas 10th Annual Facuty Dinner.  Following his December graduation, Gonzalez Chávez will start his graduate studies at Georgetown in the spring.

Congratulations, Luis!

About the LTAM major

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.

 

LTAM Alumni Spotlight: Mireille Vargas

Mirelleheadshot

Mireille Vargas, LTAM alum studying the south of France

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 Mireille Vargas, who is pursuing her Master’s degree in Global Luxury Management.

Q: Thanks so much for joining us, Mireille! Tell us a little bit more about yourself. 

A: I grew up in Statesville, NC, and I worked in commercial real estate after I graduated. I fell into this opportunity through babysitting during undergrad and very much enjoyed the business experience. As a result, I am currently studying in the south of France as part of a one year Master’s program in Global Luxury Management.

Q: South of France, so fun! How has being a LTAM major influenced your career path thus far? How do you see it influencing your future?

A: I selected the LTAM major in undergrad when I intended to attend law school and work with the Latino population in NC. After graduation, I realized that I am more business minded and driven. While my LTAM major has not directly influenced my professional path thus far, I reference my LTAM major for future job opportunities, as I hope to work for a company that does business in Latin America. Also, I have remained involved in LTAM related events, such as volunteer work and attending conferences.

Q: We love that you are still involved in LTAM related events! How would you describe the LTAM major to an undergraduate student who is considering it?

A: The LTAM major provides exposure to a variety of disciplines and professors. It also allows flexibility to explore interests and to pursue a second major and/or minor. Despite having changed the trajectory of my career, I have no regrets about having chosen the LTAM major.

Q: Are there any particular classes or memories from your undergraduate experiences that still stand out to you today?

A: I really enjoyed the on-campus events organized related to the LTAM major. I learned about new topics, met various interesting individuals from professors to professionals to other students, and had access to free food! Challenging classes like History of Cuba and the LTAM capstone with all the other LTAM majors still stand out from undergrad as memorable learning experiences. Lastly, writing an undergrad thesis on undocumented youth was an endeavor that I learned a great deal from and that contributed to my LTAM knowledge and connections during and after graduation.

Q: Who can say no to networking and free food? When you’re not studying in the south of France, what do you like to do for fun?

A: For fun, I love traveling around the world to experience different cultures and scenic views. I also enjoy shopping, running, volunteering, eating, and planning future adventures abroad.

That sounds like quite an adventure! Thanks so much, Mireille!