Senior Spotlight: Luis Armando Martínez
This May, we’re shining the spotlight on some of our College of Arts and Science seniors! Meet Luis Armando Martínez, a double major in History (Latin American focus) and Spanish and Portuguese, who also has a minor in Chinese language and culture.
What was your favorite class and why?
I have enjoyed all my coursework in history and Spanish & Portuguese, but I will go with Post-Boom Spanish-American Literature! Professor William Luis, the first Cuban professor I had at Vanderbilt, was our instructor and quickly became a role model for me.
We studied the works of late 20th-century post-Boom authors, including Allende, Esquivel, Montejo and Barnet, Puig, Fuguet, Carpentier, and Febres. Because post-Boom authors foregrounded politically, sexually, and racially marginalized voices, and because the post-Boom constituted a form of backlash against Boom-era authors and tendencies, I was able to marry my identity as a queer, first-generation Cuban-Venezuelan-American with my loves for Latin American literature and human dignity.
What are you most proud of during your time at Vanderbilt?
I am proud of my work in human rights advocacy to help topple fascist states and mitigate systemic rights crises in the Americas, and my history honors thesis on Brazilian racial justice during re-democratization in the 1990s and early 2000s.
How have you surprised yourself while in college?
Through establishing robust ties to various communities, organizations, and academic departments, I have reminded myself of my ability to overcome the homesickness inherent in leaving my distinctively Latin home of Miami, Florida, no matter where I go in life.
What advice would you give to incoming Vanderbilt students?
I would recommend that incoming students take advantage of everything Vanderbilt has to offer so they can maximize their own growth, support their communities, and make a future impact on the world.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years?
Starting in August, I will be attending UCLA Law School on a full tuition Promise Institute for Human Rights merit scholarship for the next three years. During my time in law school, I hope to gain further exposure to the various sub-fields of international public law so that I can develop a career allowing me to combat state repression, environmental injustice, and other systemic rights crises throughout the Americas. After that, I can begin working in an entry-level position at an international nongovernmental organization to help advance global justice using insights from my B.A. at Vanderbilt and J.D. at UCLA Law.
What is your best memory from your time at Vanderbilt?
Attending the UNFCCC COP25 (the UN’s annual global climate change summit) held in Madrid in December 2019 through the College Scholars Program as part of Vanderbilt’s inaugural delegation was pretty unbeatable. Going with my friends (and serving as our cohort’s unofficial Spanish-English translator) consolidated my love for international environmental law and continues to power me on my quest to help avert climatic disaster both in my home city of Miami and all environmentally vulnerable parts of the Americas.