What Our Graduates Are Up to Now...

The innovative and interdisciplinary field of Latin American & Caribbean Studies prepares students with the skills and knowledge to deal with contemporary global issues and to operate in a world where both problems and opportunities increasingly transcend national boundaries. KU's Undergraduate and Masters Programs in Latin American & Caribbean Studies are designed to offer students a better understanding of the issues that Latin America faces. Program graduates have embarked on a wide variety of career paths.  We profile a few of those below. 

Marisela Chávez-Narváez ​
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2015.​

Marisela is currently a Program Associate in the Andes-Amazon Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto, California. Intel co-founder and his wife Betty established the foundation in 2001 to create positive, meaningful, and lasting change for future generations. The organization’s investments focus on environmental conservation, science, and health care.  Her role consists of project management, as well as providing programmatic and administrative support of a $30 million annual grant portfolio financing environmental conservation across the Amazon Basin. This portfolio consists of over 60 projects in five countries (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia), which provides her with ample opportunities to practice her language skills, including FLAS funded Portuguese, as she works very closely with their grantees and partners on developing their proposals and she make site visits to monitor the progress of project objectives. Her M.A. thesis focused on sustainably grown food as a mechanism for environmental and social justice for an MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or Landless Workers’ Movement) community in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. It was CLACS support, through the Tinker and Oppenheimer research grants, that took her to Brazil and enabled her to gain some expertise in a region that is extremely relevant to her current work. These and other volunteer experiences cemented her commitment to work on environmental conservation and social justice issues in the region.

Lindsay Dudley

Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2013.


During her time in KU’s MA program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Lindsay Dudley (2013) wrote a Master’s thesis on the experiences of Ecuadoran migrant women in Spain and studied Quechua as a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellow.  She also assisted the Center with Outreach efforts and worked in KU’s Career Center helping students prepare for international experiences.  Before the ink was dry on her diploma, Lindsay was headed south to the University of Texas at Austin to work as Public Engagement Coordinator for the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. After a year she felt the call of Ecuador, and she now lives in Quito and works as country Team Leader for Global Citizen Year.  This Oakland, CA-based NGO conducts bridge year programs for high school graduates in Ecuador, Brazil, Senegal, and India. Lindsay leads, teaches, and coaches a cohort of fellows, manages local homestays and apprenticeship partners, and supports leadership training development.

Sarah Stern

Bachelor of Arts (with Honors) in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2013


It is hard to imagine a more eventful undergraduate experience than that of LACS graduate Sarah Stern (BA, 2013).  With a fellowship from Kansas Paraguay Partners, she developed her own independent study program in that country and mastered Spanish and Portuguese.  During her time in Paraguay, she conducted a study of poor women’s experiences with microfinance programs.  A lifelong photography enthusiast, Stern participated in the Paraguayan Carnaval Encarnaceno, somehow managing both to photograph the event and dance in it.  In a visit to Brazil, she collaborated with photographer Gary Mark Smith to create the photography book Favela da Rocinha, Brazil, a pictorial chronicle of life in that famous shantytown of Rio de Janeiro.  Proceeds to the book support community education projects in the favela. As a result of these and other accomplishments, Sarah was named one of Glamor Magazine’s Top 10 College Women of 2012.  After graduating with honors from KU, Sarah accepted a position as an Account Assistant for the Jeffrey Group, a Miami-based public relations agency that serves firms that do business in Latin America. At the Jeffrey Group, Sarah won a prestigious SABRE Award for her work promoting Spotify in Latin America. Now she has moved onto her next challenge and is the manager of Netflix's Latin America consumer division. 


Andrew BaileyAndrew Bailey
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies & Masters of Business Administration, University of Kansas, 2012

Bailey pursued his undergraduate degree while studying at both the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador in 2005 and later at Texas A& M, graduating with degrees in Political Science and Spanish in 2006. After spending the next three years living and working in Ecuador, Bailey came to the University of Kansas and completed a joint Masters of Latin American and Caribbean Studies & Masters of Business Administration in 2012. Bailey's interests concentrated on the export of coffee and coffee certifications in Ecuador and Brazil. Andrew received a Foreign Language Area Fellowship to study Portuguese as well as a Tinker Summer Field Research Grant, and a 2010 Honorable Mention in the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Graduate Research Competition.

Bailey graduated in 2012 and moved to Washington, D.C., where he began working as a Global Health Fellow for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. His Spanish and Portuguese language skills, honed through the Latin American and Caribbean Studies program at KU, will be used to advance American Cancer Society’s advocacy capacity efforts in Latin America.

Melissa Hartnett VelazquezMelissa Hartnett Velazquez
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2008 

Velazquez currently serves as the Senior Evaluation Specialist for Unbound (formerly the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging), an international nonprofit headquartered in Kansas City. Unbound partners with families around the world, including Latin America, to help them build a path out of poverty. As an evaluator, Melissa gets the opportunity to use her research skills and apply them to specific program questions and see how change is happening in people's lives. Her role also enables her to collaborate with, and build the capacity of, program staff and local families to design and conduct their own outcome measurement. "The diverse experiences and relationships that I developed while studying abroad as a student in Latin American and Caribbean Studies help me listen to those I work alongside. And the interdisciplinary nature of my education allows me to better explore the complexities of the contexts in which we work and the problems people face. I find myself, even now, pulling articles off my shelf on human ecologies and referencing my research in peri-urban communities when discussing development approaches with colleagues," stated Velazquez. As Melissa travels frequently to Latin America and communicates daily in Spanish, she is also grateful for the rigor and commitment that KU fostered for her study of language. "I even get to use Portuguese every once in a while. And, as I plan for participatory data collection in Guatemala, my only regret from my time at KU is that I didn't take advantage of the Kaqchikel."

"While studying Latin American and Caribbean Studies and focusing on urban geography at KU, people often questioned where a degree with Latin American and Caribbean Studies would take me. I would always respond, 'I don't know, but it will be amazing.' I am glad that I pursued a passion for people, culture, and their interactions with urban spaces. And now I am grateful to continue that learning process in my work and to share that passion with my own two kids."

Kathleen Murphy AndrusKathleen Murphy Andrus
Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2008

Kathleen graduated with a B.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in 2008. Her studies, which were primarily focused on foreign language skills, social movements, economics and traveling abroad, helped her to develop a life-long commitment to global social justice. She now lives in Minneapolis, MN working as a Spanish/English bilingual assistant educator at an urban elementary school. She is also actively involved with the CTUL worker's center which is comprised of mainly Latino immigrant workers who are organizing for fair wages and working conditions in the retail cleaning industry. 


Erin AdamsonErin Adamson
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2007

Adamson is currently a lecturer in the Graduate Writing Program at the University of Kansas. She received her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in 2007, and a BA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and BS in Journalism in 2002. "The M.A. experience in Latin American and Caribbean Studies provided me with insight into the writing challenges graduate students face moving between writing discourse communities (the daily newspaper to academia) and writing for varied audiences (academics to Non-governmental organizations)", Adamson said. Her language study of Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole, as well as time living in Costa Rica, prepared her to teach writing and rhetoric of disciplines to International students, who comprise 50 percent of students in GWP classes.  Her position as Research Assistant in Latin American and Caribbean Studies offered experience in researching and writing grants, organizing educational programing and advising students, all skills that have directly benefited her teaching.   


Hugh CagleHugh Cagle
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2006

Hugh Cagle came to the MA program after working and studying in Spain. He was interested in nineteenth and early twentieth-century literature, the ebb of Spanish imperialism, and in cultural difference. At KU he took classes in history, sociology, literature, and political science. It was that interdisciplinary perspective, combined with an introduction to Portuguese, tremendous support from KU faculty, and a series of papers on cross-cultural interaction in colonial Brazil that made all the difference. FLAS fellowships took him to Brazil for a summer of research in Rio and language study in Vitória. Cagle wrote a thesis (“The Genealogy of an Atlantic World Order”) under the direction of Elizabeth Kuznesof, Anton Rosenthal, Mehrangiz Najafizadeh, and Gregory Cushman that traced the racialization of slavery in colonial Brazil. Then, with an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, a growing concern with questions of race and slavery, and an abiding interest in transatlantic perspectives, Cagle went on to get a PhD in history at Rutgers University. He is now an assistant professor at the University of Utah, where he teaches classes on Brazil, colonial Latin America, and the history of science. His work is still marked by a concern for historical debates and a penchant for comparison, though now the debates are over medicine and disease rather than race and slavery, and the comparisons are global, linking colonial Latin America to both African and Asia. He is revising a book manuscript about the field of intellectual inquiry now referred to as “tropical medicine” as it emerged in Portugal’s equatorial colonies between 1450 and 1750. From Lisbon to London, and from Salt Lake City to Salvador da Bahia, Cagle never fails to meet scholars, journalists, musicians, and many others with ties to Lawrence. And support and friendships begun at KU continue wherever he goes. 


Bart WinterBart Winter
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (with honors), University of Kansas, 2003

I pursued a Master’s Degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies as part of my preparation for a public service career. Through the program, I learned not only about the history, politics, and cultures of Latin America, but also strengthened my capacity to conduct independent research, read critically, and develop concise, well-supported written products. As an Investigator with the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, which enforces federal statutes that apply to private-sector employee benefit plans, I utilize these research and analytical skills on a daily basis. Also, though not as frequently, I am able to provide assistance directly to Spanish-speaking plan participants or employers who wish to provide their Spanish-speaking employees with information regarding their benefit options.

I am very grateful for the instruction and guidance that I received as a graduate student within the program. I believe that the program has played no small part in my career development by providing me with unique expertise that my current employer found very attractive.


Leticia Arroyo AbadLeticia Arroyo Abad
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (with honors), University of Kansas, 2003

Arroyo Abad currently teaches at Middlebury College as an Assistant Professor of Economics & International Politics and Economics. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Davis in 2009; a M.A. in Economics from the University of California, Davis in 2004; her M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (with honors) from the University of Kansas in 2003; and a B.A. in Economics, from Argentine Catholic University in 2000.

Arroyo Abad’s main interests are the nature and sources of economic growth.  She studies interactions within economic development, looking at specific issues such as inequality and poverty, trade, migration, and institutions.


Angela PerrymanAngela Perryman
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 2002

Angela Perryman currently serves as the Director of the Office of Study Abroad at KU.  She holds a Master of Public Administration and a Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Kansas, and a B.A. in Spanish.  Her duties include strategic and operational planning  for the Study Abroad unit, personnel management, fiscal management, programmatic oversight and assessment, and service on the executive management team within the Office of International Programs. 

Angela began her career in International Education as the Program Coordinator for Spain and Latin America and subsequently Assistant Director of Study Abroad at KU.  In 2008, Angela relocated to Colorado and assumed the position of Associate Director of Study Abroad at Colorado State University.  She is a Kansas native and returned to KU in July of 2012 to begin her current position.  Angela is an active member of NAFSA and serves on the executive leadership team of NAFSA Region II.  Outside of her professional travels, Angela’s significant international experiences include graduate research in Brazil, overseas director positions with the Experiment in International Living in Spain and Costa Rica, semesters abroad in Spain and Costa Rica, and volunteer work in Ecuador.

“The Master’s Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies has significantly influenced my career in International Education. The knowledge gained through my studies is used daily in advising both incoming and outbound university students as well as in collaborating with faculty on program development in Latin America and other developing regions.  In providing opportunities for study and research abroad, the LAS program enabled me to experience first-hand the transformative nature of international education.  I am deeply gratified to participate in making this a reality for current KU students.”


Kathryn SloanKathryn Sloan
Master of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Kansas, 1994

Sloan currently teaches at the University of Arkansas as an Associate Professor of History. She is also a faculty member in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Gender Studies. She received her Ph.D. in the History of Latin America from the University of Kansas in 2002; a M.A. in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from the University of Kansas in 1994; her M.BA. from the University of Kansas in 1986; and a B.A. in Psychology, from Kansas State University in 1983.

Sloan’s main interests are the social and gender history of modern Mexico.  She is the author of two books and is currently working on her third project, a book-length study of moral panic and youth in late 19th and early 20th century Mexico. Dr. Sloan teaches a wide variety of courses in Latin American social and cultural history. “I believe the Master’s Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies benefitted my future career directions by allowing me to study Latin America from the perspectives of different disciplines. I credit my time in KU's Latin American and Caribbean Studies program for molding me into a truly interdisciplinary scholar and teacher.”

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