Happy International Women’s Month – oops, we mean March! We are taking the time to spotlight a few of our amazing feminist master’s students for the next two installations of “Meet our Kuadrilla.”Jomarie Rivera Garcia, from Puerto Rico, studied Sociology and Psychology from the Univeristy of Puerto Rico in San Juan with an emphasis in criminology and poverty. Emma Hyndman is from the United States, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Gender Studies at Santa Clara University in California. Her thesis topic examines the intersection of state and sexual violence. Enjoy this conversation the two women had on where they see themselves after completing their master’s!
Describe your experience in this master and what impact do you think it will have on your professional goals?
Emma: I’m excited to bring everything that I’ve learned back to the U.S. and put it into use it when applying for and eventually attending law school in the next few years. That was my main purpose in coming to the program – to have a different view of the law and meet people working in different arenas related to the law.
Joma: This program has deconstructed many mainstream problems in law, so it will also help you to approach them from a different perspective
Emma: Yes definitely. And I know you plan on pursuing a PhD in the future…
Joma: I do and this experience has given me perspective on that, but has also changed many things in my personal life. In that sense, I’m taking from Oñati both life and academic lessons. I have grown here in Oñati.
Emma: It’s also the first time either of us have lived in such a small town!
Joma: Yes, it has also been the first time I live abroad, but it has exceeded all my expectations. I have growth on a spiritual level and the main thing I’m taking home is the experience of meeting so many intellectuals, not only the professors but also my classmates. Like Pam from Mexico, she’s such a strong feminist and I’ve learned so much from her. Or my roommate Claudia, she is an activist in Colombia. There’s also Narith, from Cambodia, a hard worker and close friend. All of them have contributed to changing my cosmovision and the way I understand life.
Emma: I agree. It’s not just within our cohort, but also from the visiting scholars. It has been incredible to meet so many people who are doing their PhD and bring their perspectives from their countries and also act as mentors to us.
Joma: And they’ve given us information about programs in their country. The Institute has helped us open doors to so many opportunities around the world, which I would not have had in Puerto Rico. Next month I’ll be going to Serbia to explore the Sociology Program at the University of Belgrade thanks to Valerija Grozdic who will be hosting me.
Interviewer: Where do you see yourself going next?
Emma: I can’t say what my next move is going to be because I am still figuring it out, but it is exciting to have the opportunity to learn from people outside the U.S. Being here has meant the opportunity to ask questions in a different way and learn differently. While my education in the U.S. did a good job prioritizing critical thinking, I haven’t had the chance to learn from knowledges in other parts of the world. But I’m excited to carry with me what I’ve learned from other contexts and countries, like what I’ve learned about Puerto Rico from you
Joma: I agree, and as I mentioned, what I value the most about being here is the personal growth. I need to acknowledge that this program and living in Oñati has taken me out of my comfort zone, not only academically, since law is not my background, but just the whole experience. It makes me feel powerful, as if there are no barriers for me. I can learn and study in any capacity and any place of the world.
Emma: I could not agree more!