By Nathan Douglas–
As of this academic school year, students have the option to major in Latin American and Latino Studies, a new program in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Rhonda Buchanan, the director of the LALS program, along with the members of the LALS steering committee, have been preparing a Bachelor of Arts degree for LALS. The board of trustees approved the degree this July.
The program was designed to pair well with another major, enabling students to broaden their horizons with ease. “It’s an interdisciplinary degree,” said Buchanan, who encourages students to obtain an additional major or minor. The core program is 36 hours and includes many classes that will overlap with most of the majors in the College of Arts and Sciences.
The new LALS major seeks to “examine the historical, social, economic and political structures of the Caribbean, and Central and South America as well as areas of study concerning Latinos in the United States, such as immigration, equality, social justice, multiculturalism, identity and culture.” The new B.A. degree will join the existing minor among other programs, which have been earned by many students since the program’s debut.
As a part of the LALS program, internships are available for students. Matt Smith, a student in the LALS program, has used his knowledge gained through the LALS courses to better understand the Latino presence in Louisville. He is spending this semester volunteering at the Kentucky Racing Health Services Clinic, which treats Latinos working with horses who do not have healthcare. “My experiences at the clinic have helped me understand in a real world context some of the issues facing healthcare in our community for both patients and physicians,” said Smith.
There are also several study abroad opportunities in the program, giving students the ability to earn credit hours while traveling in a foreign country. The Panama Scholar’s program, for example, is in its 11th year and has seen many students.
Those wishing to know more about the LALS program can find more information on the U of L website or from Dr. Rhonda Buchanan, the program director.
Photo: Rae Hodge/The Louisville Cardinal