Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Michael Murray, '10

Research Associate, FSG (Foundation Strategy Group)

Since graduating from Tulane Michael has held a variety of jobs. He worked as Research Assistant to Tulane professor Nora Lustig, as a cook/server in a pizza kitchen, and as HR Administrative Assistant at FSG (Foundation Strategy Group). He is currently Research Associate at FSG, where he is currently staffed on a project working to develop a shared value strategy (community development) for a mining company in Peru.
Michael’s time at Tulane prepared him for life in the real world…

Why did you choose to major in Latin American Studies?
The main reason I chose to pursue a major in Latin American studies was my interest in the region – it‘€™s culture, history, economics, society, etc. Most of what I knew about Latin America before college was from Spanish and world history classes in high school, and I wanted to learn more. I also wanted to continue studying Spanish, and studying Latin America provided many opportunities to apply my developing Spanish language skills. Additionally, I was attracted to the major because of its interdisciplinary nature. I was able to focus on the topics that were of greatest interest to me and take classes across departments, a freedom most majors don‘€™t offer. Latin American Studies complements most other courses of study well – in my case, a major in Economics and a minor in Spanish.

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation?
First and foremost, the critical thinking, research, and writing skills that I honed during my time in LAST are the most transferable skills one can build for a career after graduation. Everything in college involving research, writing, presenting, and general critical thinking was relevant for my current position as a Research Associate at FSG. I am staffed on a project focusing largely on community development in Peru, so coursework related to the history, society, and economics of Latin America has been relevant as well, along with my minor in Spanish. My job is about problem-solving, which is not a skill that can be taught in one class or using one methodology. LAST is a great liberal arts major that helped me develop a broad understanding of how to approach problem-solving around social issues.

In hindsight, what would you have done differently as a LAST major?
I would have started looking for a job sooner and looked for internships through the lens of getting my foot in the door at an organization I hoped to land a job with. This means looking for jobs starting the summer before senior year, or that fall at the latest. I completely missed the campus recruiting cycle, which is the only way to get hired as an undergrad with no work experience at some organizations. Internships are also a great way to get a job, either through returning to the organization you interned for, or at least by having good internships on your resume. However, this is all easier said than done, as I remember having no idea what kind of job I wanted that early in my college career.
Also, not something that I would have done differently, but I think it was important to have multiple majors; I even wish I had picked up another minor. Many of the opportunities I‘€™ve come across are looking for folks with a mix of different skills and knowledge, and it‘€™s great if you can offer a unique blend. You also have more options down the road if your interests change or evolve.

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
Take full advantage of what Tulane and LAST have to offer – you won‘€™t have access to these resources and opportunities after you graduate! Study abroad if you can, go to guest lectures, apply for fellowships, participate in clubs and other extracurricular activities, etc. It‘€™s great to pad your resume with extras, but even more important, you‘€™ll learn a lot, and you never know when you might make a new contact or discover an exciting opportunity. When it comes time to answer tough questions in a job interview, you‘€™ll have a wealth of experience to draw from.

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Ancient Civilizations K-16 Series for Social Studies Educators

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Ancient Civilizations
K-16 Educator Workshop Series
Spring 2020

For educators of grade levels: K-12

Tulane University’s Middle American Research Institute (MARI), Stone Center for Latin American Studies (SCLAS), S.S. NOLA, and AfterCLASS will host a professional development workshop series open to all K-16 school professionals. These workshops will challenge educators to learn about the unexpected impact and connections of Ancient civilizations from Central America to the Gulf South. In particular, the workshops will foster a deeper comprehension of how to incorporate art, language and food across the disciplines. Participants will learn unique ways to incorporate the Tunica, Maya and Aztec cultures into the classroom in a variety of subjects. Registration for each workshop is $5 and includes light snacks, teaching resources, and a certificate of completion.

The workshop series will prepare teachers:

  • To utilize digital humanities resources in the classroom;
  • To design culturally appropriate primary and secondary research projects;
  • To teach about Pre-Columbian and ancient civilizations, language, geography and foods;
  • To encourage student self-determination through meaningful and relevant cultural projects.

Saturday, January 25, 2020
9:00 am – 12:00 pm
The Tunica of the Lower Mississippi River Valley
Middle American Research Institute – Seminar Room
6823 St. Charles Avenue
This workshop will introduce participants with little or no prior knowledge to ancient Tunica history, art, and language, with special focus on the role of food and native foods of this region. Participants will explore the physical, cultural and linguistic characteristics of the region. Representatives of the Tunica community will introduce their language and culture and the work they do to preserve their language.

Friday, March 6, 2020
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Understanding Maya Fare: Beyond Tamales and Cacao
AfterCLASS – Taylor Education Center
612 Andrew Higgins Blvd. #4003
In collaboration with the Annual Tulane Maya Symposium, this workshop focuses on foods of the Maya. Participants will explore the foods of the Maya focusing on the role of food over time. Join us as we hear from chocolate specialists and our Kaqchikel language scholar will discuss the importance of corn. REGISTER HERE.

Thursday, April 29, 2020
7:00 – 8:30 PM
Teaching Aztec History through Art
Participants in this workshop will explore the art and culture of the Aztec community. This workshop has moved online and will consist of a 60 minute online webinar that includes an introduction to teaching Aztec history, a discussion of different art objects that the Aztecs created which reveal insights into their history, and a discussion of new online resources to incorporate into your teaching.

The webinar is free an open to educators of all grade levels. In order to access the session, please register here.

Global Read Webinar Series 2020

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Diverse Books for the K-12 Classroom
February – June 2020 – All webinars are 6 PM CST
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Once a month, the World Area Book Awards (Américas Award, Africana Book Award, Freeman Book Award, Middle East Book Award, and the South Asia Book Award) will sponsor a 60-minute webinar on a book recognized by one of the awards. Each webinar features a presentation by an award-winning author with discussion on how to incorporate multicultural literature into the classroom. Please read along with us this spring as we explore the world through these award-winning books. We encourage all readers to join in on the conversations each month and ask the author your own questions live.

Be sure to join the conversation with our webinar hashtag #2020ReadingAcrossCultures. Visit www.internationalizingsocialstudies.blog for more information and to register for free.

  • AFRICAFEBRUARY 26, 2020 Africana Book Award
    Grandpa Cacao, A Tale of Chocolate from Farm to Family by Elizabeth Zunon
  • MIDDLE EASTMARCH 18, 2020 Middle East Book Award
    Darius the Great is Not OKAY by Adib Khorram
  • SOUTH ASIAAPRIL 14, 2020 – South Asia Book Award
    The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock
  • LATIN AMERICAMAY 11, 2020 – Américas Award
    Auntie Luce‘€™s Talking Paintings by Francie Latour
  • ASIAJUNE 23, 2020 – Freeman Book Award
    Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

All sessions are free and open to the public. Register by visiting internationalizingsocialstudies.org. Sponsored by the Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, the South Asia National Outreach Consortium, the Middle East Outreach Council, the African Studies Outreach Council, and The National Consortium for Teaching about Asia.

Online Summer Book Group for K-12 Educators

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For pre-service, early career and veteran teachers who love reading and learning through literature who want to explore award-winning books for the middle and early high school classrooms. Join us as we read four books that explore stories of coming-of-age from multiple perspectives. Participants will receive a copy of each book and participate in an open discussion with other K-12 educators. We will launch the book group with The Other Half of Happy. The group will meet online and explore the real story behind this award-winning book with the author Rebecca Balrcárcel. Join us this summer as we discover new stories and books for your classroom.

Register here for $15 (includes all 4 books).

All online Zoom meetings are at 7:00 PM CST.

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Sponsored by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies and AfterCLASS at Tulane University. For more information, please email crcrts@tulane.edu.