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.


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.”


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!

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.

Latin American Film Festival—PARAISO | PARADISE

(105 min)

PARAISO | PARADISE. Mariana Chenillo /  2014 / Mexico  |  Spanish with English subtitles

Childhood sweethearts Carmen and Alfredo live a life of quiet bliss in Satélite, a sleepy suburb outside of Mexico City. When Alfredo is offered a promotion, the lovebirds make the move into the bustling metropolis. It’s a rude awakening for Carmen, who until now has not really worried about the fact that she and Alfredo are both overweight. After overhearing gossip about their bodies at a company party, she decides that it is time to swap donuts for salads, and urges Alfredo to join her in a weight-loss program. But when only one of them actually starts to slim down, a rift emerges in their relationship. Portrayed with undeniable charm by newcomer Daniela Rincon and well-known Andres Alameida, Paradise touches upon issues of body image, self-confidence and happiness with candor and humor. The film is executive-produced by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal.

Co-Sponsored by Romance Studies and the Center of Global Initiatives UNC-Chapel Hill, and PRAGDA


For more information visit:

Damming Sonora: Water, Agriculture, and Environmental Change in Northwest Mexico

Sterling Evans, Louise Welsh Chair, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of History, University of Oklahoma
September 22, 2015 at 5:30pm
Room 4003 | FedEx Global Education Center
    This presentation seeks to explore the water history of Sonora, Mexico (just south of Arizona). Every river in the state has been dammed, some more than once. The result is that Sonora, characterized by some of North America’s harshest deserts, is now the most agriculturally productive region of Mexico via intensive irrigation made possible by the dams. Along the way there have been serious social and environmental consequences, all of which are significant aspects of damming Sonora.


sterlingevansSterling Evans holds the Louise Welsh Chair in Southern Plains and Borderlands History at the University of Oklahoma where he teaches Latin American, environmental, and borderlands history. His research interests include North American transnational history and ecosystem or landscape histories that transcend national boundaries. He is the author of Bound in Twine: The Henequen-Wheat Complex for Mexico and the American and Canadian Plains, 1880-1950 (Texas A&M, 2007) and The Green Republic: A Conservation History of Costa Rica (Texas, 1999). His current book project,Damming Sonora: An Environmental and Transnational History of Water, Agriculture, and Society in Northwest Mexico (Arizona, forthcoming) is nearing completion. He is also researching the history of the sugar industry in the Cauca Valley of Colombia as part of his interests in commodity chains. He has edited two volumes, one on American Indian history as a companion reader for U.S. survey courses (Praeger, 2002), and the other entitled The Borderlands of the American and Canadian Wests: Essays on Regional History of the 49th Parallel (Nebraska, 2006). His PhD was from the University of Kansas, and he previously taught at the University of Alberta, Humboldt State University, and Brandon University of Manitoba.

The speaker series is co-sponsored by the UNC Water Theme Committee and the Department of History.

Event co-sponsored by The Institute for the Study of the Americas.