UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Reflections on LAIS’ End of Year Celebration!

On May 31st the LAIS Program welcomed all UCSB LAIS affiliates to celebrate the achievements of our staff, faculty, and students with presentations, awards, and a lunch!

Our LAIS Program Director, Cecilia Méndez, kicked off the celebration with some opening remarks; she welcomed the attendees and thanked all those –present and absent– who had been working for the program throughout the year: our staff team at Phelps, the staff and academic coordinator in Area Global Studies (AGI), and the student assistants who helped set up the tertulias we hosted throughout the year, updated the website, and more. Following her remarks, Carina Paredes-Rivera gave a presentation on her Master thesis research, which focused on the Ni Una Más movement in Chile and Argentina. This was followed by recognitions to the staff. Elena Báez Cortés was presented with the Staff Excellence award in her capacity as an Undergraduate Advisor and Carol Flores, who retired this year as the Student Affairs Manager, was recognized for ten years of dedicated service to the LAIS Program. We then saw the LAIS students being honored with awards for their hard work and dedication. Emilie Mia Difede was presented the award for Academic Excellence as an undergraduate student; Marlene Torres-Magaña and Emma Zamora García were presented with the award and Honorary mention, respectively, for the Outstanding M.A Thesis, and Dr. Laura Marqués-Pascual was awarded the Exemplary Mentorship to LAIS Undergraduate and Graduate Students, presented by LAIS graduate student Jennifer Amador. Finally, our LAIS graduate students and LAIS graduate affiliates were awarded with the Graduate Alumni Research Award, which provides them with a small grant to support their research during the summer– as their names were called, they introduced their research briefly.

Jennifer Amador presenting the award for Exemplary Mentorship to LAIS Undergraduate and Graduate Students.

Following the awards, Director Cecilia Méndez thanked each and a all the members of the LAIS Faculty advisory board and announced she was stepping down as LAIS Director. She warmly welcomed Professor Juan Cobo Betancourt as the incoming LAIS director, as well as the director of the newly created Latin American and Iberian Research Center at UCSB, an initiative of the Dean of Social Sciences, Charles Hale. Dean Hale, who was present at the ceremony, provided more details about the center and expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of working more closely with the LAIS community, soon to be boosted by the new research center.

Professor Juan Cobo Betancourt presenting an award to Emilie Mia Difede.

The presentations and awards were followed by a delicious lunch!

Director Cecilia Méndez presenting an award to Carol Flores.

Professors Javiera Barandiaran and Juan Cobo Betancourt presenting the Graduate Alumni Research Award.