The University of Texas at Austin
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Clarissa Riojas

Clarissa Riojas
Major: 
English, Mexican American Studies
Graduation: 
Spring 2014

Clarissa Riojas is a Children & Society BDP student who spent the fall 2013 semester interning with the Texas Center for Education Policy. She helped organize a conference to address the need for more Latino children’s literature in libraries and schools, and she also helped initiate the process of developing a Mexican American Saturday school.

“It was inspiring to see how collaboration between a group of powerful and passionate individuals helped to create change in the community.”

How did you find your internship?
I sent an email to Dr. Angela Valenzuela, asking if she’d consider being my faculty advisor for a research project. In reading my email, she saw that my interests in Latino Literature aligned with a project she was already working on. She asked me if I would be willing to come onboard with her!

Describe the work you did as an intern.
During my internship, I helped organize a conference that discussed the lack of Latino children’s literature in libraries and schools. Currently, we are in the process of developing a Mexican American Saturday school, where children will become educated on their cultural history. I have researched ethnic studies programs, their impact, and the ways in which they are implemented through curriculum.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your Connecting Experience?
The relationships I formed have been the most rewarding part of my experience. Through my internship, I had the opportunity to meet community activists, educators, librarians, and graduate students. It was inspiring to see how collaboration between a group of powerful and passionate individuals helped to create change in the community. I have learned so much from everyone I have met, and I will c