Danielle graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2016 with a major in political economy and a concentration in international development. Frequently traveling across world’s busiest border from her hometown in San Diego County, her interest in Latin American language and culture began at an early age. During her time as an undergraduate, she furthered that interest while studying abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she had the opportunity to conduct human rights-focused research regarding Chilean immigration law in association with the Human Rights Center and faculty at the Diego Portales University School of Law. Back in the Bay Area, Danielle held administrative positions at a workers’ rights advocacy organization and at the UC Berkeley School of Law; interned with the Center for Law, Energy and Environment; contributed to the Daily Californian as an avid sports reporter; and served as a tutor at Berkeley High School’s English Language Newcomers Program. She is excited to work with the DREAM Project in the Dominican Republic and learn more about nonprofit management before pursuing a career in immigration and refugee law, and remains at DREAM in 2017–18, this year as a PiLA senior fellow.
Hailing from Littleton, Colorado, Annie Austin graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2015. At Georgetown, she majored in culture and politics with a concentration in political economy in Latin America. Through a desire to promote social and economic development in Latin America, she studied, interned, and volunteered in the region. Annie paired those formative experiences with rigorous academic courses: she attained Spanish and Portuguese proficiency, while also taking courses such as “Drug Trafficking in Latin America” and “Poverty, Well Being, and Social Exclusion in Latin America.” Dedicated to returning to the region post-grad, Annie pursued the opportunity to work alongside an organization promoting sustainable development. At Endeavor Mexico City, she supports social entrepreneurs as they refine and pitch their business model to the Endeavor team, and remains for a second year with Endeavor Mexico as a PiLA senior fellow.
Colorado native Angie Neslin graduated summa cum laude from Columbia University in 2016 with degrees in Hispanic studies and American studies. She believes everyone has a story and is committed to giving others the tools and spaces to share theirs. This commitment inspired her work with Youth for Debate, a nonprofit providing free debate and public speaking instruction at underserved schools in New York City, and with the Freedom and Citizenship program, which prepares high-achieving low-income high school seniors for engagement in American public life through a philosophy seminar taught by Columbia professors. During her semester abroad in Buenos Aires, she fell in love with Argentine rock music and wrote her honors thesis in Spanish on rock nacional as an emerging element of mass culture in post-dictatorship Argentina. She hopes to pursue a PhD in Latin American studies, but first she will remain as a PiLA senior fellow at Fundación Abriendo Camino in Santo Domingo.
A San Francisco Bay Area native, Rachel Ozer-Bearson graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a major in international studies and minors in Hispanic studies and Latin American studies. While at Macalester, Rachel developed her passion for social justice and education. She collaborated with community partners while working for the Civic Engagement Center, completed an intensive teaching fellowship with Breakthrough Twin Cities, and taught English classes for adult English-language learners at the Minnesota Literacy Council. During her senior year, Rachel expanded upon research from a semester abroad in Buenos Aires to write her senior capstone which explored the relationship between contemporary Senegalese immigration to Argentina and the historical invisibility of Afro-Argentines. Rachel joined Antigua International School as a PiLA fellow, to teach middle-school social studies. She remains there as a PiLA senior fellow in 2017–18.
Originally from Warner Robins, Georgia, Tiffany graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish (2014). As a UGA student, in addition to studying educational methodology and pedagogy, Tiffany became involved in the local Hispanic community and developed a passion for addressing concerns affecting the community. After studying abroad and interning at an international school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tiffany developed an interest in narrative creation and popular portrayals of minority experiences. She received a research fellowship to return to Argentina and study the Afro-Argentine consciousness movement, there she interviewed grassroots organizations about their efforts to increase their visibility in the national Argentine narrative. Following graduation, Tiffany moved to Medellin, Colombia and started working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Universidad de Antioquia. There, she continued to nurture her interests in language and community narrative creation through her student and wider community interactions. She hopes to one day found a comprehensive Family Literacy Center and offer study abroad scholarships to students from underrepresented backgrounds. Tiffany is thrilled for the opportunity to bridge her interests in Latin America and community education through her work with Yspaniola, where she remains for a second year as a senior PiLA fellow.
Tiffany is also a recipient of the Christianson Grant from InterExchange to support her work with Yspaniola.
A second-generation Mexican-American, first-generation college student, and Chicagoland native, Brian Acosta graduated from Swarthmore College (2017), earning a B.A. in comparative literature and minors in educational and Latin American and Latino studies. At Swarthmore he was active with Swarthmore's Latinx affinity group, the Swarthmore Indigenous Student Association, Capoeira, and the college's Latinx Heritage Committee, as well as various green groups and the local Scott Arboretum. During his time there he also taught Mathematics in the rural highlands of Ecuador, worked for a local Citizens' Advisory Group back home, studied abroad in Cuba, and conducted research in North Carolina and Mexico City. Brian's academic interests include educational policy, multicultural and multilingual education, education outside of the classroom, national identity and literature, and alternative models of development. His extracurricular activities include running, reading, cooking, learning, and trying new things. He hopes to continue his career within the educational field, working to allow children from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed within academia, using local resources to better serve communities, and implementing multicultural and multilingual experiences into the classroom.
Elena Bell graduated from Tufts University with a BA in international relations and a Latin America concentration. Elena grew up in Washington D.C. and Paris, France and speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Elena’s passion for understanding different people’s languages and worldviews is the foundation of her interest in working with communications/marketing for social good. At Tufts, Elena was involved with Tufts’ Building Understanding Through International Learning and Development, and led a semester long, for-credit course on critically understanding development in Latin America engaging weekly speakers and readings. She also taught English every Saturday to Brazilian and Salvadoran immigrants in Somerville, Massachusetts, and for two summers while at Tufts was a communications intern in Guatemala, first with EcoComal, a partner factory of the UN Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, and then with PASMO/PlanFam, a partner of USAID. Elena studied abroad for seven months in Niteroi, Brazil and after PiLA is excited to return to Brazil teaching English with Fulbright. Elena is thrilled to be working with the Nature Conservancy this year as a content marketing fellow for the Latin America region.
Hilary Brumberg recently graduated from Wesleyan University (2017) with a double major in environmental science and Hispanic literatures & cultures, and certificate in environmental studies. An avid outdoorswoman and committed environmentalist, Hilary spent much of her undergraduate career working on Wesleyan’s student-run organic farm or on her honors thesis about the carbon dynamics in volcanic lakes. Hilary loves sharing her passion for nature, as she demonstrated through organizing Spanish hiking trips, leading volunteer trail maintenance crews on the Appalachian Trail, teaching a course on sustainable agriculture, studying plastic pollution in Puerto Rico, and serving as a co-captain of the Wesleyan climbing team. Through WesInterpreters, she partnered with local domestic abuse shelters, physicians and public schools to translate documents for Hispanic immigrants. Hilary spent her junior fall semester in Quito studying Ecuadorian culture and ecology, where she conducted research to predict the effects of ash from major volcanic eruptions on local populations. She plans to pursue a career as a climate scientist and environmental educator, focusing on underserved populations. Hilary is extremely excited to work as a PiLA research fellow at Osa Conservation in Costa Rica, where she will monitor river water quality, work closely with local communities, learn about rainforest management, hike and climb, and eat a lot of rice and beans.
Ana Teresa was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico and graduated from Haverford College with a major in anthropology and a minor in environmental studies. Inspired by her parents’ lifelong commitment to public education, she worked as a camp counselor for seven summers at a local public school community initiative. During her time at Haverford, she served as a teaching fellow for Breakthrough Collaborative of Greater Philadelphia, where she led her own seventh grade math classroom and mentored high-achieving students from underperforming schools. During her Junior year, she discovered a passion for environmental activism and education through her work with an anti-mining organization in Intag, Ecuador. As a result, she spent the following summer working for Para La Naturaleza, a Puerto Rican nonprofit organization that integrates society into the protection of natural ecosystems. Through research and fieldwork, she developed a community outreach plan for this organization and continued to do so as part of her senior thesis. She believes that community access to environmental education is key to successful conservation practices, and wishes to continue to explore ways in which this can be done in political, economic and culturally sensitive ways. She is looking forward to learning from everyone at The Nature Conservancy during her PiLA year.
Growing up in Bolivia made Camila keenly aware of the deep educational disadvantage at-risk children face, and sparked a passion for education. Camila graduated from Carleton College with a degree in international relations-political science (2016). While at Carleton, Camila interned and taught at a Ugandan NGO that was contributing to rebuilding the war-torn country by providing quality education to hundreds of orphaned children. She also conducted research in rural Myanmar regarding the social value of education in a country that is recently going through the process of democratization. Her senior thesis, which analyzed Bolivia’s most recent education reform by exploring the question of the right use of history within a society burdened with the legacy of a colonial past, received distinctions. After graduating, Camila served as an Americorps volunteer at an elementary school dedicated to underserved communities in Boston. She enjoyed learning more about the hands-on aspect of education, and being challenged by her students to become a better communicator, instructor, and mentor. Camila is very grateful for the opportunity to join the team at Project Alianza in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. She hopes to pursue a Master’s in public administration with the aim of working in the field of education policy in Latin America.
Ana attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead-Cain Scholar and a Davis United World College Scholar. She graduated with highest distinction as a double major in economics and global studies (concentrations in Latin America and international politics), with a minor in philosophy, politics and economics. During her time at UNC, Ana worked at the local juvenile detention center and served as a financial coach for people experiencing poverty and homelessness, deepening her commitment to fighting for a more just world. Having grown up speaking Spanish with her Argentinian relatives, in her junior year Ana returned to Buenos Aires for a semester, researching the construction of Latin American identity during the 2015 Argentinian presidential elections. Ana's path has been shaped by her experiences learning about and working on entrepreneurial leadership education in South Africa, impact-investing in the South Caucasus, affordable housing in Argentina, and public defense in Washington, D.C. In the long-term, Ana hopes to work in international criminal law and human rights. This year, she is thrilled to be joining Global Partnerships in its mission to expand opportunity for people living in poverty.
Roberto graduated from the Claremont Colleges (Pitzer College) with a bachelor's in political science and Spanish and Portuguese. Roberto was previously a summer analyst at Morgan Stanley and is currently working in private equity in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a first-generation American and the first college graduate in his family, Roberto was an active campus community member, serving as an orientation leader for minority students and co-founding his campus’s finance club. Roberto was raised in New York City and cultivated his passion for Latin America via years of travel to Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico, interning for the Cabinet of Economic Development in Brazil, and undertaking academic research on Latin American regime change and immigration.
During his PiLA fellowship, Roberto will work at Endeavor in Santiago, Chile, identifying and cultivating the businesses of high-impact entrepreneurs in the region. An avid consumer of chicken and rice, Roberto also looks forward to eating Chilean empanadas.
Sarah graduated from Middlebury College in 2013 where she earned a B.A. in Spanish with highest honors for her thesis work on a feminist movement in Bolivia. She spent her junior year studying abroad in Argentina and Spain. After graduation she joined the team at the Mariposa DR Foundation in the Dominican Republic, working to end the cycle of generational poverty by educating and empowering girls. Sarah then spent 10 months in Brazil as an English Teaching Assistant on a Fulbright grant. Following her time in Brazil, she rejoined the team at Mariposa as the administrative director. After more than two years in this position, she is thrilled to expand her experience at non-profits as the grants associate and monitoring & evaluation coordinator at Pueblo a Pueblo. Sarah hopes to use her passion for feminism and social justice to work towards positive change in Guatemala and beyond.
Joscelyn is a Chicagoland native who graduated from Tufts University (2016) with a degree in international relations and minors in Latin American studies and Chinese. A Fulbright Scholar, she has spent the past year in Taiwan teaching English, and has had other previous international experiences through internships and study abroad in Nicaragua, Ecuador and China. Coming from a Mexican household, she has been passionate about Latin America from a young age and hopes to take part in its empowerment. As a first-generation college student, Joscelyn is a strong believer in the power of education. She’s also infinitely passionate for human rights and international affairs, and strongly believes that dialogue and collaboration are the vessels for positive change. Joscelyn is honored and excited to take on the role as Program Director at Building Dignity, in Villa El Salvador, Lima, Peru.
As a first-generation Dominican-American, Nicole is an Atlanta native and a proud alumna of Princeton University (2017) with a B.S.E in operations research and financial engineering and certificates in engineering and management science. As a Dominican-American, she is extremely interested in Caribbean culture, dialects, and political systems and frequently travels back to where her family is from in Higüey and Santo Domingo. She is also curious about the intersection between quantitative methods and volunteer work and how the existing mathematical techniques we have can be used to predict and maximize the performance of a non-profit organization. Nicole has worked in many places, from a food bank to BlackRock, and has had a wide array of experiences that give her a unique perspective and that have made her interested in providing targeted solutions to the problems that nonprofit organizations can face. Lastly, her extracurricular interests include, ballet, yoga, and violin and she actively intends to try and pursue them while abroad.
PiLA and Nicole gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Elizabeth “Nora” Harless graduated with honors from New York University in 2016, having studied Spanish and drama, with a focus in international literature. During her time at NYU, Nora taught theatre arts to students in coastal Ecuador. During her senior year Nora studied in Havana, Cuba, taking classes with the Ludwig Foundation and researching the Chino-Cubano community and its immigration history. In April 2016, she returned to Ecuador, collaborating with a team of locals to provide crisis-relief to earthquake victims in the region. She thereafter continued to work with an Ecuador-based aid organization active in the rehabilitation of the town of San José de Chamanga. Since graduating, Nora has spent a year in Somaliland, an autonomous region in Northeast Somalia, teaching pre-algebra and working as a supervisor of the local orphanage program. Over the past year, she has enjoyed her taste of the Semitic languages of aaf-somali and العربية, but has missed speaking castellaño. She is looking forward to serving as the External Relations Director at UAC-Carmen Pampa in Nor Yungas, Bolivia.
Jacob graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Economics and certificates in Finance and Political Economy. Over the following four years at HSBC in New York City, Jacob analyzed the stocks and bonds of some of the largest Latin American corporations as well as the US Treasury and corporate bond markets. Jacob is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder.
Jacob has cultivated his passion for Latin America over many years through his volunteer service trip to rural Mexico, summer internship with Endeavor in Santiago, Chile, academic environmental research project in Panama, and backpacking through Peru, Argentina, and Costa Rica. Jacob is also a competitive Latin ballroom dancer and is looking forward to doing more of salsa and bachata dancing in Managua.
Jacob will be working as a Social Investment Programs Associate at the U.S. based impact investment fund, Global Partnerships, in its Nicaragua office. After the fellowship, he plans to pursue a MBA degree and a career that involves Latin America, finance, and economic development.
Sybil Lewis graduated from UC Berkeley (2015) with a B.A. in political economy. Prior to PiLA, Sybil worked as a legal assistant for the Immigration Center for Women and Children in Oakland, CA. Passionate about many aspects of social justice, particularly regarding migration issues and racial discrimination, she has interned at various organizations. Sybil interned at the International Rescue Committee in Oakland, where she taught financial literacy courses to newly arrived refugees. She also spent a summer in India researching the affirmative action programs of four major Tata companies. In addition, Sybil has a strong passion for journalism and communications and interned with the public affairs section of the U.S. Department of State in Jamaica. Sybil’s interest in Latin America and international development stem from her upbringing where she lived in different countries, including Bolivia.
Kathy Lui is a Hong Konger by birth, a Shanghainese by blood, and a Bostonian by nurture. She majored in international affairs and Latin American & hemispheric studies and minored in history and Spanish at the George Washington University. Kathy fell in love with Latin America when she volunteered in Nicaragua, and solidified her interest while abroad in Argentina. At GW, Kathy served alongside local communities through the GW Alternative Breaks Program, supported USAID-sponsored projects at the U.S. Department of the Interior, promoted travel at the Brand USA, and worked on World Bank development projects in Latin America at Development Finance International, Inc. Kathy is committed to building stronger international business relationships to promote economic development in Latin America. She is excited to support high-impact entrepreneurs at Endeavor Argentina this year. In her free time, she loves learning new languages, salsa dancing, and enjoying cuisines from all over the world.
Susi Martinez graduated from The Ohio State University (2017) with a B.A. in international studies and minors in global public health and Spanish. Susi’s passion for learning more about Latin America, social justice, and global inequalities stems from her family’s Colombian roots and travels to Central and South America. Susi studied in Ecuador, where she researched physicians’ and indigenous patients’ perceptions of nutrition in relation to health behaviors. She has also worked with the education nonprofit Faith Seeds-Semillas de Fé in Guatemala, where she tutored children from families that work in garbage dumps. At home, Susi has supported the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Campaign to improve the living conditions of migrant farm workers. She also volunteered as a L.A.S.E.R. mentor helping Latino high school students apply to college and as an English teaching assistant at Community Refugee and Immigration Services in Columbus. Susi is excited to work on public health initiatives with Comunidad Connect in Nicaragua and continue learning about the history and cultures of Latin America. After her fellowship, Susi plans to attend graduate school to pursue her interests in food security, environmental health, and human rights advocacy. Susi loves to hike, try new recipes, play guitar, and is working on increasing her tolerance for spicy food.
Abby Melick graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University (2017) with a B.A. in English and minors in theater and American Studies. Her senior thesis on gender dynamics in utopian and dystopian fiction garnered both the Willard Thorp and Thomas H. Maren thesis prizes. Outside of the classroom, Abby participated in a number of theater productions and served as a Princeton Women’s Mentorship Pod Member and a Windows Project team member, which brought theater workshops to an LGBTQ safe house in Trenton, New Jersey. Growing up in Washington D.C., Abby attended a Spanish-English bilingual program at a public elementary school, which gave her the ability to speak and write Spanish and an immense appreciation for Latin American culture. In 2015, Abby participated in a Princeton Global Seminar in Santiago, Chile, studying Chilean literature, art and history for a semester. Abby also has studied and volunteered in the Sacred Valley of Peru and has worked at a wilderness adventure summer camp for several years, leading groups of young girls on extended backpacking and camping trips through remote parts of Northern Michigan, Ontario, Canada and Alaska. Abby is thrilled and honored to be joining the team at the Mariposa Foundation in the Dominican Republic!
Danielle graduated from Harvard University (2017) with a B.A. in human evolutionary biology and a secondary in global health and health policy. Her interest in medicine and global health stems from her various trips throughout high school and college with Somos Amigos Medical Missions, a nonprofit that provides free medical and dental care to a small rural community in the Dominican Republic, where she served as a translator. These experiences combined with her volunteer work in the Boston area have exposed her to the health disparities that exist locally and abroad. Danielle is excited to spend the next year at Hospitalito Atitlán, building on her interests and experiences before starting medical school.
Bianca graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Latin American & Latino studies, a minor in mathematics, and a certificate in Portuguese. She is originally from Long Island, and hails from a Mexican-Argentinian household, which sparked her interest in Latin America early on. While at Penn, she was heavily involved in the Latino community, actively advocating for issues facing the community to university administration, such as financial aid, faculty diversity, and first-generation students. She studied abroad in São Paulo, Brazil the fall of her junior year, where her interest in Brazilian history and education was piqued. She returned to Brazil the following summer to intern at an educational NGO in Rio de Janeiro where she developed a six-month program to help high-achieving, low-income Brazilian high school students develop competitive applications for U.S. universities. This experience sparked her interest in combating educational disparities in Latin American communities. She is beyond thrilled to be returning to Brazil and joining Worldfund as a member of their STEM team over the next year!
Jesse graduated from Occidental College (2017) with a B.A. in diplomacy and world affairs and a minor in Spanish. During his time there, Jesse worked four years for Occidental’s Office of Annual Giving, eventually becoming a student manager for the school’s Telefund program. He spent summers commercial fishing in Alaska and worked at the International Rescue Committee helping newly resettled refugees find employment in the Seattle area. During his senior year, Jesse studied abroad in Buenos Aires and received an independent research grant from Occidental that enabled him to travel to Bolivia and conduct research on the effects of remittances on local communities in Cochabamba province. He is excited to apply his diverse work and research experience in Guatemala and learn more about the region’s Maya heritage.
A Pacific Northwest native, Joe graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in international studies and a Spanish minor. His interest in Latin America started with travel and was furthered through Latin American political economic coursework and volunteer work with the Peruvian Consulate in Seattle as an undergrad. After graduation, Joe worked as a project management consultant for an IT consulting firm in the Seattle area. During this time, he also volunteered as a legal translator and teaching assistant at El Centro de la Raza, a Seattle-based organization that provides comprehensive services and programs aimed at empowering the Latino community to act as fully participating members of society. Joe plans to use the PiLA fellowship with the Nature Conservancy in Lima as a means to better-determine ways in which to make a positive impact in Latin America, as well as explore the natural landscape of Peru.
Born in Pereira, Colombia, but raised in North Carolina, Luisa graduated from Harvard University (2017) with a bachelor’s in neurobiology and a minor in global health and health policy. She has always had a passion for health and education, and loves working with children. During her time in college she devoted three years to a student organization that works with Boston Children’s Hospital to help provide health and education resources to low-income, minority families with children with disabilities. Additionally, Luisa spent two summers in Peru, working with different nonprofit organizations. In Lima, at Fundades Nuevo Futuro, she helped lead life skills workshops for middle and high school students, and also volunteered at the nonprofit’s various orphanages. Her second summer, she served as a medical volunteer with Hands on Peru in Trujillo. Now, she is excited to join the Mariposa team in the Dominican Republic, where she will get to continue to pursue her interests in health, education, and youth development. As an aspiring pediatrician, Luisa hopes to enroll in medical school in fall 2019.
Yesenia Ortiz was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from Harvard University, majoring in the studies of women, gender and sexuality, with a minor in Latino studies. Her passion for social issues informed her involvement outside of the classroom as well. She participated in a mentoring program geared towards gender issues, and was a member of a traditional Mexican folk dance troupe. She also served as a student coordinator for the First Generation Program in the Admissions Office, focusing on outreach to other prospective first-generation college students. As an undergrad, she spent two summers interning with a gender and justice organization in Buenos Aires. Yesenia is eager to continue pursuing opportunities that will allow her to engage with social justice work in communities she cares about, working with Worldfund Mexico in 2017–18.
Ethel is a first generation Guatemalan American who was born and raised in Iowa. She is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa where she earned a B.A. in journalism and mass communication and a B.A. in international studies with an emphasis on global health. During her undergraduate career Ethel spent a summer interning at a social justice magazine in Buenos Aires, Argentina as a Cultural Vistas Fellow. She also participated in the Fulbright Hays Group Project Award program in Rajasthan, India, where she learned about the health effects of wood burning stoves and deforestation on women and children in rural India. While at Iowa, Ethel engaged in the local food justice movement by working with a nonprofit organization to bridge the accessibility and education gap between organic, local produce and low-income communities. Ethel’s academic, professional, and personal interests lie at the intersections of food sovereignty, environmental justice, indigenous rights and multidisciplinary grassroots development.
Maria Jose graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in 2017 with a A.B. in anthropology, global health and environment, and a minor in biology. Originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Maria Jose immigrated to the United States as a teenager. The experience sparked in her an interest in human rights and health disparities in Latin American countries. During her undergraduate studies, Maria Jose devoted her time to the advancement of health for Latin American immigrants in St. Louis by volunteering as a medical interpreter at Casa de Salud, and by enhancing maternal and infant health services through the non-profit Nurses for Newborns. She has returned to Honduras numerous times to see family and to learn more about the country’s medical and public health systems. To pursue her passion in global health as an aspiring physician, Maria Jose is excited to work in Guatemala at Hospitalito Atitlán in the coming year.
Natassja graduated cum laude from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in international studies and management, and a minor in nonprofit management. Originally from Quito, Ecuador, she grew up in five developing countries throughout Africa and Latin America. Her childhood gave her a deep understanding of the harsh realities most people in the world face, and a desire to work hard to find solutions to those problems. As a recent graduate, Natassja moved to Australia and worked at YGAP, an international development organization. A year later, she is ready to begin the journey of which she has always dreamed: Returning home to Latin America and starting to make a difference, a lasting and sustainable one. Natassja is extremely excited to start this journey in the Dominican Republic, working for Yspaniola in educational development and defending the human rights of Haitian-descent Dominicans.
Born and raised in New York City as a first-generation American, Emilia developed an affinity towards foreign cultures and languages at an early age. After taking Spanish classes in high school and college, she began developing a deep appreciation for Latin American culture during a summer volunteer program called DukeEngage in Guatemala, working with a social enterprise in microfinance and grassroots business consulting initiatives. She later completed an intensive study abroad program in Madrid, and a summer marketing internship in La Paz, Bolivia at a software company called Colosa. Upon graduating from Duke University (2013) with a B.A. in psychology and a certificate in markets and management studies, Emilia held various roles in marketing and ad tech, through which she honed her analytical skills and completed pro-bono digital media strategy work for an international children’s charity. In her spare time, Emilia enjoys eating ethnic foods, running, rock climbing, and embarking on adventure travel. She is looking forward to delving into high impact entrepreneurship at Endeavor, and won’t rest until she finds the best guacamole that Mexico City has to offer.
Vanessa graduated from Princeton in 2017 with a degree in anthropology and certificates in Spanish as well as Latin American studies. During the course of her time at Princeton, in addition to playing on the women’s varsity basketball team, which she captained, Vanessa studied in Spain at the Universidad de Navarra, and in Chile at the Universidad Diego Portales. In Chile, she also worked for a summer with the nonprofit Fundación La Fuente, which promotes literacy and funded underprivileged libraries throughout the country. She is excited to be a part of the Mariposa team and continue to learn and contribute to its goals.
PiLA and Vanessa gratefully acknowledge the support of the Amy Adina Schulman Memorial Fund in making her fellowship possible.
Emma Soglin is from Evanston, IL and graduated from Macalester College in 2016 with a degree in sociology and Hispanic studies. Her interest in Latin America, human rights and ethical volunteerism began early in her college career when she worked with a sustainable development organization in Guatemala that focused on health in indigenous communities. She developed an interest in immigration advocacy during her semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, where she served as an intern with a job forum and legal clinic for migrants from all over the world. She continued this interest in Minneapolis as an intern in the Immigrant and Refugee program at the Advocates for Human Rights and spent the year after college aiding lawyers in research for immigration cases and working in development at a children’s theater near her hometown. She is excited to work with the Arias Foundation and learn about human rights issues in Costa Rica and beyond.
Nathalia graduated from Haverford College (2015) where she earned a bachelor’s in sociology with a concentration in Latin American studies and a Spanish minor. After college, Nathalia joined Teach for America in New York. There she taught 5th-grade bilingual education for two years. She graduated from Hunter College (2017) with a Master’s in Childhood Education Grades 1–6 with an extension in bilingual education. Nathalia hopes to continue developing her passion for education equity at DREAM in the Dominican Republic.
Yihemba graduated from Princeton University (2017) with a Bachelor’s in politics and certificates in Spanish and Latin American studies. As an undergraduate, she studied abroad in Spain and Chile. She has conducted field research for independent projects on the legacy of military dictatorship in Santiago, Chile and experience of Afro-descendants in the Colombian peace process. Her professional experiences include work as an academic instructor for young students, public policy intern in the U.S. House of Representatives, and communications and reporting intern at The Resource Foundation, a nonprofit that connects donors and development organizations in Latin America. Driven by a passion for service to others and cross-cultural engagement, Yihemba plans to pursue a career in global development. She is very excited about the opportunity to work in Guatemala and learn more about young women’s empowerment through education.