Noticias & Events

2013-2015 LAIS Annual Awards Ceremony

This year marked the culmination of Professor David Lopez-Carr’s three year term as Program Director for Latin American Iberian Studies (LAIS). This year’s Awards Ceremony reflected on the highlights of the program in the past three years and celebrated the achievements of faculty, staff, and graduating LAIS majors. An eclectic mix of contemporary and classic Latina music was presented by MA student, Alexander Scarlett.

Outstanding Faculty Advisor- Professor Teresa Figueroa and Dr. David-López-Carr

Professor Teresa Figueroa and Dr. David-López-Carr were recognized for their exemplary work, tireless enthusiasm, and dedication to the department and its students.

Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 – Professor Sarah Cline

Professor David López-Carr presented Professor Sarah Cline with the 2013 LAIS Lifetime Achievement Award

Undergraduate Valedictorian- Karina Aseret Lopez

Professor David López-Carr presented Karina Aseret Lopez with the 2015 LAIS academic Valedictorian award recognition for her high achievement in completing the LAIS degree. 

Academic Excellence- Steve Dustin Guzman & David Andrew Eredia

In recognition of their outstanding scholarship in the LAIS Undergraduate Program, Steve Dustin Guzman & David Andrew Eredia were presented with awards for Academic Excellence.

LAIS Outstanding Service Award- For Exemplary Contributions to the Development of the LAIS program – Professor Inés Casillas

In recognition of Professor Inés Casillas’s outstanding contributions to the advancement of the LAIS Program through her leadership of our graduate program.

LAIS Outstanding Lifetime Service Award: For Inspirational Mentoring and Exemplary Service - Professor Frank Dutra

The final award was an emotional homage to Professor Frank Dutra for his lifetime mentoring and service contributions to the LAIS program. Former LAIS Director, Professor Sarah Cline, presented the award along with a moving citation that brought all in attendance to a standing applause.

2015 LAIS Staff recognition

Carol Flores, Andrea Johnson, Denise Lucas, and Mary Anderson were recognized for their contributions to the LAIS program. Professor López-Carr thanked each individually for their outstanding performance managing the Phelps office during a time of unusual staff turnover.

2013-2014 LAIS End of the Year Fiesta & Annual Awards Ceremony

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This year’s LAIS End of the Year Fiesta & Annual Awards Ceremony took place on June 4 in the Multicultural Center.  As promised, delicious food, stimulating conversation, and Jarocha music by Jorge Mijangos provided all faculty, staff, and students in attendance with a joyful occasion by which to gather as a community and celebrate the culmination of the academic year. The awards for Outstanding Faculty Advisor, Undergraduate Valedictorian, Academic Excellence, Outstanding Master’s Thesis, and Outstanding Staff Member were also awarded during the festive ceremony.

LAIS Program Director Dr. David Lopez-Carr offered opening and closing remarks thanking all those involved in the LAIS program. He noted that although the program might be small in number, it certainly makes up for that in the quality of the work done by both its students and affiliated faculty, citing the numerous accomplishments of those honored during this year’s celebration.



Outstanding Faculty Advisor- Dr. Gabriela Soto Laveaga

Dr. Soto Laveaga, a former Program Director of the Department of Latin American & Iberian Studies, was recognized for her exemplary work as Committee Chair for Angel Rodriguez’s thesis project, her generous guidance of Marcus Cuéllar during his time in the Master’s program, as well as the dedication she has shown to the department and its students as a whole. As she was unable to attend the event, Angel Rodriguez accepted the award on her behalf.








Undergraduate Valedictorian- Maria Reyes

Faculty Undergraduate Advisor Dr. Hellier-Tinoco honored Maria for her extraordinary work as she completes her LAIS undergraduate studies. In the next year, Maria plans to attend USC to pursue a Master’s in Social Work. In addition, UCSB announced this past week that Maria was awarded the Thomas More Storke Award for Excellence, the university’s highest student honor for outstanding scholarship and extraordinary service to the university, its students and the community. To learn more about this award and watch a video interview with Maria compiled by the university, see here.









Academic Excellence- Cecilia Pineda & Natalia Luna (pictured)

In recognition of their remarkable scholarship in the LAIS Undergraduate Program, Cecilia Pineda and Natalia Luna were presented with awards for Academic Excellence. Although Cecilia was unable to attend, Natalia thanked all the department’s faculty and staff for their guidance and also announced that she would be seeking a Master’s degree in Educational Counseling at USC in the coming year.









Outstanding Master’s Thesis- Angel Rodriguez & Marcus Cuéllar

This year’s graduating Master’s students, Angel (left) and Marcus (right), were both honored by the department for their thesis projects. Prior to receiving the awards, each gave a brief presentation on their research experience, their findings, and even fielded some questions from those in attendance.







Angel, who will attend Harvard’s History of Science PhD program in the coming year, spoke about his thesis, “Infectious Imperialism: Race, Syphilis, and Human Experimentation in Guatemala City, 1946-1948” and thanked all those involved in the LAIS program for their work and guidance.








Marcus, who will pursue work with an MLB organization in Latin America, spoke about his experience while researching his thesis entitled “Runners Left On Base: Cuban Baseball Defection Experience and a Reevaluation of Baseball Diplomacy” and praised the faculty and staff of the LAIS program for their dedication.













Outstanding Staff- Josie Lopez Patterson

The final award handed out during the Annual Fiesta was given to the LAIS Undergraduate Advisor Josie Lopez Patterson.  As Dr. Lopez-Carr noted while honoring Josie, she excelled in not just the fulfillment of her own duties during the 2013-2014 academic year, but also took on many more tasks to ensure the LAIS program continued to thrive.







We are all very proud of the hard work and accomplishments of the LAIS community here at UCSB and look forward to continue building our familia in the future. ¡Saludos y buena suerte a todos!

From left to right: Marcus Cuéllar (Outstanding Master’s Thesis), Andrea Johnson, Angel Rodriguez (Outstanding Master’s Thesis), Veronica Zavala, Loida Chan, Dr. David Lopez-Carr, Noe Lopez (front), Sócrates Silva (back),Natalia Luna (Academic Excellence), Maria Reyes (Undergraduate Valedictorian), Dr. Ruth Hellier-Tinoco, Gaby Macias, and Josie Lopez Patterson (Outstanding Staff).