Why did you choose to major/minor in Spanish or pursue a concentration in Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies?
I've always loved learning languages, both because it's fun to learn new ways to express yourself and because it opens doors to new people, places and cultures.
What is your current job and/or career path?
Currently I live in Valparaíso, Chile, where I work as a mediator and facilitator. I mostly work on conflicts and public engagement processes that address social and environmental impacts of investment projects, for example in the energy, forestry and real estate sectors. I work with a range of public and private American and Chilean organizations, such as the Consensus Building Institute (based in Cambridge, MA and Santiago, Chile), Fundación Casa de la Paz (based in Santiago, Chile), and la Agencia de Sustentabilidad y Cambio Climatico (a Chilean governmental agency).
What are your future educational and/or professional goals?
I hope to continue my career as a mediator in social and environmental conflicts, whether here in Chile or back in the United States. In 2009 I earned an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, so I don't currently have plans for additional studies.
How has the Spanish/LAILS program helped you develop and pursue your professional goals?
Speaking Spanish has helped me at every stage of my career so far. Before moving to Chile, I had jobs in the Boston area that involved working regularly with Spanish speakers, and being fluent in Spanish allowed me to travel for work to places like Mexico and Chile. Now I use Spanish for almost all of my professional interactions. I could not have done that without the Spanish program at Haverford, and my time abroad while I was a Haverford Student.
One of the things I value most about my Haverford education is the focus on using analytical skills to deal with many different issues and subjects. Having this background helps me take on projects in new areas and develop enough subject matter understanding to help stakeholders address the conflicts or issues they need to deal with, whether related to hydropower projects, industrial oil recycling, real estate development or something else.
What advice do you have for incoming/potential majors (and minors)?
The United States is increasingly bilingual, and being fluent in a second language opens many doors. To really speak and express yourself in a second language, you need to immerse yourself in it - don't let the chance to study abroad pass you by.
Also, one of Haverford's strengths is its professors. I'd recommend getting to know them and using them as a resource!