An exceptionally accomplished cohort of undergraduate students, most of whom are ambitious double majors, will leave Columbia University after devoting time in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures. A few salient examples are the students profiled below1

Danielle Christina Scully, a political science double major, will be working at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy LLP in New York City as a paralegal in the Project Finance department. She is thrilled about this opportunity, especially because the department regularly engages with companies and various actors within Latin America, so she will have the chance to use her Spanish language skills within a career setting. Her studies at LAIC have been very influential in her decision regarding the type of law she wishes to pursue, as Danielle now appreciates our global context, one where different countries and cultures interact on a daily basis. The mindset she has garnered through her studies at LAIC has reinforced her decision to either study immigration law or international business law in the future. The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures has also provided Danielle with a keen awareness about perspective. She aims to better understand people’s unique experiences and how they are filtered through the lenses of their own languages, cultures, and regions. Her time at LAIC has encouraged her to travel and learn through experience.

Elizabeth Strassner, Daisy Alarcón, and Sarah Libowsky are also dual majors in political science. Elizabeth is particularly interested in conflict and war studies, a line of inquiry that has helped her contextualize LAIC in the broader context of worldwide balance-of-power issues, both historically and in contemporary politics. After graduation, she plans to either pursue a career in journalism or work as a paralegal before attending law school. In either case, the study of Latin American and Iberian cultures will allow her to conduct research in Spanish and to understand and draw attention to issues that affect Latin America. Ms. Strassner plans to travel as much as possible, and her LAIC studies have certainly increased her interest in extensive travel in Spain and Latin America and buttressed her ability to appreciate, through context, the history behind certain works of art and architecture. Daisy not only double majored in political science, but also pursued a concentration in American politics. Her interest in Latin American culture arose from her experience as a first-generation Mexican-American, but grew as an academic interest while at Columbia. After completing a nonprofit internships this semester, she wishes to expand her nonprofit career into Latin America. Ms. Libowsky will be a Compliance Analyst at Barclays upon graduation and will apply to law school in the future. Sarah plans to work with businesses in emerging markets and hopes to travel to Latin America or Spain in the more immediate future.

Several students plan to become physicians and value their academic experience at LAIC as a fundamental step toward becoming capable advocates for the health of their future patients. Dawn Queen and María d’Amico are dual majors in biology, and are proud of the fact that, as Spanish-speaking medical students, they will be able to better connect with Hispanic populations in the healthcare industry. Ms. Queen plans to attend medical school at Columbia in the fall. She cherishes the opportunity to acquire fluency in Spanish, given that in the diverse community of New York, not enough doctors can communicate effectively with their patients. Her command of the language will now allow her to support underserved populations, alleviating some of the current healthcare discrepancies. Ms. d’Amico plans to work in clinical research at Bellevue Hospital Center for a year before applying to medical school. Her understanding of Hispanic culture will be critical to her career as a physician in an urban hospital.

Christine Wang, Daisy Fernández, and Fatimatou Diallo also intend to pursue medical careers after they graduate. Ms. Wang pursued a second major in neuroscience and behavior and plans to attend Harvard Medical School. Even during her undergraduate years, what she has learned through LAIC has empowered her to connect with many individuals and communities with whom she would not be able to communicate on such a deep level otherwise. The broad understanding of Hispanic culture and the Spanish language she gained through her professors and her peers in the department will continue to be applicable as Christine moves forward in her career. As a Hispanic Studies major, Ms. Fernández studied many of the pressing issues that concern Latino communities, both domestically and internationally. She learned about the socio-economic and political difficulties that plagued members of these communities and how these issues often create barriers that affect healthcare access (e.g., cultural, language, economic, and social barriers). As a result, Daisy intends to use what she has learned to support initiatives that seek to overcome these barriers and help ensure proper healthcare for immigrant and Latino communities. Ms. Diallo is a double major in chemistry. After graduation, she will be working at Infosys as an Analyst in their Consulting arm, focusing on the Life Sciences Practice.

Camille Emma Allamel has a double major in human rights, with a specialization in anthropology. Upon graduation, she will be traveling to Peru to assist in ethnographic fieldwork and has been selected for the 2015-16 Princeton in Latin America Fellowship. Her studies in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, both in language and in cultural studies, will be very instrumental to these projects. Additionally, she would like to return to Brazil—the focus of her senior thesis—at some point in the following year, to further pursue fieldwork opportunities. Madeleine Bavley’s major is in Hispanic Studies with a specialization in anthropology. Upon graduation, she will seek opportunities to live abroad, perhaps teaching English or working in tourism. Madeleine wishes to return to school in a couple of years to pursue a graduate degree in anthropology and believes her studies will inform the research she will pursue in anthropology.

Marc-Aurèle Ferracci and Ada Lin are both dual majors in economics. Mr. Ferracci is studying financial economics. Upon graduation, he will pursue a double diploma in HEC-ENS in cognitive science and business administration. The study of Latin American and Iberian cultures has allowed him to acquire a broad cultural sense as well as the skills to study cognitive science at the ENS. Ms. Lin plans to spend time abroad once she graduates, before pursuing a career in business. She feels that her studies at LAIC have given her not only the language skills necessary to communicate in an increasingly-global professional environment, but also an appreciation of diverse cultures that she will carry forward wherever she ends up.

Jacqueline de la Cruz is a double major in history, with a specialization in 20th-century U.S. history. Her long-term goal is to work for the American government, but her immediate plans after graduation involve either working for a nonprofit organization or conducting research for a think tank. She intends to work for a couple of years before pursuing a graduate degree. Her studies at the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures helped Jacqueline improve both her oral and written Spanish, which will be essential for communicating eloquently with many constituents.

Bianca Dennis is a double major in the Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies department and plans to work for an NGO or in a field related to education and hopes touch as many lives as possible. She believes her studies at LAIC have provided her a great deal of practice with the Spanish language, and a better understanding of a variety of cultures.

The ample range of academic interests of LAIC undergraduate students will lead them to promising careers that will be enhanced by the solid linguistic formation they acquired at Casa Hispánica and the rigorous practice of undergraduate research that our faculty advances and expects of LAIC majors and concentrators.

¡Enhorabuena, clase de 2015!

Last Updated 4 years ago


Eunice Rodríguez Ferguson, « Class of 2015 », Hispanic Institute Bulletin, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on April 11, 2015. Full URL for this article
Hispanic Institute Bulletin
ISSN 2377-8873
The Hispanic Institute was founded in 1920 with the mission of bridging academia and society at large. Almost a century later, the Bulletin of the Hispanic Institute for Latin American and Iberian Cultures continues to carry out that mission through new technologies and media. The Bulletin is a window into the Department’s everyday work and how our community, from undergraduate students to faculty and alumni, responds to the challenges posed by a field in constant flux.

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