Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Our Concentrators


Melanie Anaya ’21 is a senior from New Rochelle, New York double concentrating in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Hispanic Studies. Her interest in studying Latin America comes from her Mexican heritage and annual trips to visit her grandparents. She is primarily focused on the intersection of medicine, society and culture. During Spring of 2020, she studied in Havana, Cuba before leaving due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She actively tries to support local Latinx communities through her volunteering at the Providence Public Library teaching a citizenship class and as a medical interpreter at the Rhode Island Free Clinic.


Morgan Awner

Morgan Awner '21 is a senior concentrating in Public Policy and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. She is originally from Buffalo, New York. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile in the spring of 2020, before having to leave due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She hopes to work in education policy or juvenile justice reform in the future and is particularly interested in working with English as a Second Language students.

Sarah Buchanan

Sarah Buchanan '21 is a senior from southeastern Massachusetts double concentrating in Biology and Latin American and Carribean Studies. She is interested in the intersection of Spanish and medicine, and has loved taking courses across these disciplines. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile, where her interest in human rights and public policy in Latin America grew. Sarah plans to use her experience in LACA and Biology in medical school, and hopes to work with immigrant populations. Outside of the classroom, she works in community engagement through the Swearer Center, and is currently working as a patient advocate at Hasbro Children's Hospital. 

Laura MacKenzie

Laura MacKenzie ‘21 is a senior from Vermont double concentrating in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Health and Human Biology. In order to combine these academic interests, Laura is currently writing a thesis within LACA where she studies the disproportionate rates of metabolic diseases among Rhode Island’s LatinX communities and the role of community organizations such as Clínica Esperanza in preventing and mitigating its effects. Laura currently interns for the Rhode Island Center for Justice, where she works on the center’s education and housing teams in order to bring legal representation to all Rhode Islanders. Laura also spent a semester studying abroad through the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and looks forward to returning to the region as soon as she can.


Sara Montoya Arango ’21 is a senior from Bogotá, Colombia, concentrating in Gender and Sexuality Studies and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Since she was very young, Sara has been moving around the world to a variety of countries such as Puerto Rico, Mexico, Chile, Spain, and now the United States. Her interest in Latin America and Caribbean studies stems from the experiences she had and the people she met in each place she lived, making her passionate about history as a vehicle for understanding the present. Sara is specifically interested in the intersection between gender and sexuality and Latinx identities, migration, ethnicity/race, and intersectional feminism. She approaches these topics throughout a variety of lenses and disciplines, looking at everything from popular media/culture, theory, history, literature, and art. She is a Bonner Fellow with the Swearer Center and works in a variety of community engagement sites in Providence such as ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages), and SHAPE (Sexual Health and Peer Education).

Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman '21 is a senior from New York City planning to double concentrate in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Economics. He developed his interest in Latin America through his high school Spanish courses and later on through a class he took on Sports and Culture in Latin America during his first semester at Brown. Daniel is very passionate about the role that Sports play in various Latin American societies and has conducted extensive independent research on the role and history of Baseball in Cuba. As a senior in high school, Daniel traveled to Havana to interview Cuban baseball players, league officials, journalists, and historians, and has written multiple term papers about the use of the sport as a diplomatic tool for re-establishing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. Beyond his interest in Cuban baseball, Daniel is interested in Chilean public policy. This past spring break, he traveled to Santiago where he worked with a professor at the Centro de Estudios Publicos (CEP) on developing a more thorough understanding of Education, Healthcare, Social Security, and Childcare in Chile. He will return to the CEP this summer to continue his research.

Photo of Poom Pipatjarasgit

Poom Andrew Pipatjarasgit '21 is a senior from northwest Ohio double concentrating in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Anthropology. His primary academic interests reside in hispanophone areas within the region through the lens of cultural anthropology. He credits his elementary and middle school Spanish teachers for providing a strong foundation and sparking his interest in the language; other language goals are to become proficient in French and eventually learn Portuguese. On campus, Poom is a staff member of the Curricular Resource Center. He is also a UCS-appointed member of the College Curriculum Council and serves on its Independent Concentration Subcommittee. Outside of academics, Poom has been involved in various small theatre productions and music performances.

Camila Rice-Aguilar

Camila Rice-Aguilar '21 is a senior from Berkeley, California, double concentrating in International Relations and Latin America and Caribbean Studies. Growing up between the U.S. and Nicaragua, she has developed a particular interest in migration, international human rights, and social resistance movements. Since returning from her studies in Santiago, Chile, she now plans to explore the intersections between the arts and trans-generational revolutionary movements, as well as continue her thesis work on the "protection crisis" along the Central American migrant trail.

Adriana Rodriguez

Adriana Rodriguez '21 is a senior concentrating in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Political Science from Teaneck, New Jersey. Her decision to concentrate in LACA arose from her interest in studying her own Puerto Rican and Dominican heritage - specifically the history of U.S. intervention and imperialism on the two islands, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean more broadly. Adriana is currently working on her thesis, which addresses the question of how community care both materially and ideologically disrupt colonial constructs, with a specific focus on Puerto Rican health activism in the diaspora and on the island. She is active at Brown with the Center for Students of Color, as co-President of Dominican Students @ Brown. She also participated in the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad program in Havana, Cuba during the fall semester of 2019 and loves (can’t stop) talking about her experience there.

Caiya Sanchez Strauss

Caiya Sanchez-Strauss '21.5 is a second semester junior from northeast Ohio double concentrating in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Africana Studies. She initially became interested in Spanish, Latin America, and social movements of the Global South via her own family history and Mexican-American heritage and decided to concentrate in LACA because of a sustained interest in Black and indigenous social movements in the region, with a particular focus on decolonial uprisings led by Black women and queer subjects in the Caribbean and Brazil. She engages with these topics via an interdisciplinary approach combining Black feminist theory, Black queer theory, and other frameworks to interpret and analyze history, politics, literature, and contemporary movements. The LACA department has allowed her to freely explore her interests through a variety of lenses, and the concentration has served as an excellent supplement to her studies in the Africana department. During her time at Brown, Caiya has been involved with teaching English to adults in Providence (English for Speakers of Other Languages), local activism on and off campus (Brown Immigrant Rights Coalition), advocating for scholarship and student support services for undocumented students (the Undocumented Student Initiative), promoting the creation of a Migration Studies initiative, and other immigrant rights initiatives. She also cites her semester abroad in Cuba in the spring of 2020 as one of her most formative experiences at Brown and couldn't recommend the program enough! 

Benji Toruño

Benji Toruño ‘21 is a senior from Brooklyn, New York concentrating in Political Science and Latin American & Caribbean studies. Even before starting college, Benji knew he wanted to study in Spanish and learn about Latin America while at Brown. This led him to take a first-year seminar about Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in his first semester. Since then, he has become fluent in Portuguese and spent a semester abroad in Brazil studying at PUC-Rio. Benji is currently writing a thesis in the political science department about the effect of police militarization on violence in urban communities in Brazil. Outside of the classroom, Benji plays for the Brown men’s Ultimate frisbee team who won the national championship in 2019 during his sophomore year. 

Talya Wellisch

Talya Wellisch '21 is a senior from Washington DC, double concentrating in Behavioral Decision Sciences and Latin American & Caribbean Studies (LACA). She is passionate about understanding people’s stories and experiences from both a psychological and cultural lens. As the daughter of Latin American immigrants, Talya grew up speaking Spanish. Her time with the LACA department has cemented her fascination with understanding the role of language in shaping cultures. Outside the classroom, Talya volunteers on a weekly basis at Rhode Island Hospital as a Spanish interpreter.  She also plans to study in Italy next spring and hopes to learn more about the history of Italian immigration to various South American countries.  


Clara Epstein

Clara Epstein '22 is a junior concentrating in history and Latin American and Caribbean studies from Los Angeles, California. She is interested in issues of migration, borders, and asylum law, and would like to someday be fluent in Spanish.

Hallie Fang Horvath

Hallie Fang-Horvath '22 is a junior from Oakland, California studying Environmental Studies and Latin American & Caribbean Studies. Her interests range from food security to immigrant rights and beyond. She loves working closely with people and communities, whether it be through the lens of human rights support, sexual health education, outdoors access empowerment, or one of the many other spheres that bring people together. She hopes to live and work in Latin America in the future, but for now, she's getting involved with the Brown and Providence communities as an interpreter with the RI Free Clinic, an outdoors trip leader, a sexual health peer educator, and a sister and friend. Hallie encourages everyone to take a LACA course, for those have been some of the most intersectional, welcoming, and creative spaces she's encountered at Brown. 

Nell Salzman

Nell Salzman '22 is a junior from Denver, Colorado double concentrating in Comparative Literature and Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Nell has worked in Nicaragua and Ecuador, and has done translation work with the Rhode Island Center for Justice. Her favorite classes at Brown have been the ones that got her involved with the Latin American community in Providence-- volunteering in ESL kindergarten classes and interviewing Latinx artists/community leaders. She is passionate about telling other peoples' stories, and currently writes for the Indy. She hopes to eventually use her language skills to help Spanish-speaking immigrants, either through translation, community organizing, or legal aid.