Graduate Student Profiles

Master's Students


Photo: El Fortin, Nicaragua

Maegan Evans

University of Wisconsin: MA (LACIS) Student
University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire: BA Criminal Justine & BA Latin American Studies
MG&E Scholarship for Academic Achievement

"I have always loved the Spanish language and in pursuing it, I have become increasingly passionate about the history and culture of Latinos. In college, I was fortunate enough to study abroad in Costa Rica and Nicaragua during my junior year. This was an absolutely amazing experience which allowed me to see an exciting new culture firsthand. I saw the beauty of art, beaches and people and the horror of the poverty and political situations (specifically Nicaragua) driven from a complicated history in these countries. It was evident that my schooling had paid off as I was able to make many connections between what I had learned in text books to what was actually happening present day. Prior to this experience I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to grad school, but all of the connections I made while I was abroad made me realize that this is only the beginning. If I could make that many connections and learn as much as I did in one semester taking general classes, I could only imagine an opportunity focused more narrowly on my interests: criminal justice. With the rising border violence and immigration issues, something needs to be done and I feel this is my calling. As I double majored in Latin American studies and Criminal Justice, I took many political science classes and have done much research on the drug war and drug gangs and violence in Latin America. I know I want to work with helping Latinos within the criminal justice or legal fields though I am still working on expanding my knowledge to figure out exactly what I want to do for a career. Hopefully LACIS will help me find my niche."


Photo: Bogotá, Colombia

Kate Finley

University of Wisconsin: MA/JD (LACIS & UW Law School) Student
University of Wisconsin: BA Sociology & BA LACIS with Honors 2008
2011 Virginia A. Pomeroy Scholarship 2008 Harvey Meyerhoff Excellence Award 2008 UW-Madison LACIS grant 2007 UW-Madison's Commitment to Diversity Award

"As a current dual-degree candidate at the law school and the LACIS program, I have seen a tremendous need for attorneys with strong problem-solving skills, analytical tools, and cultural understanding. I hope to build upon these skills through my LACIS coursework by focusing my research on the complexities surrounding migration and the obstacles individuals face in leaving their home countries. Continuing my studies with the LACIS program on a graduate level will assist me in pragmatically approaching some of our nation's most pressing legal issues with the region, particularly those surrounding immigration."


Photo: Ibarra, Ecuador

Jessica Hanz

University of Wisconsin: BA History & Certificate Women's Studies
Concordia: Teaching Certification (Grades 6-12, Social Studies, Economics, and Psychology)
Recipient of the Helen Firstbrook Franklin Scholarship in Latin American Studies

"I intend to center my research in Ecuador, a country I have developed a strong interest in over the last several years. I am primarily interested in studying anthropological and historical developments in the region, specifically those pertaining to language, family structure, sexuality, and gender."


James Howard


Photo: Cartagena, Colombia

Valencia DeAna Lynch

University of Wisconsin: MA (LACIS) Student
Marquette University: BA Anthropology & BA Africana Studies 2011
AOF Fellow Most Outstanding Anthropology Senior Award

"I am interested in the identity formation of youth, primarily in Spanish-speaking countries with a large African Diaspora and I chose the LACIS program because their interdisciplinary approach grants me access to a wealth of knowledge from courses, professors, and programming events to help me better develop my research and meet my goals. "


Luis Lucas

2011 University of Virginia: MA Spanish 2008 Columbia University: BA Hispanic Studies and Economics Susan Huntington Vernon Prize - Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures - Columbia University - '08 Departmental Honors - Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures - Columbia University - '08

"I am interested in researching issues of racial/ethnic and cultural identity of Latin American immigrants in the US. I am currently focused on Caribbean immigrants displaced in the 20th century. Since most of the issues I encounter require more than a single discipline, I'm glad I am able to be part of LACIS, a program that allows me a great deal of versatility."


Photo: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Gina Managold

University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire: BA Spanish and Latin American Studies
McNair Scholar, Spanish Language Scholarship, Fulbright Argentina Scholar, and Knight Foundation Journalist of Promise Scholarship

"College has provided me an enriched interdisciplinary foundation for graduate work in Latin American Studies. Some of my scholarly interests include human diversity through a literary lens; the contemporary Southern Cone Jewish Diaspora; writing and film in the Southern Cone; Latin American women's activism; and comparative gender and welfare policy. Because my background and undergraduate experiences have given me a bilingual, but also a bicultural identity, I hope, as a LACIS student at UW-Madison, to also assist international students at the graduate and undergraduate levels with their transition to the U.S. education system. I realize that creating opportunities for and mentoring the next generation of academics is exactly what I hope to achieve one day as a professor."


Daniel Wargolet


PhD Minor Students


Photo: Salvador, Brazil

Matthew Francis Rarey

University of Wisconsin-Madison: African Studies Certificate
2010 University of Wisconsin-Madison: MA Art History
2008 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: BS Anthropology and Art History 2005 Universidad Nacional deTrujillo (Peru): Archaeological Studies Certificate 2004 Chancellor's Fellowship James R. Scobie Award
Joaquim Nabuco Award
Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Brazilian Portuguese)
Tinker-Nave Field Research Grant

"When I applied to graduate schools, LACIS was one of the major reasons UW-Madison emerged as my top choice. LACIS opportunities, faculty, and students have been instrumental in my formation as a scholar. The LACIS intellectual and social community have improved and expanded my scholarship in immeasurable ways, from participation in colloquia to faculty advising to outreach and events. Additionally, I have been lucky in that LACIS funding opportunities have been instrumental not only in allowing me to complete my research, but also providing the flexibility to take my projects in new and exciting directions I never could have envisioned otherwise."