Meet Alumni Committee Member, Katie Gutt
“My favorite memory is sitting at the kitchen table in our host home in Trancas and listening to our host father tell us stories about the twenty times he had migrated to the US. I will never forget how openly he shared his stories and how eagerly he wanted us to understand what the experience is like.”
The Latino Migration Project (LMP) is pleased to announce the creation of a new alumni leadership committee that will help ensure the legacy of LMP’s work in the coming years. Committee members will advise and coordinate with the LMP team on communication, upcoming events, and growth goals.
Q: Katie, thank you so much for joining us! First, please tell us more about yourself.
A: Hi! I’m from Weddington, North Carolina. This weekend I will graduate from UNC with a double major in Hispanic linguistics and Latin American studies. During my time at UNC, I volunteered with Enrich ESL and El Centro Hispano. I also took Dr. Gill’s Latino Migration Perspectives course in the Spring of 2015.
Q: Tell us more about brought you to the Latino Migration Project. How did the experience impact you?
A: I was inspired to apply for the Global Guanajuato course after talking to some classmates who had taken the class in 2014. It seemed to be the perfect way to draw together my interests NC’s recent history and community service. The class and the trip to Guanajuato have challenged me and changed me in ways I never expected. I only wish I had been able to take the course sooner, so that my experiences could have informed my work with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro immigrant community earlier in my college career.
Q: We love that it had such an impact on you. What do you tell your friends when they ask you about your experiences in Guanajuato? What’s your favorite memory?
A: I think the most important thing I’ve shared is the value of the conversations you have with community members in Guanajuato. Learning about immigration from the people who have migrated, the people who have never migrated, and the children who have families split by migration is invaluable to understanding the immigrant community in the United States. My favorite memory is sitting at the kitchen table in our host home in Trancas and listening to our host father tell us stories about the twenty times he had migrated to the US. I will never forget how openly he shared his stories and how eagerly he wanted us to understand what the experience is like.
Q: What does the Latino Migration Project mean to you? Why should others care or get involved?
A: The Latino Migration Project has inspired me to seek a career in serving the immigrants in my community. Before taking the Global Guanajuato course, I did not have a clear plan for after graduation. This course showed me the many ways I can advocate for change in the treatment of immigrants and create a more welcoming environment in the state I have called home for more than 20 years. I think everyone could benefit from learning about immigration from an immigrant’s point of view. Luckily, LMP helps facilitate this exchange with the New Roots oral history project, training students on how to conduct oral history interviews, and providing a course that informs students of the immigrant experience.
Q: Of course we have to ask the biggest question—what are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation I will be working as a programming intern with the Rural Education Institute of Mexico— back in Guanajuato! I will be working with a couple others to plan and implement after school programs in two towns near San Miguel de Allende. The goal of the programs is to address high dropout rates by providing tutoring and activities to keep kids interested in learning. I’m so excited to start this position in September!
Q: We look forward to the great work you will do! When you weren’t in class, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to read! I’ve amassed a collection of books from my travels, and I’m just now getting into books I bought more than a year ago. It’s great to revisit places I’ve been through the works of their famous authors.
Thank you so much, Katie! We look forward to a great year!