Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

LAST 4000 Career Speaker Series connects current students with recent alumni

January 15th, 2020

Story by Erika Pettersen, Stone Center graduate student and Publicity Assistant

Each Fall, LAST 4000—the capstone seminar for graduating seniors in the Latin American Studies Undergraduate Program—features a Career Speaker Series that invites recent graduates to speak about their professional pursuits and journeys. Major and minors from all class years are welcome to attend these talks as they take place throughout the semester. Professor Edie Wolfe has designed this series as an opportunity for current students to see exactly how others before them have gotten from sitting in the Greenleaf seminar room to reaching professional milestones throughout the country and across the globe. She takes care to utilize alumni presentations as examples of how to articulate the many transferable skills that a Liberal Arts degree provides. The majority of invited students have dived directly into the working world and have not pursued graduate education, and are thus able to demonstrate the ways in which a BA in Latin American Studies can be leveraged to pursue diverse professional roles and experiences.

During Fall 2019, six alumni participated in the series. Two speakers represented the Immigration and Refugee Services division at the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans: Currin Wallis (‘16), who works as a Case Manager, and Hannah Dean (‘17), who serves as a Legal Assistant. Both also shared insights gained from experiences abroad, in Wallis’ case, from her time in Mexico City working with Amnesty International, and in Dean’s, from teaching as Fulbright scholar in Manizales, Colombia.

Madison Asher (‘12) spoke on her experiences as a service coordinator with Hispanic Health LLC and as the Director of the Mexican Embassy’s Ventanilla de Salud program, where she lead community health initiatives in the Latino community through coordination with Latin American diplomats and community-based organizations. She also tied in her current work as a member of the Community Management Team for WeWork in NYC.

Eva Canan (‘11) presented on her position as press officer for the International Federation for Human Rights, located in Paris, as well as on prior appointments as a UNESCO Consultant in the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development and as a Middle East Desk Assistant for Reporters sans frontieres (RSF). Tracing her entire professional trajectory, she also talked about her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco and as a refugee resettlement assistant at the Nashville International Center for Empowerment.

Will Faulkner (‘12) shared his experiences as the founder and director of Flux Research, Monitoring and Evaluation based in New Orleans, a consultancy that links social change leaders with the approaches, methods, and services required to answer questions about operations, and measure outcomes and impact. He also presented on his time on the M&E-research team for the Collaborative Crops Research Program and at the Brazilian evaluation firm, Plan Avaliação.

The series closed out with Jackie Siegmund (‘16) on December 4th. Siegmund serves as a Senior Account Executive in the Economic Development PR & Marketing division of Development Counsellors International. During her talk, she gave students an introduction to DCI’s work and her role in media relations, crafting digital content and contributing to overall client strategy to position customers—including municipalities, regions, states, and nations—as ideal locations for business growth and investment. She credited her degree in Latin American Studies with providing her a global context, which has been crucial to navigating her experiences at DCI. Being attuned to key historical and cultural differences amongst places has given her an advantage working both internationally across diverse areas of the United States. Professor Wolfe underscored the relevance of Siegmund’s capstone paper, which investigated economic development and tourism in the Brazilian city Manaus after its participation in the 2014 World Cup, to her current position at DCI. She also cajoled current students to take Siegmund’s card, sharing the statistic that 70% of jobs are secured through networking.

The Stone Center takes pride in equipping students with the tools and resources to successfully navigate the working world. We wish seniors the best of luck in their final semester as they prepare for new experiences and opportunities.