Hometown: Houston, Texas
Majors: Critical Ethnic Studies and Religion
Best Adjective to Describe You: Empathetic
In 20 words or less, what is the best thing about being part of this department?
Being able to freely interrogate the systems and institutions in place. Asking questions that might not necessarily have a simple yes or no answer.
What is your advice to first years and sophomores about getting connected to this department?
Very cheesy but ask questions! Critical Ethnic Studies expects students to critically engage with the material we’re taught in class. Sometimes there are things we don’t understand or concepts that we have never been introduced to, and that’s okay. Our critical thinking skills cannot be refined if we don’t bother to ask questions.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
While it is important to attend to your responsibilities as a student, even more important is to prioritize your own needs and well-being. Stress culture is unfortunately a defining characteristic of this campus, and often too many students get swept up in that mindset. You don’t need to burn yourself out, (some) professors are more than understanding and willing to accommodate you. Advocate for yourself always, especially if you are a student of color.
What has been your favorite class at K? Why?
Gender and Sexuality in Colonial Latin America with Dr. Rojas. It was the first time I’d taken a class focusing specifically on gender and sexuality and one of few classes at K focusing on Latin America. I realize now it laid out some of the foundations for my SIP!
How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?
There have been several instances throughout the quarters where the seemingly different classes I’m taking will overlap, or we discuss the same theme. These moments allow you to engage with a topic/theme and watch how different disciplines interact with it.
What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?
Aside from being a departmental student advisor, this summer I was able to intern at Farmworker Legal Services (FLS), which is one of many community-based internships the Center for Civic Engagement and Center for Career and Professional Development offer for first-gen students. In addition, I am a Civic Engagement Scholar for the Kalamazoo County I.D. Program (KCID).
What is your SIP?
Because I am a CES and Religion double major, my SIP will be in the Religion department where I will be examining the relationship between the construction of penitentiaries and religion, and how this influences ideas about punishment of the corporal body and the soul. I argue that that legacy is evident in our carceral system today.
What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Honestly? I look forward to taking a nice, year-long break before embarking into graduate school. Maybe get a doctorate in religious studies. Who knows? But I will continue to collaborate with the community both in Kalamazoo and back home, and wherever the future takes me.