UNC Alumna Applies Latin American Studies Major to PhD Research
March 29, 2017
Institute for the Study of the Americas
The Latin American Studies Undergraduate major (LTAM) provides students with the opportunity to master multiple methodological skills and acquire the language competence through which to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the Latin American and Caribbean experience. In preparing students for public and private sector careers, LTAM alumni have found employment in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, transnational companies that operate in the U.S. and Latin America, and in non-profit organizations that work with migrants in the United States.
Nicole LeNeave ’14 is a Ph.D. candidate in the history department at the University of California, San Diego. She is studying the cultural history of the Cold War in Latin America, specifically looking at insurgency and rebellion through the lens of music and art. Since graduating as a double major in Latin American studies and Latin American history with a music minor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, LeNeave continues to have wide-ranging experiences in Latin American studies.
As an undergraduate, LeNeave served as an Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) intern where she transcribed oral history interviews and supported department communications. The work encouraged her to participate in the 2014 APPLES alternative spring break, which gave her the opportunity to record oral histories herself. After interviewing UNC Latino students and speaking with members of the Guanajuato, Mexico community, LeNeave was struck by the power of an individual’s narrative.
“Oral histories are intrinsically part of the way we function.” LeNeave said. “They provide a greater understanding beyond the empirical nature of academia.”
Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, LeNeave first became interested in Latin American studies after taking a first year seminar with Miguel La Serna about revolution and rebellion in Latin America. When it came to declaring a major, LeNeave liked the interdisciplinary nature of the LTAM major. The political science, music, history and anthropology classes all helped to frame her second major of Latin American history.
“LTAM is a great complement to another major,” LeNeave said. “I encourage people to do it and make it your own.”
LeNeave did just that, and with a future Ph.D. and dreams of a tenure-track professor position, she is just getting started.
Stand out in the NEW South
EXPLORE | CATALYZE | LEAD
Explore. The LTAM major offers opportunities to travel to Latin America for field work and study while you are here at UNC, including ISA scholarships for LTAM majors wishing to undertake study in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an LTAM major, you are highly competitive for these scholarships.
Catalyze. The LTAM major also offers high quality advising and personal attention, which are hard to find at a big place like UNC. Departmental advisor, Beatriz Riefkohl Muñiz can help you decide if this is a good major for you, select courses that fulfill requirements, plan a complete educational program, and learn about academic policies and procedures.
Lead. The Latin American studies major prepares students for graduate school and public and private sector careers such as in education, business, public health, law, communication, and government, among others. LTAM majors have gotten jobs in the U.S. State Department in a number of different Latin American countries, in non-profit organizations working with migrants in the U.S., and in transnational companies that operate in the U.S. and Latin America. Read their stories on the ISA website.