Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

William Faulker, '09, MA '12

Plan Políticas Públicas, São Paulo

After graduating from Tulane, William began a part-time internship at Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) a research non-profit loosely affiliated with Yale and located in New Haven, CT. Leveraging his previous English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching experience, he also took a position at an ESL summer camp, St. Giles International. He returned to Tulane in fall of 2010 to begin studies as part of the Master’s program in Latin American Studies, receiving his degree in 2012. He is currently Junior Evaluator & Social Sciences Researcher at Plan Políticas Públicas, a consulting firm in São Paulo, Brazil.

William discusses his experience at Tulane…

Why did you choose Latin American Studies?
In making my decision, the most important factor was the reputation of the Stone Center as an institution. Once the decision was made, however, I realized a number of other advantages to my choice. The interdisciplinarity of the Stone Center program allowed me much more control over the pathway of my studies than I believe I would have had in most other majors. While at first my flirtations with so many disciplines worried family, gradually I realized that the supreme concern with specialization is a trait of post-WWII science education (the ‘€˜Cold War Sciences,‘€™ as I have heard them called) in which both my parents were active participants. The current, interdisciplinary model exemplified by the Stone Center is not only strong, but increasingly relevant due to the complexity of the challenges which our generation faces (e.g. global climate change, persistent poverty, and social marginalization). Solving these problems requires that the deep-yet-specific learning garnered by following a cannon of celebrity thinkers along the traditional branches of study be overlaid with networked understanding of multiple fields and the ability to translate ideas between these. In my job search I also realized that when employers do not see the sort of run-of-the-mill major and checkbox skills that they may expect, this necessitates that they look deeper into my background to understand why I am applying‘€“just the sort of edge that can make all the difference. I am not a shoe-in anywhere, but at the same time I have the flexibility to re-define myself for each position.

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?
It has only been a few months since my graduation from my MA. If we are talking about my graduation from my undergraduate LAST major, well then first and foremost I would have to say that my major helped me to get offers from all five of the LAST MA. programs to which I applied. At Tulane, where I accepted, I received a free and highly productive MA. with a stipend on which to live for four semesters of coursework. There are few better deals in the world, seems to me.

In hindsight, what would you have done differently as a LAST major?
Not much. I would have taken more advantage of the library sooner, I suppose.

Any word of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
You will get out what you put in…a cliché, but an appropriate one here. Think hard about the future and whether LAST will be a good fit for what you imagine yourself doing and studying. Meet and talk with people in the major to get a better idea of how it might fit with your goals/ideas (I‘€™ve found more and more that the types of people studying something has a greater effect on my happiness than the nature of the subject matter itself). Finally, trust your gut‘€“are you the type of person who excels when given more freedom? Do you enjoy open-endedness more than efficiency? Do you pick up quickly on different disciplinary jargons, and does your mind connect and map diverse concepts naturally? Would you like to live/work in Latin America?






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Upcoming Events

Final Push Fridays: Graduate Research & Writing Support

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Every Friday from 10am-12pm CDT, The Latin American Library and Stone Center are co-hosting a virtual work-along for Latin Americanist graduate students to support each other in their research and writing goals. The Zoom meeting has two break-out options: participants may choose to troubleshoot research and methodological questions with an LAL librarian and/or work towards their writing objectives alongside a community of their peers. We hope you will join us when you can!

Central America, People and the Environment Educator Institute 2021

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This summer educator institute is the third institute in a series being offered by Tulane University, The University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University. This series of institutes is designed to enhance the presence of Central America in the K-12 classroom. Each year, participants engage with presenters, resources and other K-12 colleagues to explore diverse topics in Central America with a focus on people and the environment.

While at Tulane, the institute will explore the historic connections between the United States and Central America focusing on indigenous communities and environment while highlighting topics of social justice and environmental conservation. Join us to explore Central America and teaching strategies to implement into the classroom.

Additional details and registration will be available in the late fall 2020. For more information, please email or call 504.865.5164.