Latin American Studies

Where Can Latin American Studies Take Me?

Liz Elizondo

Liz ElizondoI was admitted to CSU Chico as a Business Information Systems major and through general education requirements I discovered the field of Latin American Studies. For the first time ever, I was learning a history that I could relate to and I was so enthralled by the major that I kept on taking courses. Dr. Stephen Lewis commented on one of my blue book exams, “Are you a history major?” This sparked my curiosity because I had never thought of myself as a historian, but I really enjoyed history courses! I double majored in Business and Latin American Studies, graduated in 2007 and decided to pursue a master’s degree in Latin American Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). While at SDSU, I was once again introduced to the interdisciplinary world of Latin American Studies and it was there that I decided to focus on history and pursue a PhD. I am currently a PhD candidate in Colonial Latin American history at the University of Texas at Austin.

I reminisce of my time spent in Chico often, about the amazing faculty that helped shape my view of the world at a young age, and about that serendipitous comment made by Dr. Lewis in that blue book, (which I still have!) that propelled my future in an unexpected direction.

Jean-Claire Peltier

Jean-Claire PeltierJean-Claire Peltier has over 6 years of experience studying and working in Latin America. Her travels to the continent began at age 18, when she moved to Trujillo, Peru, to work in the education program of an NGO called Supporting Kids in Peru (SKIP). Upon her eventual return to the United States, she enrolled in CSU Chico, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies and Sociology. In the following years, she worked in many different jobs in Latin America, from a prestigious internship at the US Embassy in Panama City, Panama, to teaching English in Santiago, Chile. Jean-Claire returned to Peru in 2014, to work as the English Program Coordinator at SKIP, designing and implementing an English language curriculum in underserved public schools. A year on, she accepted a new position managing the core curriculum/youth outreach program for secondary students as well. She invites Chico State LAST students to apply for a volunteer slot on her team at SKIP!

Osiris Gomez

Osiris GomezThe Latin American Studies program at Chico State prepared me for my current endeavors as a PhD student in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at UC Santa Barbara. The variety of perspectives of the faculty in the Latin American Studies program enriched my curiosity as an undergrad. This led me to develop my current research interests in Nahuatl poetry. History and literature are inextricably intertwined, and from my LAST coursework I could not help but see literature through an historical lens.

(Osiris graduated in 2009 with majors in Latin American Studies and Spanish and received the award for Outstanding Student in Latin American Studies.)

Kate Min

Kate MinI graduated from California State University, Chico with degrees in International Relations and Latin American Studies. Right after graduation, I did a teaching credential program in social science. Later I worked as a head teacher at the peace center of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Korea for two years. Currently I am in a Master of Arts program in International Educational Development at Teachers College, Columbia University.

My Latin American Studies major has helped me to connect with my students from Latin America and develop curricula in an international education context. Currently I am taking a graduate course called ‘Education Across the Americas.’ My previous coursework in Latin American politics, economy, society, and culture gives me more aptitude to analyze its education systems. I have met many people who have worked in Latin America previously as a teacher or a coordinator of  international institutions who are now pursuing the Master’s degree in education specializing in Latin America. Spanish and Latin American Studies together give you many more opportunities in internship and part-time/full-time jobs. 

Jenica Rosen

Jenica RosenWhen I made the decision to earn my Bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies at CSU, Chico, it was 2008. I had just returned from a semester abroad in Costa Rica and I was excited to continue my education on Latin America with the new-found passion I had discovered there. While some friends and family members at times probed about what I would do with such a degree, I can confidently say now that choosing this program put me on the awesome trajectory that has brought me to where I am today. It brought me to the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where I earned my Master’s degree in Latin American Studies. It helped me qualify for fellowships during that time that afforded me opportunities to live in Cusco, Peru and Chiapas, Mexico. And it led me to discover the integral role that fighting for sustainable agriculture and social justice now plays in my life. Today, I am working with Equal Exchange, a worker-owned cooperative that builds partnerships with small farmer cooperatives around the world, many of which are in Latin America. We help these farmers gain access to US markets for their organic and fair trade coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts, and dried fruits. My background in Latin American Studies helps me every day to understand and communicate effectively about the contemporary and historical economic and geopolitical conditions that affect our farmer partners.