Why did you choose to major/minor in Spanish or pursue a concentration in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies?
I did not specifically major or minor in these departments, but the Spanish department played an important role in my time at Haverford through the classes that I took and through individual mentorship from those professors. With them, I found a warm community supportive of my growth. Through the classes that I took, I appreciate being exposed to culture and history of various Latin American countries and time periods with which I otherwise would not have engaged.
What is your current job and/or career path?
I work at Puentes de Salud, where I am our Director of Education. I began working with this organization through the CPGC's Haverford House Fellowship and have continued to present in a variety of roles. This is my fourth year, having started immediately after graduating. At present, I run out of school time educational programming for approximately 150 children ages 3-18 and their families in South Philadelphia's Latino immigrant community.
What are your future educational and/or professional goals?
At present, I am deeply engaged in my work with Puentes and am motivated by the possibilities of continuing to build our services in partnership with our community. In the future I hope to pursue further graduate studies in the fields of education, psychology, migration, and community development to better inform my work.
How has the Spanish/LAILS program helped you develop and pursue your professional goals?
I speak Spanish every day and would not be able to do this work about which I am passionate without the language skills that I developed through my time at Haverford. Ariana Huberman was my first Spanish teacher (having never taken it before college) and worked with me outside of class to help support my learning as a somewhat non-traditional language student. In large part thanks to her mentorship and investment (and that of my other professors), I was able to develop my language skills sufficiently to then study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, which further allowed for my development. The language skills that I developed here allow me to explore not only a host of professional opportunities but also permit me to make beautiful, lasting connections with our community members with whom we realize this work.
What advice do you have for incoming/potential majors (and minors)?
Study hard to learn the basics of the language but then put yourself in situations where you can actually engage with the language in a living context! Fear, shyness, and doubt are natural parts of this process - and are still present in my work today - but don't let this stop you, and try as much as possible to become more comfortable with making mistakes.