Mexican American and Latina/o studies chair discusses practicality, versatility of major

Ellis Prater-Burgess

When choosing a major, it is important to think about your goals as well as what makes you happy, said Karma Chávez, Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies chair.

A group of around 15 students from different majors gathered to meet Chávez and discuss the Mexican American and Latina/o studies major in the Gordon-White Building on Wednesday afternoon. During the Q&A session, Chávez discussed the practicality of studying this major and asked students about their experiences in the department.

“We want to do the things we can do to take care of you, intellectually and spiritually,” Chávez said. “I want to do (events like this one), so you have a direct line of communication.”

Chávez said although some people have reservations about the utility of a major in the professional world, it prepares students for life after college. She said a significant number of graduates pursue a master’s degree or go to law school. A degree in this major can make an application for a graduate program stand out, Chávez said.

“It’s all about what is going to help you reach your goals,” Chávez said. “For the most part, (employers) are going to want to know that you have a baseline of skills, but for a lot of jobs, they want you to have a skill set that includes good writing, communicating and public speaking skills. Those are skills that you’re going to learn in all of the majors in COLA.”

Luke Hernandez, a government and Mexican American and Latina/o studies senior, said he added the major when he took a Mexican American studies class and felt empowered by the content. When he worked at the Texas Capitol, Hernandez said he saw the real world applications of the major.

“I (learned) how to creatively apply how people are facing social problems (and) how to deal in policy,” Hernandez said. “It’s ironic, because I feel like Mexican American studies helped me more than government, in a way.”

Physics junior Sophia Macias said she is currently taking a Mexican American and Latina/o studies class and is thinking about minoring in the area, because her family originates from Mexico.

“I think it’s just important to know your history and understand different narratives of people who might be like you,” Macias said. “It’s not necessarily like you have to do anything with (the minor), it’s just a factor in staying woke.”