Currently, I mentor a girl from Brazil who is looking to study in the United States for university. I love it! I signed up through the organization LALA, Latin American Leadership Academy, which was a place where I interned last summer. When I saw that they were looking for mentors, I immediately filled out their application and hoped for the best. Revisiting my own college application journey reminded me of the things that I had been looking for in a college. I remembered that I had wanted to do some sort of research work, mostly because I just thought it would be cool to be a part of something that’s groundbreaking. Something that hadn’t been done before.
As a humanities person, I didn’t think that I would be walking into a biology lab and conducting experiments. Before I said yes to Amherst, I emailed a student there who told me that his major was something unrelated to what he was researching in another department. That sounded really cool, and it felt like my options were wide open. I love writing (indeed you can tell by the very fact that this blog exists), and so for all my life, I’ve been wanting my name to be published somewhere. Just for fun! Even if it’s twenty names listed and I’m at the very bottom in a footnote somewhere. It sounds cool, right?! I know… It is indeed quite nerdy.
But regardless, today, I’ll take you through a day-in-my-life as I research during the summer from home! I hope this satisfies your curiosity in case you were wondering what this looked like. Also, perhaps some of you are in the thick of college hunting and would love to know about information like this to help you out! I’ve realized that lots of you are interested in what college life looks like and what Amherst looks like. In fact, after the United States, Latin America is the second greatest reader and listening base of Talk By Victoria! Many have expressed interest in studying in the States. Whatever the purpose, I’m excited to show what it is that I’m currently up to when it comes to research!
Follow me along for the day! Check out this Instagram video to see what a day for me looks like:
Overview: Research Assistant for the Latin American Studies Department
For the past two years, I’ve been working as a research assistant for the Latin American studies department! For starters, I’m part Colombian and Irish-American. Check out this post to learn more about my background. For my job, I interview Latino/a alumni from Amherst about their experiences and about their involvement in La Causa, the Latin affinity space created at Amherst. Once I interview them, I transcribe the interview, follow up with any questions, and get it ready to be stored in the Amherst Robert Frost Archives.
First-Ever La Causa and Latin American Conference at Amherst!
On September 15th, Amherst is going to hold the first-ever La Causa and Latin American Studies conference! I am overjoyed to be working on such a monumental project. It was founded in 1972 by a group of men who all identified as Latino. During this time, Amherst College was an all-male school, so the early years of La Causa were composed of men. However, the first class of Amherst women graduated in 1980, and more women became involved in La Causa, as well!
Working from PJs
Beneath my bright orange Champion sweatshirt is my pajamas. Nothing to hide here. I dive straight into my work, usually still drinking coffee and eating a banana.
Going through the Archives
I go through the Amherst College archives to see where La Causa has been mentioned and anything related to the sort. I also went through the New York Times archives already to see where La Causa has been mentioned.
Task Tracker: Using Notion
I use Notion to help me keep track of what I need to be doing. It also marks my progress and helps me see what I’ve done. If you are a student, you can get Notion for free using your student email! I’m able to use the Notion Pro Education plan because I signed up using my Amherst Gmail. Definitely consider it!
In notion, I have pages (like a Word Doc) where I take notes and copy and paste links that I need to use for future reference. As I’m in meetings with people who are also working on creating the conference, I create tabs on my to-do list.
Emails Upon Emails
I send a lot of emails! Between contacting my professor and the alumni that I’m interviewing, I send a lot of mail. In order to keep track of what I have to send, I jot them down on my Notion webpage.
If you have any questions about research or my work, lemme know! I’d love to answer any questions or give you some advice on reaching out to professors and finding opportunities like these.
Have an awesome day! Enjoy the classic quote-of-the-post tradition:
Every moment is an organizing opportunity, every person a potential activist, every minute a chance to change the world.Dolores Huerta