Biridiana Rodriguez, 2013

After my first-year at Duke, I decided to pursue a career in education. My first LSGS course placed me in a Durham Public School completing service-learning requirements. There I discovered my talents in teaching and I began working towards my Early Teacher Preparatory Program requirements licensing me to teach K-6 in North Carolina. Post-graduation, I'm hoping to stay in Durham to teach at the upper elementary level. As an educator, it is crucial to teach to the individual and look for ways to differentiate my teaching to serve each unique student. For this reason, I must be aware of how their community and their background are shaping their education and lives. 

In all honesty, it's difficult to pick my favorite Latino/a Studies course. I didn't dislike a single one. But if I did have to choose, I would choose Introduction of Latino/a Studies with Prof. Antonio Viego. Since day 1, the syllabus captured my attention because it included great books, including Juan Gonzalez's Harvest of Empire (Viking, 2000) and Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead, 2007). Unlike many professors, Antonio Viego encouraged us to question everything we read. He didn't present us with hard evidence that we had to take or leave. He asked us to critically think of what what we read. From his class, I learned the push and pull factors of immigration and other Latino/a issues that are so many times kept in silence.