Alumni and Careers

How do Bowdoin graduates with degrees in Hispanic Studies use their knowledge and skills out in the world?

Click this link to listen to our former majors talk about what their experience in our programs and abroad brought them and how they use what they learned in a wide variety of professions today.

Marcella Jimenez

Marcella Jimenez

Class of: 2016

Major(s): Hispanic Studies

Minor(s): Education

While I do not know what the future holds, I know it must touch education in some way. I hope to teach, work on education policy, or act as a social worker in schools.

Why Education?

I grew up in Richardson, TX, a city north of Dallas, and attended a public school that I started walking to with my friends when I was in second grade. It was a school embedded into the community, with sufficient resources, and a friendly staff. Around 3rd grade, my parents started talking about placing me in a private school. When I asked them why, they explained that the school’s emphasis on standardized testing, mandated by the state of Texas, was diluting my education—when I complete assignments early I filed paperwork and stapled handouts for teachers, and during free reading time I was often asked to read with students who were struggling. While I denied their criticisms of my beloved elementary school, I couldn’t help but notice the faults and flaws that abounded within the classroom. While ultimately I ended up at a private, co-ed school in Dallas, their comments and my vicarious experience of public school from my childhood friends inspired me to think critically about education: Why do some students get a better education than others? How do you quantify student success? What does critically thinking look like?

During my first year at Bowdoin, I decided to take Contemporary American Education in hope for some answers to these tough questions. However, after a few weeks of intense course readings and dynamic discussions, I found myself with more questions than answers! I quickly discovered the layers of complexity that lie beneath the surface of American education and was enthralled by the systems of inequality, that contribute to the challenges of public education, as well as the hard work of teachers and schools that point towards the promise that lies within schools. The following semester, I enrolled in Educating All Students and spent 4 hours a week working with a middle school student at Brunswick Junior High. A bright-eyed, seventh grade girl, she embodied the dichotomies and challenges we read about and discussed in class. My relationship with her enriched and complicated my understanding of how middle schoolers learn and view themselves in the classroom.

With a couple semesters of education under my belt, a professor of mine encouraged me to pursue a summer internship in the education field. With her support and counsel, I spent the summer before my junior year working as an Education Policy Research Intern at the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C. During my internship, I attended hearings on Capitol Hill, lobbied for early childhood education legislation, and researched important issues surrounding school equity. My research focused predominantly on disproportionality in school discipline, disparities in school funding, and the implication of Common Core for poor children and children of color. This experience served as the perfect springboard into Doris Santoro’s Urban Education course, in which I’m currently enrolled.

While I do not know what the future holds, I know it must touch education in some way. I hope to teach, work on education policy, or act as a social worker in schools. Although schools are not sufficient to solve for systemic inequality, they are necessary. Through my coursework and conversations with education professors, I’ve come to learn what the state of education in the U.S. looks like, as well as imagine what it could be.

Andi Noble

Andi Noble

Class of: 2015

Major(s): Hispanic Studies, History

Minor(s): Education

On my very first day of Education 1101 during the fall of my first year at Bowdoin, I was exposed to at least five other types of school experiences, and I was hooked. I left each class thereafter full of new perspectives, ideas, and questions.

Why Education?

Prior to Bowdoin, my education experience consisted only of my rural schooling in western Wyoming. To me, my small, homogeneous local school was representative of most schools in the United States. It was the only thing I had ever known, so I never questioned it. On my very first day of Education 1101 during the fall of my first year at Bowdoin, I was exposed to at least five other types of school experiences, and I was hooked. I left each class thereafter full of new perspectives, ideas, and questions. It was those lingering questions that kept me going back and fueling my curiosity for the American education system.

The following year, I took Education 2203 (Educating All Students), which gave me the opportunity to observe and be a part of a fifth grade classroom. It was there where I was first able to see theory put into practice. Since then, I have had the great opportunity to take Education 2265 (Using the Environment to Educate), Education 3325 (Mindfulness in Education), and finally Teaching and Learning and Curriculum (Education 3301/3302)—all of which have furthered my desire and passion to teach with their time spent in schools, engaging discussions, and preparation for a confident future in education. Each class has been unique, but each has contributed to my overall formation as a learner and as a future teacher. I especially value the local school engagement component part of my classes, as it provides a unique opportunity to witness different teaching and learning techniques and build close connections with the Maine community.

The capstone of my experience in education at Bowdoin has come through my time in Teaching Learning and Curriculum (Education 3301/3302). This past semester, I have spent well over 40 hours in an 8th grade Social Studies classroom as an active observer and participant. The excitement I get each morning as I navigate through the bustling hallways and into the challenge of teaching in the classroom is something I can’t shake.

My time in my education classes at Bowdoin has inspired me to pursue education in other forms as well. I spent the fall semester of my junior year studying abroad in Mendoza, Argentina. While there, I worked as an English tutor in a trilingual school (Spanish, Italian, and English). I was grateful to have the confidence and knowledge that I gained from my education courses to be able to teach in this situation, and I have gained so much from bringing that experience home with me and expanding upon it.

These past four years have exposed me to educational experiences far beyond my own—in Maine, the United States, and beyond. I am not sure where my education path will take me next as I prepare to graduate in the spring, but I go with the guidance and preparation that has been given to me by all the amazing professors of the Education department. I know that I will keep asking questions as we work toward the answers of education in our country today, and I can’t wait!

Mollie Friedlander

Mollie Friedlander

Class of: 2014

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Mollie Friedlander is a graduate of the class of 2014 from Del Mar, CA. She is currently enrolled in Stanford Medical School. At Bowdoin, Mollie doubled majored in Hispanic studies and neuroscience. While studying abroad in Argentina, Mollie sought physician shadowing opportunities, began the AMCAS medical school application process, and looked for future opportunities to explore Hispanic culture alongside clinical medicine. With the "mammoth support of Bowdoin mentors, a large amount of effort towards applications and interviews, and some amount of luck," Mollie received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship grant, acceptance to three MD/PhD programs, and an offer to join the Stanford MD program.

More About Mollie

Mollie decided to attend Stanford Medical School, but deferred enrollment for one year to serve as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Madrid, Spain, so that she could pursue her interest in Spanish language and culture and gain exposure to a universal healthcare system. The Fulbright experience strengthened her desire to integrate Spanish and medicine while also fostering an appreciation for the power of international collaboration. In medical school, Mollie has taken multiple Medical Spanish elective courses and utilized Spanish language skills to communicate with Hispanic patients at Stanford free clinics. Mollie investigated pancreas development in Dr. Seung Kim’s lab at Stanford through a Howard Hughes Medical Institute fellowship, and is in the augural class of Knight-Henessey Fellows. With her Knight-Henessey Fellowship, Mollie will pursue a PhD in Stanford's Developmental Biology program, and will graduate with a dual MD-PhD from Stanford. and The liberal arts education and thoughtful mentorship that Mollie received at Bowdoin enabled her to achieve the enriching experiences that have informed her decision to pursue a career in academic medicine, collaborative basic science research, and treating underserved Hispanic communities.

Sasha Cruz

Sasha Cruz

Class of: 2012

Location: San Antonio, TX

Sasha Cruz graduated from Bowdoin in 2012 with a double major in biology and Spanish, and is originally from San Antonio, Texas. Sasha is currently enrolled in the pharmacy program at Texas A&M University and works as a licensed pharmacist alongside physicians in a collaborative practice managing patients with chronic diseases.

More About Sasha

Between Bowdoin and Texas A&M, Sasha worked in a pharmacy to gain experience and to decide whether or not pharmacy was the career for me, and also taught a Kaplan PCAT course. The year she spent gaining pharmacy experience helped solidify her decision to pursue a career in pharmacy. Sasha grew up in an area of Texas where a shortage of health care existed, and she decided to attend Texas A&M because of the school’s mission and strong commitment to helping increase access to health care in the South Texas region. The pharmacy program at Texas A&M has opened many doors for Sasha, including the amazing opportunity to intern at the Mayo Clinic after her second year of pharmacy school.

Sasha says she would not be where she is today if not for Seth Ramus and Bowdoin Health Professions Advising. She is grateful for the office for its information, encouragement, and guidance before, during, and after the pharmacy school application process.