Latin American Studies

Where Can Latin American Studies Take Me?

Liz Elizondo

Liz Elizondo

I 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. Ten years after graduating from Chico I completed a Ph.D. in history from the University of Texas at Austin.

I am currently an Assistant Professor of History at the Virginia Military Institute, the oldest public senior military college in the U.S., where I teach courses on Latin America and the U.S.—Mexico Borderlands. 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 Gómez

Osiris GomezI graduated from Chico State in 2009, majoring in Latin American Studies and Spanish. After completing my MA and PhD studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2020, I accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I specialize in contemporary Indigenous literatures of Mexico, a passion I discovered as an undergraduate student in Latin American Studies, a program and faculty I remember dearly. Chico State offered me a rigorous learning experience and, most importantly, I’m thankful to all my professors who motivated me to pursue a career in academia.

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) Caudill

Jenica RosenMy decision to earn a degree in Latin American Studies influenced my career trajectory in ways that at the time, I could not imagine. The decision came after a semester abroad in Costa Rica, with weekend trips to Cuba and Panama, which opened my eyes to the ways colonialism and U.S. imperialism continue to shape the region today, and in particular, how they impact the region's food and farming systems. Coursework for my Bachelors, and later for my Masters, in Latin American Studies, ignited a passion for social and environmental justice and the fight for food and seed sovereignty in Latin America and around the world. Ultimately, Latin American Studies encouraged my curiosity and learning around supply chains and farmer-worker justice, the impacts of climate change on frontline communities, the cross-border exploitation of workers at the hands of multinational corporations, and the confluence of all of these issues and their impacts on immigration. My degree has since led me to fruitful careers with mission-driven businesses and nonprofits. I've worked for fair trade and worker-owned cooperative, Equal Exchange, and the farmer and worker advocacy organization, Fair World Project. Today, I'm the Director of Development and Partnerships with the organic farming nonprofit, Marbleseed (formerly known as the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service). My degree in Latin American Studies helps me communicate effectively and contextualize contemporary economic and geopolitical conditions that affect farmers both in the United States and Latin America and informs my approach to encouraging farmer-to-farmer cross-border solidarity and knowledge sharing.