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We want to take a moment to thank you for your continued support of our UNC Latina/o Studies Program. Despite the many difficulties we have faced this year during the global pandemic, our LSP program has continued to thrive and have a banner year thanks to your care for and presence at our events.

It has indeed been a busy spring 2021 semester, and we would like to update you on the events and opportunities the LSP has offered as well as celebrate our director, staff, ambassadors, and graduating LTNO minors for their contributions and accomplishments.

The LSP was pleased to offer teaching grants to graduate students interested in incorporating Latina/o studies content into their ENGL 105 courses. Furthermore, during the spring of 2021, our LSP held its third annual graduate symposium, “LatinX Studies Approaches to Flourishing Cultures in a Pandemic,” as well as its inaugural undergraduate symposium titled “Contamination and Containment.”

The LSP welcomed a host of authors, poets, and speakers, including Jasminne Mendez, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Joanna Welborn of Student Action Farmworkers, Eduardo Corral, Virginia Grise, Yesenia Montilla, and Macarena Gómez-Barris.

The LSP also updated its History of the UNC Latina/o Studies Program page and continues, with your help, to create Latina/o studies history and promote cultural productions at UNC. To view some of the LSP archives, housed at Wilson Library, click here.   

We again want to take this opportunity to offer our deepest gratitude to you for helping us promote and celebrate LatinX cultures and productions. We look forward to continuing to build a strong community.


Celebrating Members of Our Team


Dr. María DeGuzmán

Headshot of Maria DeGuzman

Dr. María DeGuzmán was interviewed by Latinx Talk about her third published book Understanding John Rechy (U. of South Carolina Press, 2019). She delivered a remote keynote lecture on The UNC Latina/o Studies Program at Virginia Tech and is slated to present a paper on “The Challenges of Displacement for the New Humanism” at a virtual roundtable sponsored by The Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. She moderated The UNC Latina/o Studies Program’s undergraduate and graduate symposia. She had stories and photographs published in or accepted by Solstice Literary Magazine, Bombay Gin, Alluvian, Pensive, Galdrar of Tempered Runes Press, The Closed Eye Open, Gone Lawn, and other venues. She gave virtual readings for Naropa University’s Bombay Gin and Northeastern University’s Pensive: A Global Journal of Spirituality and the Arts. She is working on her fourth book at the intersection of LatinX Studies & the Environmental Humanities. She was inducted into Carolina’s The Order of the Golden Fleece.


Dr. Geovani Ramírez

Headshot of Geovani Ramirez

Dr. Geovani Ramírez helped compose the call for papers for the LSP’s spring undergraduate and graduate symposiums and co-organized both events. He planned visits from Jasminne Mendez and Yesenia Montilla, whom he invited under the Latina/o Cultures Speakers Series. Geovani was featured in Endeavors Magazine for his work in Latina/o studies, and his autoethnographic work titled “Chicken Doctors and the Trials of Transcendence: Unveiling Gallinera/o Illness” was accepted for publication by Ethnic Studies Review and is set to be published this July 2021.

Marcy Pedzwater

Headshot of Marcy Pedzwater

Marcy Pedzwater advanced to PhD candidacy and was awarded the Department of English and Comparative Literature’s Early Stages Departmental Dissertation Fellowship. This fellowship will provide funds for her to write the first chapter of her dissertation Patriarchival Violence: Latina and Latin American Post-Dictatorship Metafiction this summer.

Krysten Voelkner

Headshot of Krysten Voelkner

Krysten Voelkner is set to publish a forthcoming essay in The Trumpeter Journal of Ecosophy, titled “Another Way of Seeing: Ecological Existentialism in Cortázar’s “Axolotl.” She was a nominee for the David D. Anderson Award for Outstanding Essay in Midwestern Literary Studies for her essay “Memory, Temporality, and Communal Realization: Reading the Nomadic Subject in Rivera’s …And the Earth Did Not Devour Him,” published in 2020 in Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies. She also collaborated with the UNC Writing Program to develop Social Justice initiatives in the English 105 classroom, and she gave a presentation at the “Writing and Social Transformation: Lessons from (and for) the Classroom” workshop. Her presentation, titled “Pedagogies of Dissent & Writing in the Humanities,” offered her reflections on teaching the poetry of Natalie Scenters-Zapico, whom she invited to participate in the 2021 UNC Latina/o Cultures Speakers Series. Krysten also received the Ruth Rose Richardson Award for outstanding record in the first year of graduate study.

emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez

Headshot of emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez

emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez was awarded the “Early Stages Departmental Dissertation Fellowship” to work on their project “‘Grass Root’ Poetics: Twentieth Century Hemispheric Poetic Experimentalism and Cross-Cultural Writing.” This dissertation traces the work of three artists and consociates—María Sabina (c.1896 – 1985), Anne Waldman (1945 -), and Cecilia Vicuña (1948 -)—to shed light on an overlooked strain of experimental poetry that bridges the philosophical, mycological, and literary histories of the Américas. emilio delivered a lecture on poetry and the “Mushrooms of Language” as part of the English & Comparative Literature Graduate Lecture Series. In April, their original poetry was showcased at the 2021 Robert Frost Celebration of American Poetry at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire. They also published poetry through UNC Short Edition, The Concern Magazine, and MOOF Magazine.

Chloe Hamer

Headshot of Chloe Hamer

Chloe Hamer defended her dissertation prospectus this semester and began work on her dissertation, Chains of Production: Labor and Literary Opacity in the Contemporary Haitian Novel. With the support of an LSP Teaching Award, she developed and taught an English 105 Social Sciences unit focusing on Latina/o seasonal and migrant farmworkers. Chloe also received an Early Stages Departmental Dissertation Fellowship for the Summer of 2021 from the Dept. of English and Comparative Literature.

Kevin Gomez-Gonzalez

Headshot of Kevin Gomez-Gonzalez

Kevin Gomez-Gonzalez, an LSP undergraduate ambassador and LTNO minor, promoted our program and events through social media, including helping create promotional materials, and made LSP class visits to foster Latina/o studies across UNC’s campus. He also presented at the inaugural Spring 2021 LSP Undergraduate Symposium “Contamination and Containment,” sharing lessons from his yearlong reporting on COVID-19 and its effects on the food chain. Kevin was awarded a summer internship with Student Action Farmworkers and will be working with the NC Justice Center. Kevin will also be working on a summer research project on the poultry processing workplace with the support of LSP Instructors Dr. Angela Stuesse and Dr. Hannah Gill as part of the inaugural IAAR-SLATE Fellowship. 

Alex Betancourt

Headshot of Alex Betancourt

Alex Betancourt, a graduating LSP ambassador and LTNO minor, made LSP class visits and worked to promote the LSP on social media. He will be attending dental school at ECU.

Graduating LSP Minors

Please join us in celebrating our Spring 2021 Latina/o Studies Program minors! We are so proud of their accomplishments, and we look forward to seeing what they do next. Check out a few of their accomplishments and future plans here. 

Darian S. Abernathy

Alex Betancourt

Jennifer Dominguez-Ayona

Samantha Garcia Cruz

Megan Guzman

Courtney Medina 

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