It’s hard to say where my path to CIE actually started, but I guess you could say that it has to do with deciding that you want to leave the world just a little better than you found it. I started out wanting to be an English major in college, but soon meandered into other departments such as Sociology, Women’s Studies, Anthropology, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, African American Studies, and others. When it was time to declare a major I declared an independent one: Social Justice, the one common theme that ran through all of my coursework.

 

Luckily I was surrounded by people who believe in theory and practice! Soon I was a budding campus activist, active on issues such as anti-sweatshop campaigns, workers’ rights, women’s rights, and anti-globalization. I worked and interned with labor unions throughout my college years, and got a good foundation in organizing, but I soon learned that the best organizer is also an educator. I learned about popular education, and how it can be used as a powerful tool to help oppressed people become conscious of their reality and the root causes of their problems, then work together, democratically, to transform that reality for the better.

 

After college I moved to Guatemala, where I worked for a popular education NGO for two and a half years as a community educator in rural, indigenous areas teaching about citizen participation in government. The experience was humbling and completely life changing, and I was hooked. I took a job in El Salvador with another non-profit, where I facilitated relationships between U.S. based organizations and their counterpart communities in El Salvador in which they supported grassroots community development projects.

 

I am thrilled to now be at CIE to take time to reflect, study, and analyze my experiences in a theoretical framework amongst such an amazing and diverse group of students and faculty! I hope that through my time at CIE I can prepare myself to achieve my goal of working as an adult educator for social justice in both the U.S. and Central American contexts, using popular education as a methodology and anti-oppression (oppression based on race, sex, class, sexual orientation, religion, able bodiedness, etc.) as a principle and practice.

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