Student Spotlights | Latina/o and Mexican-American Studies

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Student Spotlights

Introducing the terrific students in our LMAS major!

Elaine Castillo

Hometown:

San Antonio, Texas

Favorite UNT professors:

Professor Alicia Re Cruz (ANTH), Dr. Valerie Martinez-Ebers (PSCI), and Professor Roberto Calderon (HIST).

What made you decide to major in LCEP?

I wanted to educate myself about the social, political, and economic conditions of the Latino/a/x people.

What did you learn from your LMAS coursework?

I have had my eyes opened to our history, struggles, issues we face everyday, and how far we have come and yet to go as a Latino/a/x.

What will you miss about Denton/UNT?

My plans are to use what I have learned and attempt to be an advocate for immmigrants. I would very much like to volunteer with an organization that will bring awareness or assistance to immigrants.

What advice would you give to new students in the LMAS program?

Smile laugh, love yourself, and live life to the fullest. Make your mark big or small because when you put your heart into your studies the payoff is worth it. Remember each day is a gift and what you choose to do with is that, a choice.

Alberto Acuña

Hometown:

I was born in Denton, Texas, but I grew up in Dallas my entire life.

Major:

Alongside LCEP (soon to be renamed LMAS), I am also majoring in Political Science.

Favorite UNT class:

Of all courses taken, Dr. Esparza's Central American and Caribbean Politics course was my preferred class because of its required critical thinking and the joy of learning new places beyond Mexico that it brought to me.

What did you learn from your LMAS coursework?

Besides typical history and politics, the LMAS work provided me with an insight of how us, Latinos, are not merely an entity or a single people, but a mixture of cultural processes, that is still ongoing today, that requires everyone to acknowledge and embrace whether in a small community or throughout the entire country.

What are your plans after graduation?

God willing, after graduation, I plan to attend graduate school and hopefully pursue teaching as my starting career.

What will you miss the most about Denton/UNT?

Afterwards, I will miss Denton for its simplicity, yet abundant of people and perspectives as well as the sense of community.

Jessica Torres

Minor:

Spanish and English

Hometown:

Fort Worth, TX

Favorite UNT class:

Has to be a tie between Economics of Discrimination with Prof. Battaglia and Survey of Ethnic Literature with Dr. Reis. Honestly, these two courses should be offered for all majors! Econ taught me a more in-depth look at the effects of economics on marginalized groups like the Latinx community. Lit. with Dr. Reis uncovered a larger picture of U.S. history that is too often glossed over or ignored in academic institutions, canonized to favor the majority conquering settler ideologies. It encompassed histories and cultures that have contributed to the building of the U.S. and their connections to their communities, especially in this modern age. Both of these courses lifted the veil on the constantly ignored prejudices both historically and economically that have been so unforgiving towards marginalized groups in favor of the narratives that we are brought up learning. I have taken so much from these courses and applied them not just academics but to my life outside of school as well.

What I will miss:

I will miss my peers and professors, especially in the LMAS program, which welcomed me with open arms, making friends and connections that have promoted a strong growth in my academic and personal endeavors. The professors I've met through the LMAS program are so inspiring and have become motivators to pursue my academic endeavors. I will not forget my time here surrounded by uplifting people who encouraged me to think beyond just academics.

Plans after graduation:

I have been looking into graduate school and law school is not out of the question just yet. I think change starts locally, so I hope to find something (pertaining to my studies would be nice) back home that is fulfilling work that helps people and motivates more young Latinxs to continue their own academic quests.

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