UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Interview with LAIS Alumna, Fátima Andrade Martinez

Fátima Andrade Martinez is a recent LAIS Alumna (2019), we recently caught up with her to learn more about what led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Latin American and Iberian Studies, and how that experience has influenced her career trajectory as a college adviser. 

What spurred your interests in Latin America and/or Iberia?

I became interested in Latin American my first year of college when I was enrolled in LAIS 10 with Profesora Figueroa. Profesora Figueroa was the first person at UCSB who I could relate to and who actively and intentionally interacted with the class. Through her course, she related international relations to simple case studies such as roses or mangoes. Her world examples and very specific case studies gave me the opportunity to venture into the complex relationships that Latin America has with the world. Further, I started to learn vocabulary to express some of the relationships I witnessed in my own family. This was important for me as I was eager to share my knowledge with my mom and this was the only class that created this opportunity. Overall, I became interested in Latin America because it was the history of my roots and I was given the tools to better analyze and comprehend my community while building my own academic community. 

What is your current career, and what are your current career goals?

I currently work as a college adviser for a small non-profit called Boost@BerkeleyHaas. I have always been adamant about educational equity and enjoy supporting students in taking an informed decision for their future. However, I will continue my work for educational equity through a faculty track. I hope to obtain my PhD in Applied Linguistics and teach in a 4-year institution.

 What was the most valuable part of your experience as a LAIS major or minor?

The most valuable part of my experience as a LAIS major were the deep and meaningful relationships I developed with multiple of my professors through the LAIS department. These relationships made my time in undergraduate a lot more fulfilling; allowing me to submerge myself into the research interests of professors and thus help shape my own interests. Further through these relationships, I was able to connect with my adviser, Professor Campbell, who guided me through two quarters of writing my senior thesis. 

What advice do you have for current LAIS undergraduate students?

Don’t let that little voice in your head that makes you doubt yourself keep you from taking advantage of all the resources available to you. Remember, you are paying for them every quarter and deserve to use them to their full potential to benefit you.