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Latin American Studies Alumni

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Alumni News


“My career as a world language educator has been greatly influenced by my experiences as a LAS student.”
“The LAS major and my travel experience in Latin America gave me a significant edge…”


Sagen Eatwell (MEd/MA Latin American Studies 2020)
Alexa Bussman (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Rasul Dent (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Kelsey Donohue (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Emily Gonçalves (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Ryan Grawe (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Morenike Ibidapo (BA Brazilian Studies Minor 2020)
Meredith Lischer (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Lucille Matz (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)
Elissa Quon (BA Latin American Studies Minor 2020)


Alejandro Botia (MA Latin American Studies 2019)
Demetrius Murphy (MA Latin American Studies 2019)
Morgan Marquez (BA Latin American Studies Major 2019)
Ian Herrera (BA Blair/Latin American Studies Minor 2019)


Miguel Cuj (MA Latin American Studies 2018)
Andrea Delgado (MA Latin American Studies 2018)
Heather Ewing (MPH/MA Latin American Studies 2018)
Jessica Fletcher (MA Latin American Studies 2018)
Pilar Puyana (BA Latin American Studies Major 2018)
Kevin Munoz (BA Latin American Studies Major 2018)
Paige Southworth (4+1/MA Latin American Studies Major, 2018)


Grace Fletcher (MPH/MA Latin American Studies 2017)
Caleb Hayes (MA Latin American Studies 2017)
Lynsey Sharp (MA Latin American Studies 2017)
Cory Weaver (MA Latin American Studies 2017)
Theodora Saclarides (4+1/MA Latin American Studies 2017)
Brianne Berry (BA Latin American Studies 2017)
Garrett Richards (BA Latin American Studies 2017)
Tyler Marlin (BA Latin American Studies 2017)
Hannah Stack (BA Latin American Studies 2017)


Elizabeth Lopez (MA Latin American Studies 2016)
Tara Kingsley (MA Latin American Studies 2016)
Kyle Harper (MA Latin American Studies 2016)
Haleema Cheek (MA Latin American Studies 2016)
Stephanie Brandao Carvalho (MA Latin American Studies 2016)
Arianna Yarritu (BA Latin American Studies 2016)
Emma (Selden) Hunnicutt (B.A. Latin American Studies 2016)
Monica George (B.A. Latin American Studies 2016)
Ashley Walsh (B.A. Latin American Studies 2016)


Rebecca West (M.A. Latin American Studies 2015)
Blair Amorello (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015) is an analyst at Bloomberg LP in New York City.
Hannah Elbaum (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015) works at Robert Muller LIFE School in Panajachel, Guatemala.
Jay Moody (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015) works in sales and trading analysis at Citibank in New York City.
Marcus Raimondi (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)works at Facebook as a Client Solutions Manager for the politics and advocacy clients in Washington DC.
Natasha Vaz (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015) is a Business Analyst at Deloitte in New York City.
Joseph Norena (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)
Jessica Moore (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)
Theodora Saclarides (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)
Nicole Wallach (Annunziato) (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)
Joanna Palmer (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)

Caroline (Hilary) Stock (B.A. Latin American Studies 2015)


Angelika Albaldejo (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) is a Latin American Rights and Security Fellow at the Center for International Policy.
Ashley Larson 
(M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) completed her MLIS at UCLA and is now a Special Collections Public Services Librarian at The Claremont Colleges for Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese languages.
Jonathon Moody (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014)
Megan Oleson (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) is adjunct faculty in the Department of Foreign Languages at Fisk University.
Caitlin Patton (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014)
Daniel Rojas (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) works as a consultant for the Center of Comparative Politics in Education at Diego Portales University in Chile, assisting with the government’s reform of Chile’s educational system. Additionally, he is part of a startup company called, a network of lecturers designed to educate adults in big corporations.
Rebecca West (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) works at the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce working to set up a non-profit to teach English through sports.
Chelsea Williams (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014)
Yvonne White (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014)
Tyler Wells (B.A. Latin American Studies 2014)
Will Young (M.A. Latin American Studies 2014) is pursuing his Ph.D in political science at Rutgers University.
Daniel Zizumbo-Colunga (M.A. Political Science, 2014) is a visiting Professor at the Division of Political Studies of the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE) in Mexico City for the 2015-2016 academic year.


Chloe Patt (B.A. Latin American Studies 2013) is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Homeland, an IT LLC in Franklin, Tennessee.
Rebecca Keng (M.A. Latin American Studies 2013) is a Public Relations Manager at KFS Industries Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jennier Vogt  (Ph.D Anthropology, 2013) was selected as an American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow for 2015.  Her fellowship placement is innovation manager at Ashoka.


Patrick Aucoin (M.A. Latin American Studies 2012) lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he works as an analyst focusing on Latin America for Selerity, a real-time financial information and media company.
Sarah Foss (M.A. Latin American Studies 2012) is starting her Ph.D. in History at the University of Indiana-Bloomington.  She spent part of her summer at the Intensive K’iche’ Maya Institute in Nahualá, Guatemala.
Elizabeth Eiland (M.A. Latin Americans Studies 2012) is currently working as an Analyst in the Americas section of iJET International.
Jared Howard (M.A. Latin American Studies 2012) is in Washington, D.C. working at the Defense Intelligence Agency a a specialist in Latin American political-military issues. He and his family plan on staying in D.C. through 2015, where he hopes to have an assignment in South America.
Max Pendergraph (M.A. Latin American Studies 2012) will be staying at Vanderbilt to pursue a Ph.D. in History.  He works on issues of migration between Iberia and Latin America and his adviser will be Prof. Marshall Eakin.
Avi Richman (M.A. 2012) just returned to the U.S. after spending around three months in and around São Paulo.  He had a wonderful time, learned a great deal about education policy in the country and improved his Portuguese.
Laura Sellers (M.A. Latin American Studies 2012) is starting her Ph.D. in Political Science at Vanderbilt. Her research interests include migration in the Americas.


Gustavo De Peña started working in December 2011 at the National Pension Call Center within the regional office of the Department of Veteran Affairs in Philadelphia, PA. He is currently being trained as a Public Contact Representative. The job centers on the customer service aspect of the pension claiming process that caters to retired or impaired veterans and their dependents.
Brittany Jenkins (M.A. Latin American Studies 2011) completed her M.A. at Columbia and is working twoared her Ph.D in sociology, concentrating on law and society, at Northwestern University.
Becky Reuse (M.A. 2011) has been working over the past year in Brazil marketing her English speaking skills, working at a local school, a university, and currently online at  Recently she presented at a conference about education policy with respect to indigenous populations, comparing policy in the U.S. and Brazil.  From her house she can see the fringe of the forest and from her side porch the river that divides the city.  She is one block from the famous BR-364, a source of decades of conflict in Brazil.  Her starfruit tree is full and everyday she opens up the door to a family of parakeets flying away as she interrupts their breakfast.
Rafael Romero moved back to Nicaragua and has been teaching at two law schools in Managua. At Universidad Americana he teaches one course on Negotiations, and another on Legal Systems, and won an award for best professor in the fall of 2011. At Universidad Centroamericana he teaches Public International Law.
Steven Taylor (M.A. Latin American Studies 2011) works in Metro Nashville Public Schools teaching US History and Spanish at Martin Luther King Magnet School.  He is honored to be part of such a fine school and is excited to share what he learned from the Latin American Studies program with his students.  His wife is still teaches French at Pope John Paul II High School and they took a group of her students and their daughter to France in June 2013.
Hillary Voth (M.A. Latin American Studies 2011) lives in Cochabamba, Bolivia and is working for an organization called Ciudadanía. She is part of a project called “Cultura Política y Diversidad Cultural,” which works to promote political participation by Quechua women in Cochabamba and has taken on the pioneer task of working with Quechua women to define political concepts in their native language and according to their worldview.  Another Vanderbilt alumnus, Daniel Moreno (Ph.D.  Political Science 2008), is the Coordinator of Social Investigation at Ciudadanía.


Jason Vulcan (M.A. 2010) deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan following graduation in December 2010. He has spent the past eleven months assigned to the NATO Training Mission, Afghanistan’s Security Assistance Office, as the Foreign Military Sales Branch Chief for Afghan National Police Equipment. He was recently nominated to a position as an Assistant Army Attaché, and in the next year will return to Latin America to take a position in the US Embassy, in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Laura Delgado (M.A. 2010) is in her second year working with Conexion Americas, the premier Latino non-profit in Nashville. She is a Parental Engagement Specialist working to create a strong partnership between Latino parents and local public middle & high schools. She plans to eventually return to academia to pursue a Ph.D in History, in particular the intersection of religion & democracy in Brazil.
Morgan Maxwell (M.A. 2010) is in the second semester of her first year in the Social Psychology doctoral program at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Working under Dr. Faye Belgrave, she is examining skin tone preferences and sexual practices among African Americans. In an effort to incorporate her research as a CLAS student, she wishes to conduct a cross-cultural study of skin tone preferences among African Americans and Afro-Brazilians in the future.
Leslie Rodríguez (M.A. Latin American Studies 2010) is in her third year as a doctoral student in Vanderbilt’s Sociology Department. Her research focuses on international migration and race.  She is also working as an editorial assistant for the American Sociological Review, the flagship journal for the American Sociological Association.
Ty West (M.A. Latin American Studies 2010) has been appointed to one-year position at Notre Dame in the Romance Languages Department.


Clay Giese (B.A. Latin American Studies 2009) is currently in grad school at the University of Florida pursuing his MA in Latin American Studies. Concentrating on Development Studies, he is working on his thesis about the “Effect of Bolsa Familia (a poverty reduction program) on Child Mortality Rates in Brazil.  Recently Clay won a grant to do research in Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte for 2 weeks.  Upon graduation in May of 2011, he is considering the Peace Corps, a job with an NGO or Business School.
Matthew Layton (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2009) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Political Science Department at Vanderbilt University. His areas of interest are Comparative Politics and American Politics.
Laura Morgan (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2009) realized after graduation that her travel bug was not yet squashed.  After completing her degree, she taught English in Santiago, Chile, and then in a remote, rural village in Thailand.   Upon returning, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she landed the position of research support specialist/learning center administrator at the Inter-American Defense College (IADC).
John Trylch (M.A. 2009) has been working as the U.S. Military Group’s Chief of Operations, as well recently as the Chief of the Army Section. Says John, “Overall, I have learned immensely in the past year about not only Guatemala, but also about U.S. foreign affairs and policy- It has been a very professionally rewarding assignment so far.”  He and his wife Lindsey and daughter Anna live in Guatemala City.
Charlton Yingling (M.A. 2009) is currently a PhD student in Latin American, Caribbean, and Atlantic World history at the University of South Carolina.


Lana Alman (M.A. Latin American Studies 2008) relocated to the Washington DC area to work for Booz Allen Hamilton, a government consulting firm.  For the past four years, Lana has worked with diverse government clients within the Department of Homeland Security.  She has been fortunate to travel to Mexico for two projects where she directly applied her regional understanding and Spanish language skills. In 2011, Lana’s research, titled “Capacitación y Movilidad Laboral de Trabajadoras Domésticas Peruanas en Santiago, Chile” was published by Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Mujeres Inmigrantes en Chile: ¿Mano de obra o trabajadoras con derechos?  Lana began this research during her Fulbright in Chile in 2005-2006, and continued at Vanderbilt University with the support of CLAS.
Mark Kendall (M.A. Latin American Studies 2008) was awareded a 2014 Fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation in April 2014 for his owrk in the creative arts.  He is the director and producer of the documentary film La Camioneta.  

Alexa Remis (M.A. Latin American Studies 2008) is currently a third-year law student at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin where she also serves as the administrative editor of the Texas Law Review. Upon her graduation from Vanderbilt, she completed a yearlong clerkship with Judge Gregg Costa in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

John Suggs (M.A. Latin American Studies 2008) is currently serving as the head of Army Security Cooperation Engagement for the U.S. Military Advisory and Assistance Group in Lima, Peru.  Before moving to Lima, Suggs was an attaché in La Paz and worked in Buenos Aires.
James Winland, (M.A. Latin American Studies 2008) is stationed with the US Military in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He currently works as an instructor of a Command and State course, teaching  English and  Doctrine Tactics to Brazilian Army officers.


Marvin Figueroa (B.A. Latin American Studies 2007) is a senior policy advisor in the United States Senate.
Sandra Martinez- Zuniga (M.A. Latin American Studies 2007) was recently chosen to receive the Galassi-Brown Advocacy Award from the School of Counseling Program at the University of North Carolina.  Martinez-Zuniga, who completed her Master of Education in School Counseling, was nominated for the award by UNC faculty.
James Remington Krause (M.A .Portuguese 2007) went to Brigham Young University in January 2010 as a Visiting Instructor of Portuguese. Currently finishing up his dissertation, “Translation ‘Failure’ and the Reception and Influence of Latin American Literature in the United States” (adviser: Earl Fitz), he hopes to defend it in September. In the fall James will enter the tenure track at BYU.


Kevin Carlucci (M.A. 2006) and his wife Jessica live in Austin, Texas, where he works for Climate Change and Urban Service.  Kevin’s role in the organization has transitioned from proposal writing to fieldwork focused on decision-making methods for adaptation to climate change.  He is working on a proposal now for the World Wildlife Fund.
Bryan Pitts (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2006) is currently completing his Ph.D in Latin American history at Duke, with an April 2013 defense planned for his dissertation, titled “The Inadvertent Opposition: The Paulista Political Class and the Demise of Brazil’s Military Regime, 1968-1985.”  His first journal article, titled “The Audacity to Strong-Arm the Generals: Paulo Maluf and the 1978 São Paulo Gubernatorial Contest” appeared in the August 2012 issue of The Hispanic American Historical Review.


Holly Eberly (M.A. Latin American Studies 2005) married Jason Trice in a ceremony in Charlottesville, Virginia on June 4, 2010.  Holly is currently in her third year of law school at the University of Richmond and plans to practice immigration law upon completing her studies.

Sarah Birdwell (M.A. Latin American Studies 2005) is currently employed with BBVA Compass in Birmingham, Alabama. This role offers her a variety of ways to apply her LAS background, as the BBVA financial services group has a major presence throughout Latin America. Sarah previously served as the Outreach Coordinator for CLAS.


Eric B. Sigmon (B.A. Latin American Studies, 2004) is a Foreign Affairs Officer with the Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. He previously worked in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Bureau of Legislative Affairs. Before joining the Department of State, he worked for the Department of Defense, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, and the International Management and Communications Corp.
Susan McConn (M.A.2004) She went to the University of Texas School of Law and now works as a immigration attorney for FosterQuan in Houston, Texas. Her background in LAS program opened up doors for her and  she loves this rewarding career.
Nick Stokes (B.S. Latin American Studies, 2004) wrapped up a two-year tour in Yerevan, Armenia with the US Agency for International Development’s foreign service in July 2012 and has been transferred to the US Embassy in Kabul for one year to work in USAID’s Office of Democracy & Governance.


Hamilton Bowman, a 2003 Latin American Studies and Owen School of Management graduate, is the Chief Operating Officer at EnableComp in Franklin, Tennessee. He and his wife of nine years have two beautiful daughters.
David Wheat, (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2003; Ph.D. History, 2009) is an Assistant Professor of Caribbean  History at Michigan State University, where he teaches classes on  Caribbean History, Colonial Latin America, and African Diaspora Studies.  He is currently in Spain for a year on an NEH Fellowship (2012-2013), finishing up his first book project.
Brian Wortham (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2003) is the Director of Marketing at Dianne’s Fine Desserts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Samuel Kyle Simpson II (M.A. Latin American Studies 2002) After many years working issues in the Middle East and South Asia for the United States Army, Kyle is studying and building relationships with hemispheric partners as a student at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C.
Ellen Weirich (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2002) is a Spanish teacher at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, Tennessee.


Luke Gebhard (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2000) and his wife, Beth, moved to Nashville in October 2010 after stints in New York and Los Angeles.  He works in the Mayor’s Office overseeing Nashville Energy Works, and incentive program in partnership with TVA and NES to encourage Nashville residents to make energy-saving improvements to their homes.  Luke and Beth welcomed their daughter, Ava, on February 6th.  All are well.
Carlos Quintana (M.A. Latin American Studies, 2000) lives in Rome, Italy and works as the Latin Music Guide for  His second son was born in the summer of 2012.


Col. Patrick Hall (M.A. Latin American Studies, 1999) has spent the last 5 years working in Embassies in Latin America. He was the Defense Attaché in Uruguay from 2007-2009, and then served as the Army Attaché in Venezuela from 2009-2011. He is currently the Military Group Commander at the US Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he is responsible for planning and coordinating all US military cooperation with the Defense and Security Forces of Argentina.
Jason Howard (B.A.  1999) is an agricultural commodity broker at American Commodities Brokerage Company in New York City. In his position, he works across all continents, except Antarctica, and uses Spanish and Portuguese daily. Adding an addition to his family, he married a lovely woman from Brazil.


Brian McNaughton (M.A. Latin American Studies 1998) is currently serving as Deputy Commander for Operations at Fort Sam Houston and U.S. Army South. This command has purview of all Army security cooperation activities with the U.S.’ partner nation armies in Latin America. Last year, he adopted three siblings, which brought his grand total of children to eight.


Isabel Segovia Ospina (M.A. Latin American Studies, 1997) lives in Bogota, Colombia. She was a candidate for vice president in Colombia in 2014. Ospina was nominated to run alongside Enrique Peñalosa as representative of the Partido Verde (Green Party). After working for the Ministry of Education in Colombia, as the Director of Access to Education and later as the Viceminister, she has moved on to a non-profit. She is currently working for La Fundación Compartir, one of the oldest and largest foundations in Colombia. The foundation works to construct houses and buildings for those affected by natural disasters and build educational programs for the less privileged. In her personal life, she has a beautiful daughter.


Lori O’Hollaren (M.A. Latin American Studies, 1995) is the Assistant Director for the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Oregon. As an Assistant Director, she is responsible for managing grants and Asian related programs. She is currently working with the Latin American Studies program to enhance Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon. She has a child with her husband, a Vanderbilt alumnus.


Caleb Paul Stevenson Finegan (M.A. Latin American Studies, 1993) is an associate professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  He was selected in January 2014 to serve as director of the Robert E. Cook Honors College. In his role as director, Finegan is charged with providing the leadership, information and support needed for the Cook Honors College to continue achieving success and improvement in academic excellence, student and alumni development, marketing, promotion and enrollment management and resource development.


Col.  Lawrence W. Meder (M.A. Latin American Studies, 1992) is currently serving as the Chief of Staff of the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command which mobilized and deployed in support of Operation New Dawn and Enduring Freedom.  The 364th was instrumental in meeting the President’s directive in bringing all U.S. Troops and equipment out of Iraq and back to the states in a historic 57 day period; the largest logistical operation since World War II.


Gregory Johnson (M.A. Latin American Studies 1991) lives Mount Pleasant, SC. He works for Science Applications International Corporation, an international company that does primarily federal/defense contracts. Retired from the U.S. Army since 2003, his additional specialty was Foreign Area Officer specializing in Latin America.  Gregory’s assignments included Colombia and Bolivia, and he his work often involved frequent travel to Brazil for Army-to-Army bilateral programs.  In 1977 he married the former Donna Gregg, and together they have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.


David Anderson (M.A. Latin American Studies 1990) is Director of Recruitment and Partner Support for ELS Language Centers, a division of Berlitz which arranges intensive language seminars on college campuses for international students.   He and his wife and children (ages 5 and 6) live in Robinsville, NJ.
Clarissa Adams Fletcher (M.A. Latin American Studies) is the world languages department chair at Dunwoody High School, was named 2011 American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages National Language Teacher of the Year. She also teaches with the Georgia Virtual School and earned her National Board Certification in Spanish in 2004.


Martha Hurst Herron (B.A. Latin American Studies 1983) is a substitute teacher teaching Spanish at a private K-12 school in the Atlanta area.  As a community volunteer, she uses her Spanish at an emergency assistance organization to help those experiencing financial crisis, especially working mothers and children who have fallen under the current level of poverty in the area.  She has worked, lived, and traveled throughout Latin America, primarily spending time in the highlands of Andean Ecuador.  She maintains an interest in the ancient cultures and sites of the Andean Highlands and continues to return to South America as often as she can with her family.


Kevin McDonald (B.A. Latin American Studies1978) is a Partner at McDonald Lehner, an investment banking firm.  He arranges mergers and acquisitions in Latin America.  He recently published an article, “Salários dos Executivos em São Paulo São os Mais Altos do Mundo” in Investimentos e Notícias, an online Brazilian publication.


Read McNamara (M.A. Latin American Studies 1970) is the new Executive Director of The Career Management Center.  Has  had a long career in international business, most of it in Latin America.  Upon graduation, he lived and worked in Guatemala, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela, running the region for a number of companies.

The Department of Education has designated CLAS as one of its Foreign Language and Area Studies Programs and funds five graduate fellowships annually, as well as summer travel to Brazil, Guatemala, and Mexico for intensive language training. Vanderbilt CLAS is also one of the select graduate programs approved by the U.S. Army for its Foreign Area Officer training.


Jason Vulcan 2010 – Branch Chief, Afghan National Police in Camp Eggers, AfghanistanRoberto Perez John Trylch 2009 – US Military Group’s Chief of Operations in Guatemala City, Guatemala2007 – FAO in San Antonio, Texas
James Winland 2008 – US Army in Rio de Janeiro; Instructor of a Command and State course, teaching  English and  Doctrine Tactics to Brazilian Army officers
John Suggs 2008 – US Defense Attaché Office in La Paz, Bolivia