Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Amanda Parker, '07

Project Manager, Sustainable Land Use at World Wildlife Fund, Berlin Germany and Asunción, Paraguay

Amanda Parker is Project Manager of Forest Protection for Paraguay for the Sustainable Land Use division of the Washington DC based conservation NGO, The World Wildlife Fund. Although for several years after graduating in 2007 Amanda worked in a digital advertising agency in New York, she regretted not putting to use the knowledge of Latin America and Spanish skills she had obtained at Tulane. Motivated by her passion for animals, language, and travel, Amanda took a volunteer position WWF in South America. During her six-month placement in Asunción, Paraguay, Amanda worked closely with colleagues at the WWF Germany office to develop a multi-year funding proposal for Forest Protection in Paraguay. Upon conclusion of her volunteer position, WWF offered Amanda her current position as project manager. She currently lives in Berlin and travels to Paraguay 2-3 times a year.

Amanda reflected on her experience as a Latin American Studies major…

Why did you choose to major in Latin American Studies?‘€¨
When entering college, I wasn‘€™t sure what I really wanted to study. I had always assumed my future path lay in communications, but after taking Latin American Studies 101 I realized how much I had to learn about a region of the world that was never really covered in my high school career. I devoured every book we were assigned. I was in awe of the complex and intriguing history of the region, and quickly realized my interest in culture and history mixed well with the Spanish skills I was developing. I decided to focus my studies on Latin America and Spanish. It wasn‘€™t difficult to find a group of like-minded students who had all come to love Latin America in similar ways as I had, and for the most part we followed the major all the way to our Senior Seminar together. Not to mention, I was completely impressed by the knowledge, patience, and understanding of every professor I had within the department. I always wanted to learn more from them.

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?‘€¨
I used to always joke that it didn‘€™t matter what you studied in college since you would likely get a job doing something completely unrelated in the real world. While that still may be true for some, and certainly was for me the first couple of years after graduating, I now feel lucky to be able to use what I majored in at college in my everyday life. I know that my in depth knowledge of Latin American customs, culture, languages, as well as my study abroad experience in Buenos Aires, put me ahead of the other potential candidates for the volunteer placement I accepted in Paraguay. I also feel at home with people from Latin America and others who share the same passion for it that I do, even though I myself am not of Latin American descent. People respect you more when they realize that you have pursued an interest in a part of the world where you have no personal history, (and I definitely get asked how it is that I came to speak Spanish!) It‘€™s an amazing experience to be able to communicate with people from all over the world and to understand a little more about them through their history and customs.

In hindsight, what would have you done differently as an LAST major?‘€¨
While in college, I hadn’t figured out exactly how my passion for languages, animals, and travel fit together yet. I hadn’t had the experiences that I‘€™ve now been fortunate enough to have. Still, I would have liked to have focused my studies a bit more. I never had a specific country or topic of interest that I concentrated on. I tended to take courses from all different regions, which was great in it of itself, but when given the great opportunity as a senior to write a thesis on any topic of my choosing within Latin America, I couldn‘€™t find the topic that sparked my interest enough to complete a Senior Thesis on it. I remember graduating and thinking about how I should have tried to focus my work on Jaguar Protection in Latin America. In the real world you don’t always have the chance to freely explore a topic of your choice to your heart’s content. If you are able to think through your passions and interests clearly, the Senior Thesis is a great opportunity!

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
I would highly recommend any Latin American Studies major to take full advantage of everything the LAST program has to offer! You are on this major track, or even thinking about it, because you are interested in this region of the world. The Stone Center has so many great opportunities to learn and experience culture firsthand‘€“concerts, festivals, speakers, etc. Take advantage of all of it, whenever you can! My biggest piece of advice would be that if you have the opportunity to study abroad, don‘€™t think twice about it! It is an incredible experience that will take your understanding of the region beyond what any book or professor can tell you. You will open your world so much to so many new things and great people. You will be both awed at the experience and proud of yourself for having done it. Most of all, just enjoy what you learn and remember to take it outside the classroom with you. Best of luck on the road ahead!

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Central America: People and the Environment Asynchronous Institute

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Register now for the ASYNCHRONOUS COURSE which opens up in July
Please note, the synchronous blended institute taking place June 14 – 25 is no longer accepting registrants.

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. It is not required to have participated in past institutes to join us.

The Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University is excited to host and coordinate this year’s institute. Tulane University and New Orleans are both unique and important places to explore the deep connections to Central America with a focus on people and environment. With presentations by leading historians and sociologists on Central America, environment and race we are excited to share the work and resources from presenters as well as the unique resources at Tulane.

YOU MAY REGISTER FOR THE ASYNCHRONOUS COURSE WHICH OPENS UP IN JULY

NOW REGISTERING FOR THE ASYNCHRONOUS INSTITUTE For more information, please email dwolteri@tulane.edu or call 504.865.5164. Space is limited.