Majors: Hispanic Studies B.A., Latin American Studies B.A., and Biology B.S.
UROP: Exploring Precious Metal Mining in Peru through Film
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Andrew Snustad, Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures
What do you think is unique about your major?
Hispanic Studies and Latin America Studies offer a perfect opportunity to think about some of the most important topics that we otherwise would not have taken the time to think about. They also offer a unique opportunity to learn about history and art while simultaneously learning a second language.
How does your major fit into your life goals?
Hispanic Studies and Latin America Studies have truly taught me how to think and write articulately, which helps me in every aspect of my life. It is so important to be able to clearly say what you think.
What piece of advice would you give to a student considering your major?
Embrace it and dive in. Hispanic Studies and Latin America Studies can cover topics that a lot of students seem to think are "weird," and then they shy away from really exploring the issues. This is the easiest and most welcoming opportunity to think about issues; take advantage of it. Also, the ability to speak and appreciate another language is extremely valuable. Don't find out at age 50 that you wished you would have studied Spanish and/or studied abroad; do it now. You won't regret it.
What were the most valuable aspects of your UROP experience?
Having a UROP further taught me how to manage my time and the importance of staying organized. It also gave me the opportunity to go to Memphis to present my research and listen to others.
National Conference of Undergraduate Research
There was a group of ten from UMD went down to Memphis, TN for the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR). This is a multidisciplinary conference with students from all over the US. The conference itself was three days long; we were gone for a total of five days. At the conference students had the choice of doing oral or poster presentation (or performing arts), and us UMD students did a mix of poster and oral presentations. I personally did an oral presentation. So I prepared a slideshow and presented for 15 minutes (with an additional 5 minutes for questions) in a classroom in front of other students and faculty. There are no prizes or judges at the conference; I guess its purpose is really just a pursuit of knowledge. Each of us students were completely funded by our respective colleges, so I was funded by CLA.
Background photo: Yanacocha mine in Cajamarca, Peru. The mine is featured in the documentary En el Corazón de Conga. Image courtesy of Wikimedia.