Celebrating Graduating Latina/o Studies Minors
Darian Shekinah Abernathy
I will be graduating with a major in Information Science and a double minor in Cognitive Science and Latinx Studies. I am most proud of joining my sorority, Omega Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the work I’ve been able to accomplish as part of my sorority. I am proud of keeping my GPA above at least a 3.3 each semester at UNC. Lastly, I am proud of graduating as a first generation low income student. I decided to minor in Latina/o Studies because I wanted explore my culture and identity. Once I took a few classes and found out there was a minor for it, it was a no brainer. The minor has exposed me to different perspectives outside of my own. It’s exposed me to history and culture that I wouldn’t have encountered in my other classes at UNC. It has also allowed me to learn more about my Mexican identity. Post-graduation, I hope to apply the perspectives I’ve learned through the minor in the work I do in the tech field. After graduation, I will be moving to Charlotte to start my full time position with Accenture!
Samantha Garcia Cruz
I will be graduating with a major in Psychology and a double minor in Education and Latinx Studies. There are a couple of accomplishments that I am proud of: the first would be winning the Barbara Davis award from FPG for participating in research work with the Brain and Early Experience Lab (BEE); and the second would be graduating – it’s been a long and hard journey, especially since I am a first gen-ed and not a citizen – I’m grateful to have found amazing resources and amazing professors that have helped me out. I decided to minor in Latina/o Studies because I wanted to learn more about my background since I am a first gen-ed Latinx student, and when I realized that the Latinx Studies minor included a wide range of courses, from history to geographical to media, then I decided this is something I want to minor in. All of the courses were so interesting and a lot of them are taught by professors who have the same cultural background as me. I think it led me to take courses that taught me more about myself and my history. It led to lightbulb moments of “oh this is why things are the way they are,” especially when it comes to policy and education.
The knowledge I gained is invaluable, especially since I had no idea where to begin when it came to learning about Latinx people in the US because there is so much to unpack. But I do think my minor influenced me to do research with people instead of on them; in other words, participatory action research. After graduation, I do plan on working in a lab by the end of the summer that takes a participatory action research approach (I’m still searching the right fit since I want to stay 2-3 years with this lab). Also, I’m just looking forward to doing hobbies and enjoying my life without assignments and tests being due.
I will be graduating with a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies and a double minor in Latina/o Studies and Social and Economic Justice. My greatest accomplishment from my time at UNC is the research paper I wrote for my Women’s and Gender Studies capstone class focusing on the experiences of adult children of Lesbian parents. It was challenging, but super fun. I decided to minor in Latina/o Studies because my grandfather is Puerto Rican and I have identified as Hispanic my whole life. This program allowed me to get closer to Latinx culture through an academic lens. I’ve always sought out representation and this program provided it to me. I was also encouraged by Dr. Ramírez and that sealed the deal on me taking up the minor. This minor has introduced to me to so many Latina authors and theorists (Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Sandra Cisneros) and allowed me to be curious about them and their experiences. I also really enjoyed the classes, as they were some of the richest I’ve taken at UNC both due to the professors and my classmates. After graduation, I am planning on applying to a Women’s Studies PhD program in the fall.
I graduated with a B.A.Ed. in Human Development and Family studies and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Latino/a Studies. An accomplishment I am most proud of during my time at UNC was graduating with highest honors in regard to my senior Honors Thesis titled “Testing an Extension of the i3 Theory to Teen Dating Violence.” I decided to minor in Latina/o Studies because as a Chicana woman myself, I had also felt a lack of representation and education on Latinx culture and Latinx contributions to United States history throughout my childhood, especially as someone that grew up in a rural part of North Carolina. I had a deep desire to learn more about my history and culture.
My minor in Latinx studies greatly influenced my time at UNC. Due to the classes I took in the minor I greatly strengthened my writing and language arts skills as well as have acquired knowledge of the diversity of Latinx people in the United States by listening to music and reading various literature pieces. Post-graduation, I plan to share my acquired knowledge by emphasizing the importance of being inclusive of people with Latinx identifies in the psychology-related work I plan to pursue. I also plan to share with others how empowering and important it is to include ethnic studies in one’s education. In June I will began working as a project coordinator in UNC’s Department of Psychology and Neuroscience on a collaborative project with Dr. Telzer and Dr. Lindquist. This project is studying development neuroscience of adolescents.