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!