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Current students pursuing the Masters Degree (MA) in Latin American Area Studies:




Janaina Correa (she/her/hers)- is pursuing a Master’s degree in Latin American studies with emphasis in Brazilian studies. She resumes her studies after taking a short break to participate in and win the Brazilian version of “The Apprentice” reality TV show, work as Sales Representative at Rosetta Stone, and as Advisor at Apple. Born in the Brazilian Amazon, Janaina moved as a teenager to São Paulo, where her passion for volleyball allowed her to play in professional leagues and, ultimately, receive a scholarship to pursue a B.S. in Journalism at the University of Kansas. While playing for KU, Janaina was instrumental in helping her team make history as the first volleyball group at KU to participate in the NCAA tournament. Janaina is now excited to continue with her studies on Brazilian culture, with a special focus on gender disparities and racism.      





Mayra Yesenia Murillo Espinoza (she/her/hers)- received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at Emporia State University and also obtained a minor in Anthropology. During her time at ESU, she had the opportunity to study intercultural communication in Strasbourg, France, Spanish and history in Santiago, Republica Dominicana and Ugandan Culture in Ruboni and Kampala, Uganda. She am still searching for my specific area of interest, but will most likely revolve around social problems.




Trevor Lies (he/him)- is pursuing a PhD in Social Psychology and a graduate certificate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Trevor earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from KU in 2019. So far in graduate school, Trevor’s research has investigated how people construct the issue of climate change from a cultural psychology perspective. He is also interested in how understandings of history can influence perceptions of present-day social issues. Moving forward, Trevor hopes to learn more about understandings of environmentalism, the environment, and climate change in cultural settings of Latin America.  




Valentina Rivera-Rodriguez (she/her/hers) –is pursuing a Master's degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. In May of 2020, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and English with a focus in Creative Writing from the University of Kansas. During her undergraduate career, Valentina had the opportunity to develop and converge each of her scholarly interests into a three-part, interdisciplinary thesis, which explores issues related to Testimonio literature, collective memory, and collective trauma. Specifically, Valentina is interested in the formation of collective trauma, and the ways in which social, political, and cultural structures and institutions may facilitate, impede, or suppress it.
Valentina is excited to continue her research and education with a refined focus in Latin American and Caribbean studies, and to be learning Portuguese as a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellow. While her academic interests are sure to expand and develop, Valentina plans to maintain a focus on social justice issues.
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