M.A. Students

Colomba was born in Santiago de Chile and is the youngest of four siblings. She has a B.A. in Journalism from Universidad Católica de Chile and a passion for Latin American cultures. After her internship in “Revista Capital”, a prestigious economy magazine of her country, Colomba worked for two years in “Chilevisión” where she led the International Song Festival of Viña del Mar’s Department of Journalism.  There she contribute to the improvement of the international and folklore song competition and participated in two world tours to promote the festival in different countries, including Mexico and Argentina. In 2012, she moved to Stanford and worked as a freelance journalist in the Chile California Council, part of the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in San Francisco and as a Spanish teacher at a local organization. During her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, skiing, and trekking. She is an outdoors person, enjoys camping and traveling to exotic destinations. She is excited to continue increasing her knowledge of Latin America through the CLAS Master’s program.

Makaela Anderson has a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in Comparative Politics and a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge. As an undergraduate, she studied Spanish in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was a principal member of UCSD’s CalPIRG chapter, and received recognition of academic achievement at the 2011 UCSD Eleanor Roosevelt College Commencement Ceremony. Makaela is a native San Diegan, and she loves the outdoors, especially spending time with her dogs at the dog park and just lounging with them. Makaela also enjoys hiking, camping, doing mud runs with her friends, traveling, and attending science fiction and comic book conventions throughout the year.

Valeria grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Puerto Rico. As an undergraduate student, she participated in diverse research projects that focused on social communication innovations, non-traditional journalistic projects, media law reforms, and Human Right issues in Latin America. She has worked as a regular writer, photojournalist, editor, and corrector at various digital publications, as well as in broadcast radio. The experience of working on daily hard news coverage has given her the opportunity to analyze everyday occurrences in the Island from a highly critical perspective. The study of migration, diaspora, transnationalism, and (re)constructions of race and ethnicity among the Caribbean people constitutes her primary area of interest. The resemblances between the afro-descendant cultures in Brazil and the Caribbean, have also interested her in the study of Portuguese. As a journalist, Valeria aspires to raise public awareness on the issues affecting Latin America and its people, but particularly those concerning immigrant communities. She volunteers at the Dominican Committee of Human Rights (DCHR) in Puerto Rico, an organization that seeks to protect the fundamental rights of the approximated one hundred thousand Dominican immigrants living in Puerto Rico. Valeria is passionate about photography and looks forward to many exciting photo safaris this year. She is an avid animal lover, and loves playing with her two beautiful dogs: Alfonsina and Jacinto. In her spare time, she also enjoys watching documentaries and movies, biking, and listening to music. Ice cream makes her happy.

A native of San Diego, Lisa Munde graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 2007.  She served six years as a Naval Intelligence Officer, including assignments to the American Embassy in Madrid, an F/A-18 fighter jet squadron aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier, and a U.S. Navy SEAL unit.  While her travel and deployments in the Navy were primarily to the Middle East and Asia, her passion and academic interest lies in Latin America.  Inspired by various humanitarian and study abroad opportunities in the region, Lisa fell in love with the people, language, and culture of Latin America.  She is eager to begin her studies at Stanford and formalize her education on Latin America.  Some of her favorite foods are pupusas, machaca, plátanos, and agua de jamaica.

Hayden Rodarte was born and raised in Southern California. With a fascination for Romance languages, he received his B.A. in Classical Latin Language and Literature from Stanford University in 2013. His interest in Latin American legal traditions, political history and linguistics led him to another B.A. from Stanford in International Relations with an area focus in Latin America. While not on campus during his undergraduate career, he spent time in his home of three years, Lima, Perú, conducting sociolinguistic research and completing his English as a Second Language Teaching certification. He took a quarter abroad with Bing Overseas in Santiago de Chile, and studied Latin at la Università di Bologna. The product of his undergraduate research, an Honors Thesis in Latin American Studies, dealt with the instances of Quechua present in the urban Spanish dialects of Perú’s capital province. After graduation, he plans to teach English in Perú for a few years, and apply to law school to focus on international law and commerce in the Andean region. In his free time, you can find Hayden reading, watching an Almodóvar film, exploring the bay area, or attempting to cook “comida criolla” in his apartment kitchen.

A graduate of the University of California Berkeley in the Geography department, Rachel is excited to apply her knowledge of place and space to the Southern Hemisphere. After traveling in Central and South America from a young age and living in Chile for six months, Rachel decided that this was the place that she wanted to focus her academic energy on. In her undergraduate career, Rachel focused on the history of development and underdevelopment, the transition from dictatorship to democracy in Chile, and US intervention in the third world. This year, she plans to focus on the effects of US foreign policy in Latin America. Outside of school, Rachel enjoys cooking, backpacking, and playing board games.

As an Afro-Chicano, and a native of South Los Angeles, California, Walter’s experience has guided him to the Master’s Program in Latin American Studies at Stanford. Walter aims to create a clearer understanding to the complex historical issues of race and identity in Latin America and the transnational effect on Black, Latin@, and Afro-Latin@ identity in the US. As part of his work, he hopes to empower, educate, and inspire minorities within marginalized communities. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, Walter was selected to play professional basketball for the Mexican National Team and Mexican Professional League. His experiences playing basketball and traveling throughout the Latin American region inspired him to enhance his understanding of the effects and legacy of the African Diaspora in the region with a comparative analysis of the historical and current state of race relations within the U.S context. Since returning to Los Angeles two years ago, Walter has worked as an education advocate with the Chino Institution for Men (CIM) Prison Education Project, a program counselor for the Latino population at a Mental Health Hospital, and has begun work on a documentary focusing on the factors which shape Afro-Latin@ identity in Los Angeles. Walter’s research interests include: Afro-Latin@s in the U.S; Cuban History and Racial Politics; Cuban Race Relations; Cultural and Social Impact of Sports in Marginalized Communities; Afro-Mexican identity; Black Diasporic Politics; Black and Latin@ identity, race, class, and gender within the U.S and Latin American context. In his free time, Walter likes to travel, dance, practice yoga, and connect with friends and family.        

Kiah Thorn is from Fort Worth, TX. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in International Relations in Spring 2012. During her four years at Stanford, she studied abroad in both Italy and Germany, served as a committed early childhood literacy tutor for Ravenswood Reads, and spent a summer abroad in rural Ecuador working as a volunteer middle school English teacher. She spent her post-graduation summer working as an intern for the Americas Program at The Carter Center in Atlanta before completing a 2012-2013 Fulbright English Teaching Grant to Spain. Kiah credits her travels, experiences, and numerous encounters throughout the Iberian peninsula for reinforcing her passion for the study of ethnic minority communities in post-colonial Latin America and looks forward to pursuing that passion through the lens of public health this year. In her free time, Kiah enjoys traveling to new places, dancing, working with horses and spending time with the people she loves.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Alix earned her B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University this past spring. As an undergraduate at Stanford she studied abroad in Madrid and worked for the US Department of Education through the Stanford in Washington program. She was on the Varsity Softball team at Stanford and participated in JumpStart, Ravenswood Reads, and Cardinal Scholars Tutoring. Alix's interest in Latin American Studies stemmed from a summer she spent volunteering in rural Panama through Learning Enterprises, an English-teaching and cultural exchange nonprofit in rural Panama, which she directed this past summer and will continue to work with this year. Alix enjoys traveling and learning about new cultures, surfing on Lake Sammamish, exploring the great outdoors, attempting to take artsy photos and play acoustic guitar, and watching the Daily Show. She is excited to join Stanford's Latin American Studies program and spend one more year on, what she considers, the most beautiful campus on earth.

Before joining the M.A. Program, Stefanie was Head of Business Development for a consulting firm and think-tank of innovation and technology.  Prior to that, she was a Senior Property Underwriter at one of the world’s largest insurance companies, where she led property risk assessment and natural hazard management for the private and public sectors.  Previously, she was a scholar at the Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources in Mexico City, where she evaluated the environmental importance of the mangrove ecosystem in Nayarit, Mexico and their economic value.  In addition, she has lived and worked in Brasil, USA, Canada, Germany and Spain. Stefanie holds a B.A. in Economics from Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico and is fluent in Spanish, German, English and elementary proficiency in Portuguese. Stefanie’s research interests focus on the Mexican and Latin American political and economic environment, and how it promotes the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises while preserving environmental and technological sustainability. Stefanie enjoys outdoor activities, such as hiking with her husband Julian and her two dogs.  She is also passionate about reading historical novels and traveling.

Haynes Winkler is from Pasadena, California.  He majored in International Relations at Stanford University with a focus on Latin America and a minor in History, graduating in 2013.  During his time at Stanford he studied in Chile for a quarter and participated in an archaeological dig in Chavin de Huantar, Peru. Haynes became interested in Latin America by studying the Inca and other ancient civilizations and the incredible artifacts they created. After spending some time in the region, however, he decided that he was equally interested in the current political, cultural, and social issues in the region. He felt that the Latin American Studies Master's program was the best way to delve deeper into understanding the area. Haynes also enjoys playing water polo, reading and occasionally writing fiction, traveling, and sometimes just doing nothing with friends.