Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Madison Asher, '12

Ventanillas de Salud, Mexican Consulate, Washington, DC

After graduating from Tulane, Madison began a certificate program in Spanish Translation at American University. She notes that, when she used to tell people she was studying Spanish, the most frequent response was ‘€œOh, you’d like to be a Spanish teacher?‘€ As she had no intention of teaching, this program has demonstrated to her that her language skills acquired while at Tulane can be put to use outside of the classroom. She interned at the DC Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs (OLA) in the Language Access and Advocacy department to complement her two semesters at American University. Now, she has landed a “dream” job working as the Coordinator of the Ventanillas de Salud, a health services program implemented through the Consular Section of the Embassy of Mexico in Washington, DC.

Why did you choose to major in Latin American Studies?
I remember the moment I decided to change my major to Latin American Studies. I was in Maureen Shea‘€™s Social Problems in Latin American Literature class. It was one of the first cultural classes I took that was conducted in Spanish. I fell in love with the idea of sitting in a room talking in Spanish about something other than grammar rules. We had just watched a documentary on Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo and I felt this passion brewing up in me. I realized my love for the Spanish language transcends the grammatical landscape and is actually embedded in the culture of a people. From then on I took a majority of my classes on social issues of Latin America (conducted in either Spanish or Portuguese to keep my foreign language desires satisfied!)

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?
Of course there‘€™s the language component. Being fluent in Spanish with a substantial amount of Portuguese was the only reason I was able to take part in my current translation program and internship when I first arrived in DC. However, it has proven to be even more fruitful in my current position with the Mexican Consulate. Truthfully, one of the main reasons they hired this “gringa” is because my language skills are top notch. I made sure to take a course load that would heavily immerse me in the Spanish language and now I feel right at home working from the Mexican Consulate as a white girl from New York surrounded by Mexicans, Bolivians, Guatemalans and Salvadorans.

I also have to give some thanks to the work I was required to do during the senior capstone. I chose my thesis based on personal interests and it has proven to be more useful than I expected. I focused on medicinal practices of the Amazonian indigenous population and who knew I would still be drawing from that knowledge today. I work in healthcare in the US but with people who come from a variety pack of healthcare cultures.

Understanding the differences in these practices not only inspired me to pursue this position in the first place, but also helps me realize how differently someone I deal with may approach their health practices. In the end, my capstone paper was just okay, but the research I put into it for months far supersedes the final product. Enjoying that journey has helped me build a stronger foundation for what I hope to continue pursuing.

In hindsight, what would you have done differently as a LAST major?
I think I was a little language crazy and chose most of my classes based on the fact that they were taught in either Spanish or Portuguese. Perhaps this took away from the opportunity to get the full interdisciplinary experience. But in the end, the language skills were my most successful accomplishment (along with surviving the senior capstone, of course!) Also, I would have attended more Pachangas!

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
Enjoy what you‘€™re learning! Even the topics you aren‘€™t particularly thrilled about, keep the information bookmarked in your brain. You‘€™ll realize that, over time, each little anecdote from your courses is interrelated and can be applied in settings you never thought possible. Choose your capstone thesis based on your personal interests, not the ones you think you’re supposed to be researching. Focus your attention more on the journey of learning all about something incredible than on the final 25 pages you have to hand in. Overall, embrace this liberal arts undergraduate education. I changed my major from a very career-oriented major to LAST because I realized my undergraduate life was an opportunity to follow my current interests, not my potential ones. And I am oh so glad that I did!

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Upcoming Events

Community Engagement Information Session

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Join us on Thursday, October 1st for this informal discussion to learn more about the Latin American Resource Center and the long history of community engagement offered through the center. This event is part of a series of information sessions to help orient and update the Tulane community about programming and resources offered through the Stone Center for Latin American Studies.

Register here.

All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the Stone Center YouTube Channel.

"Brazil in the 21st Century" event with Dr. Idelber Avelar and Sergio Moro

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“O Brasil do Seculo XXI” will include presentations and dialogue between Professor Idelber Avelar and Sergio Mora, Ex-Minister of Justice and Public Security of Brazil. Fernanda Odilla, of the University of Bologna, will be moderating the event.

Thanks to the Brazil Institute at King’s College, the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research for making this event possible.

2020 Américas Award Ceremony and Book Talk

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Please join us as we celebrate the 2020 Américas Award books in a virtual award ceremony and an online book talk with award winner, Mitali Perkins.

October 5, 2020 at 6 PM CST
Book Talk with Author Mitali Perkins: Between Us and Abuela
Join the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs and the Library of Congress for a virtual conversation with Mitali Perkins, author of 2020 Américas Award winning children’s book Between Us and Abuela. Mitali will share context for her beautiful book, as well as tips for classroom incorporation. The 60-minute program will also include an open Q&A with attendees moderated by Luciano Marzulli at the University of Utah. Educators and parents alike are highly encouraged to attend, and all are welcome! We encourage you to find Between Us and Abuela at your local library or purchase a copy before the October 5 program, if possible. See you online!
Register Now for the link to join this special conversation with Mitali Perkins!

October 12, 2020 at 6 PM CST
2020 Virtual Award Ceremony
Video streaming hosted by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress. The program is part of the national Hispanic Heritage Month programming. In order to attend, please register here.

Coordinated by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University and sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs and the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress.

Online Latinx Speaker Series

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This speaker series was developed by Professor Caballero as part of her class, Introduction to Latinx Studies. It is designed to share the diversity and contributions of the local New Orleans Latinx community. Each speaker shares their perspective on a wide array of important topics relating to community and the city. In order to attend these online events, please REGISTER HERE

  • Thursday, September 17th – Rafael Delgadillo, PhD Candidate at UC-Santa Cruz in Latin American and Latino Studies
  • Thursday, October 1st – Leticia Casilda, Familia Unidas en Acción Familias Unidas en Acción was founded in 2018 with the vision of providing immigrant families in the greater New Orleans area and Louisiana with the resources needed to thrive in a new community without forgetting their own culture and history. We are the only community organization in New Orleans and Louisiana primarily focused on providing shelter and transitional support to recently arrived immigrant families. Our membership is made up of impacted immigrant families who believe that our families and children deserve equal opportunities, respect as human beings, access to their histories and culture, and to be acknowledged as productive members of society.
  • Thursday October 15 – Fermín Ceballos, musician and writer – Fermín Ceballos is a tri-lingual Afro-Dominican songwriter, musician, bandleader, composer, actor, and poet living and creating art in New Orleans, Louisiana. He studied art & music at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and was a professor of music for the Dominican Republic Secretary of State for Culture National School System. His primary musical instruments are the accordion, guitar, piano, and voice. Fermín continually works on several musical projects in the Gulf South and the US; such as Merengue4-FOUR, a musical project focused on Dominican Music (Bachata & Merengue Típico), Fermín‘€™s Latin Fusion Orchestra performing original salsa inspired compositions, and Fermín Acústico a musical concept based on guitar and voice. With all his projects, he performs original compositions based on his fusion of different sounds and musical rhythms. In 2019, he released his first book of poems in Spanish and English entitled Pisando Mi Sombra (Walking My Shadow).
  • Thursday, October 29th – Christopher Louis Romaguera. Romaguera is Cuban-American writer who lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born in Hialeah, Florida and graduated from Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Romaguera has been published in The Daily Beast, Curbed National, Peauxdunque Review, New Orleans Review, PANK Magazine and other publications. He is a monthly columnist at The Ploughshares Blog. He has an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of New Orleans.
  • Thursday, November 12th TBD

For more information, please contact 504.865.5164.

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 dwolteri@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164.