Jesse Zarley

Credentials: Class of 2008 Alumnus

Position title:

Jesse Zarley, San Pedro
Jesse Zarley, San Pedro

When did you graduate from UW-Madison? What degree(s)?

I graduated in 2008 with B.A.s in History (honors in the major) and LACIS.

What are you currently doing/working on?

I am an IT Instructional Designer and Certified Scrum Master at Bellin Gundersen Health System. Before that, I received my Ph.D. in history (Latin America) from the University of Maryland and was an Assistant Professor at Saint Joseph’s University on Long Island.

What (or who) inspired you to study the LACIS region? Growing up, my mom’s stories of doing 4H work in Guatemala. Afterward, in my first two years at UW, Florencia Mallon and Steve Stern took me under their wings and helped foster my love for Latin American and Caribbean history. Gladys McCormick, a UW Ph.D., helped encourage me to apply to graduate school.

What was your experience with LACIS?

Loved it. I had language training and cultural immersion in Oaxaca after my first year and studied in Santiago, Chile, for a year while I researching Mapuche history and settler colonialism for my undergraduate thesis.

How did LACIS prepare you to get to the place where you currently are?

I wouldn’t have gone to graduate school or lived in Chile, Argentina, and Spain had it not been for LACIS and for that I’m forever grateful. Those experiences helped me be the adaptable person I became in terms of life and work.

Do you have any advice for our current LACIS undergraduate students?

Life isn’t a straight line. Be open to new opportunities, have an open mind, and don’t be afraid to leap if you find yourself backed into a corner. Also, live it up in your 20s if you can at all costs.