Written by Gillian Quinn.
Mary Morales, a master student in the LACIS program, has received a scholarship to get her PhD at UT-Austin.
Mary got involved with LACIS in fall of 2016 because she was interested in indigeneity and studying indigenous languages. Quechua was a particularly intriguing language for her and only a limited number of universities offer it.
She notes that the LACIS Master program is brief but very interdisciplinary. Before beginning, she thought there was a specific parameter of classes she had to take. She soon realized that she could direct her studies to help with her thesis, so she took classes in comparative literature, anthropology and history that all contributed to her academic project. She noted that semester assignments she has completed have given her material for her thesis and have helped her to develop her own thought process.
Victor Goldgel Carballo, who taught a Race and Visual Culture course, was Mary’s favorite professor while completing her requirements. “He is an excellent, excellent teacher, and is just extremely invested in the learning outcomes for his students,” Mary said. “He took each individual student’s perspective very seriously.”
For students interested in a major or masters in LACIS, Mary has a few tips.
“If you’re considering it, it’s helpful to come into the program with some idea of what your goal is. With the interdisciplinary nature of the program, you have a full range of choices in terms of coursework. So if you’re able to be focused with your course choices, that will really help you to broaden your thought process,” she said.
She additionally points out that it is great to take advantage of advisors, like Alberto Vargas, because they are great resources and everyone in the department is extremely willing to help.
Now, Mary will go on to complete a PhD. She stated, “I know that the work that I’ve done here directly correlates to my acceptance into that program. The professors at UT-Austin are excited about the work that I’ve been doing here.”
Mary is very happy with her experience with LACIS. She explained that since it is a small program everything is accessible and you can get to know people well. She appreciated the Lunchtime Lectures, the professors and the enriching classes.