Upon entering W&M four years ago as a shy New Englander with an intense love for books and learning, I had my mind set on majoring in history and government. It took only one class with Professor Cate-Arries however, that freshman fall semester, for me to completely change my plans and commit myself whole-heartedly to Hispanic Studies. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have found a home within the Modern Languages Department so early in my college career, and have loved every moment spent learning from and working under the passionate and talented Hispanic Studies faculty. For me, they vibrantly brought the study of language, culture, literature, history, and politics to life, and made going to class exciting, unpredictable, and incredibly thought-provoking. Not only have I been able to grow as a scholar through their guidance and support, but also as an individual, with an incredibly broadened-world view and passion for a wide range of social and cultural issues. Over the past four years, I have been able to travel to Spain twice on research grants, intern at the Library of Congress, and conduct honors research on penitentiary poetry under franquismo, a topic incredibly close to my heart, which in fact stems all the way back to that first freshman class with Professor Cate-Arries. Along the way I have also watched movies that have completely changed the way I understand cinema, read novels and plays that have found a permanent spot on my shelf of favorites, analyzed art in a variety of mediums ranging from traditional oil paint to Andean thread, and ultimately fallen in love with a language that was by no means by native tongue.
Following graduation this May, I will be headed to Washington D.C. to work at the law firm of Latham & Watkins, LLP, as part of the legal services staff. As much as I will miss the professors and Hispanics Studies department and the W&M community, I feel confidently equipped to handle whatever projects or challenges may come my way, thanks to the skills and knowledge they have imparted. I already cherish the memories that I have made in the many classrooms of Washington Hall and Old Campus over the past four years, and owe a large part of the happiness that I have felt at W&M to the many members of the Hispanic Studies community here at the College.