Gina Malagold

Position title: Class of 2013 Alumna

After completing the MA in LACIS in 2013, I went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During my Ph.D. program, I had the opportunity to teach and research at the University of Granada (2017-2018) and the University of Anahuac Mexico (2019). I am currently Teaching Faculty at Georgetown University where I teach language and culture courses to students in the School of Foreign Service and Department of Spanish and Portuguese. My research has been supported by competitive grants from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Fulbright Program, Association for Jewish Studies, Latin American Studies Association, Latin American Jewish Studies Association, University of Washington, and the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute. I am working on my first book project that will recover a largely forgotten world of transnational Jewish and non-Jewish women artists and intellectuals. With a basis in literary, archival, and historical analysis, this project emphasizes a significant amount of social and cultural exchange throughout the twentieth century between transnational women in the North and South. I have worked as a Spanish interpreter in Western Massachusetts and serve as a mentor to various undergraduate and graduate students as they apply for the Fulbright Program, Graduate School, and other National and International fellowships.

I am using my LACIS degree quite directly-I went on from UW-Madison to pursue a Ph.D. in Spanish at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where I worked on Latin American literature and culture. Entering the LACIS degree directly out of my undergraduate program, I had no idea that I would be headed for a career as a professor. I was simply passionate and fascinated by all questions related to Latin America-her history, people, languages, and cultures. As a first-generation student, I would not have been able to make it through my MA program without the endless support and inspiration from excellent professors and mentors. In particular, I feel immense gratitude towards my MA thesis committee, Dr. Alberto Vargas, Dr. Steve Stern, and Dr. Tony Michels. They supported my research questions with enthusiasm from the very beginning. Thanks to their guidance, I learned how to approach research from an interdisciplinary perspective. During the writing process of my MA thesis paper, I learned how to search for and carefully read primary documents-newspapers, articles, testimonies, and began to understand how primary sources can be understood in reference to larger political, intellectual, or cultural trends. Dr. Alberto Vargas helped me to transform UW-Madison into my forever home, he generously connected me with other faculty across departments and was the first to introduce me to the inspiring international community of LASA (Latin American Studies Association). I have presented research projects nationally and internationally at LASA over the past six years and look forward to reconnecting with mentors from UW during these conferences. I was privileged to collaborate with Latin Americanists in the Spanish and Portuguese Department and received excellent training as a Spanish Teaching Assistant. As I design my courses and approach research questions today, I am constantly reminded about the experiences and knowledge I gained during my LACIS degree.

I am so grateful for the abundance of opportunities I had to research, study, teach and seek mentorship during my time at UW-Madison. I am certain the LACIS M.A. program provided me an unparalleled intellectual foundation that allowed me to take on an exciting career in academia. With this degree, the possibilities are truly endless. I recommend taking part in as many opportunities as possible. I was privileged to be able to apply for and receive funding from FLAS, Tinker Nave Field Research Grant, Center for Jewish Studies Research Award, and an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship. These grants took me to archives in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, a summer in Florence, Italy where I gained advanced Italian proficiency, and a conference and research sojourn in Tel Aviv. Thanks to these opportunities I made international connections and formed research ideas that I took with me to my doctoral program and that I still rely on today. All of these experiences allowed me to expand my perspective of the world. Since then, I have not stopped researching, exploring, questioning and I owe much to LACIS for allowing me the support, intellectual freedom, and inspiration to do so from the very beginning.