Student Trip to Guatemala – December 2012

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During December 2012 five Princeton undergraduate students enrolled in LAS 401 Latin American Studies: The Politics of Ethnicity in Latin America traveled to Guatemala.  This trip, led by Professor Timothy J. Smith (Visiting Research Scholar in PLAS and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and PLAS), was sponsored with the generous support of PLAS, the Department of Anthropology and the Fred Fox Fund.  Continue reading

Dale winner, Flora Thomson-DeVeaux ’13, to follow writer’s footsteps across the Americas

Flora Thomson-DeVeaux

Flora Thomson-DeVeaux

Princeton University senior Flora Thomson-DeVeaux has met Santiago Badariotti Merlo again and again, in her courses and in her travels, though their paths have never crossed in real time.

Now Thomson-DeVeaux, the 2013 winner of the Martin Dale Fellowship, will spend the next year tracing the butler and writer’s footsteps across the Americas. She will delve deeper into his life and writing, which intersect with several themes over the course of the 20th century — the rise and decline of two of Latin America’s biggest cities, economic and class history, and attitudes about homosexuality. She plans to turn her senior thesis on Badariotti Merlo, who was born in 1912 and died in 1994, into a full-length book.

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Three Princetonians win Davis Projects for Peace

Two Princeton University students and a recent alumnus are spending the summer in Nicaragua and Brazil pursuing new and creative ideas for promoting peace through grants from the Davis Projects for Peace. The program awarded more than $1 million to students from universities across the country to pursue international endeavors during summer 2012.

Luciana Chamorro, a recent graduate of the Class of 2012 and a native of Nicaragua, received a $10,000 grant to help members of the community of Matagalpa tell their stories of the 1980s civil war through the project “Stories of the Civil War: Empowering a Generation Through Community Filmmaking.” High school and college students, video artists, scholars and the broader population will collaborate in a workshop to produce a video documentary, Chamorro said.

“The personal narratives of the war will collectively provide a view of the recent local history of Matagalpa, with the premise that understanding the past is empowering and gives a community the tools to think about their present and reimagine their future,” Chamorro said. She hopes that such a project will help “recognize in the past the seeds of our current political and social issues, and use this understanding to build a more just and peaceful future for Nicaragua.”

The team of Courtney Crumpler and Sarah Simon, both members of the Class of 2013, were awarded $10,000 to confront issues of health, nutrition and violence by mobilizing an underprivileged community, known as a favela, in Rio de Janeiro to build sustainable rooftop gardens. Their project, “Cultivating Restorative Spaces: Improving Health and Reducing Violence Through Urban Gardens,” aims to bring youth and their families together while learning about food through sustainable gardening.

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Iwa Nawrocki honored at the APGA Tribute to Teaching Reception

The annual Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni (APGA) Teaching Awards are sponsored by graduate alumni and are selected by Dean of the Graduate School William Russel.  All will be honored at the APGA’s Tribute to Teaching Reception on Saturday, June 2. Each winner will receive $1,000.

Iwa Nawrocki received her joint bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from McGill University in 2007 before coming to Princeton to study global and transnational history, with a focus on modern Latin America and Eastern Europe. Nawrocki is being honored for her assistance in teaching “A History of the World Since 1300″ under the guidance of Jeremy Adelman, the Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture and professor of history. In nominating Nawrocki, Adelman noted her ability to engage the wide variety of students enrolled in the expansive course. “Getting students motivated and involved requires energy, devotion and an ability to range widely without being superficial. Iwa has all three,” Adelman wrote. He commented on the exceptionally high course evaluations and compliments Nawrocki received from her students, writing, “Consider the keywords of her students: engaging, comfortable, thoughtful, clarifying, kind, helpful, encouraging. … Exactly the vocabulary one wants to see in one’s teaching assistant, Iwa delivers.” One student, describing her dedication to teaching, wrote that Nawrocki “let me know when my initial work was not up to par, and she showed me what she expected of me in her class. Through her teaching I learned how to write an A-level history paper, and I feel very prepared for any history class to come.” Nawrocki expects to complete her Ph.D. in 2015.

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PLAS concentrator David Peña ’12 balances academic and athletic life

Photos of David Peno

Left: David Peña (right) dur­ing an intern­ship at the Mex­i­can embassy in Madrid, along­side Ernesto Sosa Gal­le­gos (left), a coun­selor in the polit­i­cal affairs divi­sion. Right: Squash player David Peña. (Photo at left cour­tesy of David Peña; photo at right by Bev­erly Schaefer)

For the nearly 1,000 students, or about 20 percent of the University’s undergraduates, who suit up for Princeton’s 38 varsity sports teams, life as a student-athlete poses both opportunities and challenges.

Varsity athletes have the chance to travel around the United States and even in other countries for competition, while creating deep bonds with their teammates, honing their talents and learning values such as leadership and fair play. Student-athletes, such as David Peña featured below, balance their rigorous athletic commitment with coursework and other extracurricular activities during their college years.

David Peña, class of 2012

Hometown: Mexico City

Sport: Men’s squash

Academic focus: Politics major; pursuing a certificate in Latin American studies

Other activities: Princeton Junior Squash program; dormitory assistant; working in the Princeton University Library

Favorite Princeton sports moment: “Easy. Feb. 22, 2009, a 5-4 heartbreaking loss against Trinity College during the National Team Championship Finals held at Princeton. The atmosphere of playing for the championship, the support displayed by the school and the intensity of the six-hour-long game was indescribable; hard to believe unless you were present. Despite the loss, I am confident the best is yet to come.”

On balancing squash and other activities: “Like most athletes at the college level, I have practiced a sport since I was a child. I think one gets used to the rush and pressure of combining athletics with academics, family, social life and personal projects. Although it is challenging, having an organized schedule is key to balance all the activities. In addition, professors, coaches and peers have been willing to provide advice and help me along the way.”

Biggest achievement at Princeton outside of squash: “Last year, with support of the Office of International Programs, I had the opportunity to work at the Mexican embassy to Spain, in the political affairs division. I very much enjoyed the experience, and it made me consider perhaps a career path in diplomacy working for the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.”

Excerpted from this article published on the main Princeton University website

PLAS concentrator Alissa Escarce ’11 awarded the Labouisse Prize

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PLAS concentrator Alissa Escarce ’11 has been awarded the University’s Henry Richardson Labouisse ’26 Prize, which will allow her to devote a year of service and research related to migrant workers’ rights.

The Labouisse fellowship provides $25,000 to each recipient to support research in developing countries by graduating seniors who intend to pursue a career devoted to problems of development and modernization. The prize was established in 1984.

Escarce, a history major pursuing a certificate in Latin American studies, will spend the year in Mexico working with Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM), a transnational workers’ rights law center. She will help expand the capacity of a new CDM office in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca by assisting with research on legal cases, preparing educational materials for outreach efforts, including workshops and a radio show, and performing administrative duties. Escarce also will document the effects of the United States’ H-2 temporary visas on Oaxaca’s indigenous Mixtec community, in part through interviews with local organizers, workers and their families.

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Brianna Eastridge ’12 writes to PLAS about her studies abroad

Dear Program in Latin American Studies,

As a rising junior in the anthropology department, I was able to do an internship in Rio de Janeiro with the Fulbright Commission/Education USA because of PLAS’ gracious funding towards my expenses to travel there. This internship completely changed my mind about study abroad and widened the scope of my intellectual interests at Princeton. I want to personally thank the PLAS for giving me this opportunity and allowing me to have this wonderful experience.

I chose this particular internship because I have always been interested in education and education policy, especially associated with underprivileged students in urban environments. I am also getting a certificate in the Latin American Studies department and my academic interests have included many topics in Latin America. This particular internship seemed to fit not only my academic interests but also many passions I have for my future goals. The Fulbright Commission serves as a type of college counseling for Brazilian students who wish to study in the U.S. As an intern for them, I had many projects assigned to me ranging from basic office work to researching educational programs and providing advice from my experience from attending a university in the U.S.

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