The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Ana Laura Rivera

Ana Laura Rivera
Major: 
Government, Spanish
BDP Certificate: 
Human Rights & Social Justice
Graduation: 
Spring 2014

Human Rights & Social Justice student Ana Laura worked on three initiatives for the Texas After Violence Project during her internship. Because of her interest in studying children and human rights, she conducted archival research and transcribed interviews that focused on bilingual education, violence in schools, and access for undocumented students.

“I discovered the importance of making children’s voices heard so they can have an opportunity to obtain an education.”

How did you find out about this internship project?
I found out about the Texas After Violence Project (TAVP) through an email that my BDP advisor Christine Anderson sent to all the BDP Human Rights students.

Tell us about the internship application process.
I contacted the project director, Dr. Virginia Raymond, and told her about my interest in TAVP. After applying, I attended training sessions for an entire semester. Depending on the project assigned, the work can be emotionally intense. As a result, training sessions are important before participating in the project.

Read more about Ana Laura’s background before she landed the internship at the Texas After Violence Project blog.

Describe the work you completed with the Texas After Violence Project.
During my internship with TAVP, I examined the role of bilingual education, finance, and immigration status in low-income public schools in Texas. I conducted research on the diverse obstacles minority students have faced in low-income public schools. In addition, I did case analysis research in significant Texas legal cases. I conducted interviews with individuals who participated in these cases or experienced hardships as educators or activists in education, and I transcribed those interviews.

How did this experience connect to your BDP?
One important lesson I learned through my Human Rights and Social Justice BDP coursework and internship was how children can be invisible. With their voices unheard, children become vulnerable throughout the world to many issues such as human trafficking or are forced into prostitution and even terrorist groups. Even in the United States, minority and undocumented students are neglected. Students from low and high-income families are segregated by the school system. However, with the right to a proper education, children in the United States and developing countries will become empowered, creating safe and stable communities. I discovered the importance of making children’s voices heard so they can have an opportunity to obtain an education.

In what ways has this CE shaped your plans for the future?
This experience had a tremendous impact on my educational and professional goals, as well as refining my future plans during my undergraduate education. Learning how decisions were made during significant Texas court cases and the influence Texas’ legislature had in public schools made me deeply interested in policy-making. Through my Connecting Experience, I became interested in studying how the administration of public policy works, especially in the areas of education and human rights. I aspire to one day pursue a doctorate degree in public policy and a law degree so I can represent minority populations in politics.