My name is Valeria and I am so excited to contribute to this amazing project! I am a Masters candidate in Latin American Studies and a second year law school student at the University of New Mexico (UNM). I am happy to work under Keira as a graduate assistant in K-12 outreach programs at the UNM Latin American and Iberian Institute. I will be your handy dandy translator of curricula for Latin American books to use in the classroom. I look forward to working for all of you and I hope that my work helps to further your goals of implementing bilingual/Latin American books in your lesson plans. I want to take this opportunity to give you some brief information about myself so you can get to know me a little better.
I am the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and although I grew up in Albuquerque I was always immersed in a deeply rich Latin American culture. Reading books like The House on Mango Street, In the Time of the Butterflies and Esperanza Rising when I was young was invaluable to me, especially because the majority of books we had to read in class did not have much Latin American influence, much less any characters that I could relate to on a cultural level.
I decided to get my Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Sociology from UNM, where I worked with various non-profit organizations that focus on civil rights and education for minorities. Because I have spent my life in the immigrant community, I knew that I wanted to practice immigration law. I therefore decided to apply to the dual degree graduate program that the Latin American and Iberian Institute provides, and I have been working on my Masters and JD ever since! My concentrations for my Masters degree are in human rights and political science.
An important thing to know about me is that I am incredibly passionate about the Spanish language. I am an avid believer that Spanish must be both taught and preserved in the United States, especially considering how incredibly diverse we are as a country, and how important it is to acquire some sort of bilingual education. What better way to preserve the language than by implementing culturally-rich bilingual/Latin American books in K-12 programs, right?
So, as you can imagine, my contribution to Vamos a Leer is a perfect fit for me. I am so excited to work with such a great team of faculty, students, and community members; and I am even more excited to provide you with Spanish translations to different lesson plans and serve as a general resource to you. Estoy a sus órdenes, y estoy muy agradecida por tener la oportunidad de trabajar para ustedes.