Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Robbie Dean, '12

Teach for America, Dallas, TX

During Robbie’s senior year at Tulane, he was recruited by Teach for America to teach 5th grade Bilingual Education in Dallas, Texas. Teach for America recruits, trains, and supports recent college graduates and other young professionals to make an impact and provide leadership in predominantly low-income schools. TFA’s vision is centered on the ideal that all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, will receive a quality education.

As a second year TFA corps member, Robbie currently teaches over forty 5th grade students Spanish Reading & Language Arts, United States History and Science in the Dallas Independent School District. He serves a school of 1000 elementary students of Mexican and Central American background, many of whom are first and second-generation migrants. All of Robbie’s students are categorized as Limited English Proficient (LEP) and receive the majority of their core instruction in Spanish. Robbie was recently appointed by the administration as the campus’s Data Analysis Team Chair, in which he analyzes his school’s achievement data to vertically and horizontally align interventions across grade levels. This summer, Robbie was contracted by the Latino Cultural Center of Dallas to research and cultivate the center’s 2013-2014 educational curriculum. This curriculum is available for free to all Dallas public school teachers so that they may further introduce Latin American Studies and the arts in their classrooms.

He reflects on his time at Tulane…

Why did you choose to major in Latin American Studies?
During my freshman year at Tulane, I explored several different majors related to economics, public policy and Spanish language and literature. My array of academic interests did not fit one sole discipline. After meeting with advisors and academic counselors, I learned of Tulane’s reputable Stone Center for Latin American Studies. By becoming a Latin American Studies major, I knew that I could explore my interests in economic policy, cultural studies, and Spanish language without following a strict and rigid course of study.

This sensation of academic freedom allowed me to investigate Latin American economic reform in authentic ways my first year as an undergrad. As a participant in the Stone Center’s Summer Abroad program in Valparaíso, Chile, I researched and presented a comparison study of Chilean and Argentine educational reform. Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to be able to engage in a research project abroad before becoming a Latin American Studies major.

Throughout my academic career at Tulane, the Stone Center consistently provided me exposure to careers in public policy and opportunities to develop my organizational and leadership skills. As a two-time Model of the Organization of American States participant, I was able to meet and learn from policy leaders at the World Bank, the IMF, and the Inter-American Development Bank. Furthermore, I was able to collaborate with students throughout the Americas to prescribe and review policies to catalyze the region’s development.

How has your background in LAST helped you since graduation
Since graduation, employers and professionals have been most impressed by the quantity and quality of research required of LAST majors at Tulane. As a LAST major, I researched extensively different ways to affect economic change that would benefit Latin America‘€™s most marginalized and impoverished communities. One of the most important economic truths that I learned in my studies is that the main source of poverty is inequality in education. By augmenting this understanding with documented research projects and conference presentations, I was able to become a competitive candidate for Teach For America.

Additionally, employers are seeking bilingual and bicultural talent to accommodate an emerging Spanish-speaking market. The LAST major requires students to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese, or Haitian Creole. Both my cultural and language experience in the region make me a more competitive candidate for positions not only in education but also in public, non-profit, and private sector administration.

In hindsight, what would you have done differently as an LAST major?
Personally, I would have used the interdisciplinary freedom of the Latin American Studies major to develop my quantitative and organizational skills more than I did while at Tulane. I now realize that leading organizations and graduate programs in policy and governance are seeking talent who demonstrate competency in organizational management with advanced knowledge in statistics, econometrics, and data analysis. Therefore, I would have used the flexibility of the program to take courses in other disciplines in order to develop said skills.

Any words of wisdom for LAST undergraduates?
I believe that the more specific the academic focus, the more valuable the Latin American Studies degree. In my brief experience, it seems that employers are seeking individuals who demonstrate passion and knowledge of a singular and complex issue rather than a general and broad focus of study.

Explore all of your interests but ultimately hone in on the issues that are most meaningful to you and most pertinent to the your potential career. Find as many ways to engage in research projects and conference presentations that explore these interests. Utilize both Tulane‘€™s and the Stone Center‘€™s abundant resources such as the Dean‘€™s Grant and other scholarships for research to help you fund these projects. Live and travel through Latin America in order to contextualize your studies and develop your foreign language ability. And ultimately, capitalize on the Senior Capstone to help you articulate your academic focus to potential employers.

LATEST SITE UPDATES

All Events

Upcoming Events

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

View Full Event Description

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

View Full Event Description

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!

View Full Event Description

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

View Full Event Description

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

View Full Event Description

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

View Full Event Description

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.