Gabriela Valdivia is Professor in the Geography Department at UNC-CH. Her research examines the political dimensions of natural resource governance in Latin America: how Latin American states, firms, and civil society appropriate and transform resources to meet their interests, and how capturing and putting resources to work transforms cultural and ecological communities. Her latest research project, “The Impact of Oil Extraction, Regulatory Policy, and Environmental Practice on Native Amazon and Afro-Ecuadorian Communities,” funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), examines how the everyday lives of Afro-descendants and Amazonian peoples are shaped by oil infrastructure in Ecuador. She grew up in Peru and conducted ethnographic research in Ecuador and Bolivia, and brings these experiences into her introductory courses on Latin America and advanced undergraduate courses on the political ecology of rural Latin America.
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Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz
Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz has over two decades of working experience with universities to strengthen Latin American studies. As Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she advises students on academic and funding opportunities, manages and develops grant and endowment programs, supports less-commonly-taught languages and language across the curriculum initiatives and oversees the activities of the UNC and Duke Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Beatriz is past president of the Consortium of Latin American Programs (CLASP), a national organization that encourages excellence in Latin American Studies program development. In 2017, she earned the UNC University Award for the Advancement of Women in recognition for her outstanding support of women on campus.
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Hannah Gill is an anthropologist and oral historian with a specialization in Latin American and Caribbean migration studies. She is Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas and oversees the Latino Migration Project. She received a DPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Oxford, England and a BA from UNC Chapel Hill.
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Skylar Zee serves as the outreach coordinator for the Consortium in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University. Skylar received her undergraduate degree in History from UNC-Chapel Hill and her Master of Arts in Teaching from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Education. Skylar was a social studies teacher for Durham Public Schools for 9 years. During that time, she partnered with Education First to take students and their families on four international trips as their tour leader. As the outreach coordinator, Skylar will be working to promote the study and understanding of Latin America and the Caribbean. Skylar's work will include hosting workshops, community events, film screenings, as well as study tours.
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Susan Clifford serves as the Language Access Coordinator for the Building Integrated Communities initiative at ISA. In this role, she prepares and facilitates a hybrid language access training course for teams of NC local governments and community partners, and supports those teams as they design and implement their assessments and language access plans. Susan completed a BA in Sociology with a minor in Spanish at the College of William & Mary and received MSW and MPH degrees at UNC-Chapel Hill. Susan has over 20 years of experience working in local government in the areas of: immigrant and refugee health, language services coordination, program development and management, and community engagement and coalition building. She was trained as a Medical Interpreter and is fluent in English and Spanish.
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Brianna graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Latin American Studies and a double minor in Hispanic Studies and Geography. She volunteered in Ecuador with Global Citizen Year working with indigenous peoples, and studied sustainable development with the School for Field Studies in Costa Rica. Before and after graduation, Brianna supported ISA in the coordination of public events and communications. She also managed the Latin American Film Library. In January 2021, she joined the Building Integrated Communities (BIC) initiative. At BIC, she organizes and facilitates community and civic meetings with stakeholders across the state of North Carolina culminating in community assessments, local government recommendation reports, and policy changes. She completed Relational Leadership training through the UNC School of Medicine, digital accessibility training with UNC's Digital Accessibility Office, and most recently UndocuCarolina's ally training.
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Joanna Shuett is from Melbourne, Florida, and graduated from Florida Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, where she also worked a little over a decade in administrative roles. She moved to the Chapel Hill area in 2006, and after working many years in the operations and finance areas within the manufacturing industry, she realized her passion was working in academia and wanted to join UNC to provide support to those making improvements both locally and globally through research and education. As the Department Manager, she coordinates administrative, financial, and personnel duties, and is especially enthusiastic about supporting the faculty, staff and students in their pursuit of knowledge of the Latin American experience in the Western Hemisphere.
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Emily Spangenberg is the Bilingual Program Coordinator for the Building Integrated Communities Initiative at ISA. As Program Coordinator, Emily facilitates participatory planning processes between local governments and community partners in North Carolina. Prior to joining ISA, Emily has worked with legal services nonprofits focusing on immigration law, including conducting community outreach, supporting law students, faculty, and clients in clinical education programs, and providing Spanish/English translation and interpretation. She has also conducted sociological research on environmental health and community perceptions of mining activity in Northwestern Argentina. Emily received an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Journalism, Political Science, and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Global Education Center 3219
Daniel Velásquez is a Ph.D Candidate in History at UNC and holds a Master’s degree in Public History from the University of Central Florida. His research interests center on the migratory and commercial links between Latin America and the US South, with an emphasis on eighteenth and nineteenth century Mexico-Louisiana-Florida connections. He has conducted archival research in the United States, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom, and has been involved in numerous projects ranging from historic preservation to history podcast production. Since 2021, he also serves his local community as a member of the Mebane Racial Equity Advisory Council. As Community Documentarian at ISA, he looks forward to conducting oral histories with Latinx leaders across North Carolina and working with the Building Integrated Communities and New Roots programs.
Global Education Center 3218
Javier Etchegaray is currently a PhD candidate in History at UNC. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2015, and a master’s degree from San Francisco State University in 2018. His research focuses on Indigenous communities in the Chiloé Archipelago, in Southern Chile, during the colonial period. Using judicial sources and trial records—criminal and civil—Javier’s research develops ideas about how Indigenous subjects conceived of ideas such as justice, injury, punishment, legal custom, and transgression. Javier currently holds the position of manager of the Latin American Film Library at ISA and is broadly interested in supporting undergraduate research and instruction in variety of ways.
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