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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Speaker Series; Sept 20 at noon: Does Political Representation Increase Participation? Evidence from Party Candidate Lotteries in Mexico

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Does Political Representation Increase Participation?
Evidence from Party Candidate Lotteries in Mexico
By: Dr. Mathias Poertner

The first in our 2021 Fall Series: Political Accountability and Representation of the Excluded in Latin America

Monday, September 20th at noon on Zoom
Registration Required here

For a one-on-one meeting with Dr. Poertner, contact Post-Doctoral Fellow Jared Abbott

Kaqchikel Language Table

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Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Hosted by expert instructor Mtro. Byron Socorec (aka Oxlajuj B’atz’), the Sept. 23 session will focus on where we come from. Bring a picture of a special place and come ready to describe your hometown.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Qué Vola, Nola? - Live Book Reading!

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Join us for a live bilingual reading of their book Qué Vola, Nola?. From the vibrant jazz scenes and Spanish-colonial architecture to the food and weather, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Havana, Cuba, have much in common. And they are both home to anole lizards who love jazz! After a jazz song lures Ramito through a hotel window in Havana, he crawls into in a convenient, comfy suitcase for a nap. When he awakens, Ramito can’t quite find the way back to his tree. His new friend Bernard, an American anole lizard, unsuccessfully tries to convince Ramito that he’s in New Orleans. Is he? Readers of all ages will find the lush, tropical illustrations and the frustrated refrain of “but that is something we have in Havana” endlessly entertaining. In fact, they just might agree that the cities, and their inhabitants, share a lot! We are honored to welcome local author, Abigail Isaacoff and illustrator originally from Cuba, Ramiro Díaz for a bilingual story time at both Pebbles Center locations. Check below and make sure to join us at one of these events. Families will explore this unique story and learn to create their own craft based on the book.

Saturday September 18 at 2 pm
Algiers Regional Library
3014 Holiday Drive

Saturday, September 25 at 1 pm
Children’s Resource Center
913 Napoleon Avenue

This event is a program of the Pebbles Center which is a collaborative project of the New Orleans Public Library and the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University. Please follow us on Facebook for up-to-date information on these programs. For more information, email crcrts@tulane.edu.

Kaqchikel Language Table

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Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Hosted by expert instructor Mtro. Gonzalo Ticun (aka Sotz Aq’ab’al), the Oct. 8 session will focus on the creatures that share our homes and lives. Bring your favorite animal friend to join the discussion.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Kaqchikel Language Table

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Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Participants in the Oct. 28 session will get the chance to read the short story “Ri töp chuqa’ ri kär”/“The Crab and the Fish” alongside its author, Mtra. Magda Sotz (aka Ixkamey).

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.

Kaqchikel Language Table

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Join Kaqchikel learners and speakers at all levels to practice your language skills at this bi-monthly conversation table. Nov. 12 is game day with Mtro. Edy Rene Guaján (aka Lajuj B’atz’)! Come prepared to play along and laugh.

Link to join: https://tulane.zoom.us/j/93988469399?pwd=bkk3eDIzOEhQVjVEV1ZxTHFDTnJvQT09

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kansas.