Our alumni succeed in many different professional fields within the U.S. and abroad. Their achievements strengthen the field of Latin American Studies, and we are proud to share their success with you. Take a look at what some of them are doing now:
MA in Latin American Studies, 2010
Director of Latin American Programs
Lindsay Adams began working for the HEAR Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, upon completing her fieldwork on the solidarity economy in Santiago, Chile. She is now the Director of Latin American Programs, where she designs and manages projects in Jalapa, Guatemala, in the areas of health, education, and food security. She works closely with local government ministries, community groups, nonprofits, and religious organizations. Lindsay applies her coursework and experience in qualitative methods to introduce new tools for evaluating programmatic success, as well as draws on her participatory research background to inform the foundation's working relationship with in-country community partners and project clients. During her time at LLILAS, Lindsay was a co-coordinator of the ILASSA Student Conference and co-organized a panel with sociology professor Michael Young for the Social Forum in Detroit. She completed her thesis with the guidance of Professors Jamie Galbraith and Bjorn Sletto, which received LLILAS's Best Thesis award.
MA in Latin American Studies, 1981
President and Chief Executive Officer
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU)
Brian Branch, president and chief executive officer of World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), has worked at WOCCU since 1990 and has been engaged in development fieldwork, research, and implementation for more than 30 years. Dr. Branch’s former WOCCU positions include economist, manager of research and development, regional manager for Latin America, director of technical services, and vice president of development services. Dr. Branch has developed programs to update and expand the savings based financial services of credit unions worldwide. Technical duties have included designing programs to transfer financial management practices, policies, procedures, tools, products, technologies, and management skills to credit unions in Latin America, Africa, and the Caribbean. Under Branch’s administration the WOCCU has increased opportunities for international engagement and exchange among credit unions and leagues across developed and developing systems. He coauthored Striking the Balance in Microfinance: A Practical Guide to Mobilizing Savings (2002) with Janette Klaehn and coedited Safe Money (2000) with Glenn Westley. In 1990, Dr. Branch received his PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his MA in Latin American studies in 1981. He received his BA in government and Spanish, graduating magna cum laude from Bowdoin College, Maine, in 1979.
MA in Latin American Studies, 1969
Founder and CEO of the Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA)
Managing Partner of The Umbrella Initiative
Raul is the founder and CEO of the Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA) and the Managing Partner of The Umbrella Initiative whose mission is “to double the number of small businesses contracting with the government by the year 2020.” FPA manages a procurement Think Tank Network comprised of multiple university procurement centers and business schools whose vision is to involve private sector entrepreneurs, university professors, and students in sustainable projects that create jobs and help underserved communities. Born in Cuba, Raul credits his academic training at UT for his having been hired by a Rockefeller (David), three U.S. presidents, and a business tycoon whom he advised on making investments exceeding $100 million in Latin America. Raul has earned the distinction of being selected by his peers as “One of the South’s Top 300 Small Business Leaders.” He is a sought-after foreign trade trip leader and witness at Congressional hearings that address small business issues. He sits on the Board of the National Federal Contractors Association (NaFCA) and is a procurement adviser to the Minority Business Roundtable (MBRT), MBELDEF, and the Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition (FMCRC).
MA in Latin American Studies, 2008
Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean
The Global Fund for Children
After graduating from LLILAS with his MA in 2008, Michael started work at the Global Fund for Children, a grantmaking organization supporting grassroots and community organizations working with vulnerable children and youth based in Washington, DC. As program officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, Michael manages a portfolio of more than 60 grantee partners in 14 different countries throughout the region, with annual grants totaling more than $900,000. Several times a year, Michael travels to the region to visit current partners and to scout for potential future grantees. While at LLILAS, Michael received a summer travel award to complete his research in Quechua language maintenance in Lima, Peru, under the guidance of Prof. Henry Dietz, and also received a Ford Fellowship to work with a nonprofit theater in Quito, Ecuador. In addition to his work at GFC, Michael serves on the board of directors of a local nonprofit and participates in national and international networks of grantmakers.
MA in Latin American Studies/LBJ School of Public Affairs, 2007
Founder and Coordinator of the Trilingual Project
Colegio Superior para la Educación Integral Intercultural de Oaxaca
Richard Hanson is the founder and coordinator of the Trilingual Project, a technology-based education initiative launched in Oaxaca, Mexico, that promotes intercultural dialogue in various languages (English, Spanish, and several indigenous languages), student collaboration, and understanding among culturally and economically diverse youth both within and outside of Mexico. Previously, he designed an online network, workbook, and workshops for indigenous youth participating in the UNICEF project “All Children in School.” Shortly before came the precursor to the Trilingual Project—an online collaborative translation model for publishing fiction/nonfiction texts and folktales in English, Spanish, and Zapotec. Upon arriving to Oaxaca, Richard developed a high school English curriculum that connected local and international students (Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, England, Oman, Egypt, South Korea, and the USA) through videoconferences and online dialogue. Richard earned dual master's degrees in Public Affairs and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, focusing on theatre-based intervention models among juvenile offenders in Brazil and Texas. Once he experienced the transformative potential of dialogue and critical pedagogy, he knew they would inspire his next phase of work in Mexico.
MA in Latin American Studies, 1996
Senior Program Manager for the Caribbean
Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
Nathalie Liautaud has more than twelve years’ experience working on building public/private partnerships, management of human rights and civil society strengthening projects, economic development, and job creation in the region. Prior to joining PADF, she was a program director at Caribbean Central American Action (C-CAA). She was also a program coordinator for the Centre pour la Libre Entreprise et la Democratie (CLED)’s media and civil society outreach policy and discussion program, focusing on raising awareness on competitiveness issues, and served as technical advisor at the Associations des Industries d’Haiti (ADIH), focusing on labor issues. Nathalie has worked on environmental issues and economic development and has conducted research and evaluations of behavioral risk factors and other topics, working with the Office of Survey Research at the University of Texas at Austin. She also has experience working with media companies, logging time at MTV Latino in Miami, among others. She graduated with Bachelor of Science in radio-television-film and earned an MA in Latin American Studies and in international communications from UT Austin. Nathalie is Haitian-American-Mexican, grew up in Haiti, and is fluent in French, English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.
BA in Latin American Studies, 2006
Executive Director Workers Defense Project (WDP)
Cristina has worked with WDP since 2003, first as a community organizer, and more recently as director. She assisted WDP in developing its advocacy and leadership development components, and under her leadership the organization’s program work has grown dramatically. As the daughter of a Mexican immigrant and granddaughter of a bracero (a guest worker program in the U.S. that existed from 1942–1964), Cristina knows of the daily struggles immigrant families face and has dedicated herself to achieving social justice for Latina/o immigrants. She is cofounder of the Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition and of Refugio, a center for community organizing in Austin for low-income people of color. She currently sits on the advisory board of the Community Engagement Center of UT Austin, where she counsels faculty on community and academic collaboration. Cristina has carried out extensive research on indigenous Mexican migrants in the United States and migration’s impact on indigenous communities. She is also a published author on issues of race, class, and gender. Her work has appeared in Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, Yes Means, Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World without Rape, and The Women’s Movement Today: An Encyclopedia of Third Wave Feminism.
MA in Latin American Studies, 1986
Professor of Government and Lozano Long Professor of Latin American Politics
University of Texas at Austin
Kurt Weyland is Professor of Government and Lozano Long Professor of Latin American Politics here at UT. When studying political science and history in his native Germany, he became interested in Latin America, where political problems seemed to hinder socioeconomic development and the advance of democracy. To understand these issues, he obtained an MA in Latin American Studies at UT (1986) and a PhD in political science at Stanford and, over the years, conducted research in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, and Venezuela. Based on his investigations, he has published Democracy without Equity: Failures of Reform in Brazil (1996); The Politics of Market Reform in Fragile Democracies (2002); Bounded Rationality and Policy Diffusion: Social Sector Reform in Latin America (2007); a volume coedited with his UT colleagues Raúl Madrid and Wendy Hunter, Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings (2010); and many articles and book chapters on democratization, neoliberalism, populism, and social policy in Latin America. His new book project analyzes the wavelike diffusion of political regime change across countries; it compares the revolutions of 1848–49 and 1917–19 and the democratization processes of the 1970s and 1980s in Europe and Latin America.