Latino Roots Class of 2015


David Colón López

I am a graduating Senior and Latin American Studies Major. My passion for Latin America is broad, but as an island raised Puerto Rican, my main focus is the Caribbean. Due to my own family connections to the state of Oregon, I took the Latino Roots course with the goal of learning more about Latino history at large in the state. Apart from gaining access to a broad spectrum of historic and contemporary knowledge regarding the state of Oregon and its long and tangled history with both Latino and Native American communities, the most valuable set of skills I attained from the class were those having to do with successfully creating a multifaceted documentary from scratch. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for my academic and social goals.

View David’s film: “Pancho un Boricua en Oregon”

Elizabeth Johnson

I am an anthropology major with the focus of archeology. My interest is archeological work within Central and South America.  I took the class to learn about cultural anthropology and keep learning about histories of Latino cultures. At the same time, I have been able to practice the Spanish language and keep it fresh in my vocabulary. Over the course of the two terms of this class, I have learned a lot about how much an experience in ones life can shape the way they choose to tell a story.

View Elizabeth’s film: “Edgar Ortega: United States Marine”

Nicole Johnson

As a student of Anthropology and Latin American Studies, I am extremely appreciative for the development of my background as an anthropologist and also for the introduction to cinema studies and filmmaking that I received in this course. Through the Latino Roots course, I have applied and strengthened my oral history interview skills; I have learned the basics of documentary filmmaking; and I have gained a broader perspective of the history of Latin@s in Oregon and the United States. This class enabled me to combine my broader understanding of the history of Latin@s in Oregon with the personal story of a constituent of Oregon in order to underscore the weaving of cultures that occurs when a person assimilates into a new place.

View Nicole’s film: “Combinando Culturas/Bridging Cultures”

Erica Ledesma

My name is Erica Alexia Ledesma I am a triple major in Ethnic Studies, Cultural Anthropology, and Spanish. I am the daughter of immigrant Mexican parents. In mi casa my parents were able to transmit our culture, language, and history through cultural narratives that were passed down over many generations that shaped and gave meaning to my life and identity. I was inspired to take Latino Roots because I wanted to learn about the history of Latin@s in Oregon, which is also my history. Taking this course, I learned the tools necessary to produce a documentary but most importantly I was able to listen to someone else’s experience coming to Oregon and tell their story for everyone to listen and understand that Latin@s roots are roots that are rooted in diverse histories and cultures.

View Erica’s film: “Being Maya Quiché”

Tamara Leroy

I am an undergraduate in Anthropology with a minor in Latin American Studies. I took this course as a way to expand my skillset to better share the beautiful and complicated stories of all people. In so doing, I hope to broaden our collective understanding of what being an American means. This class has provided me with a deeper understanding of the importance of the act of sharing one’s life history; both for the person sharing and those receiving the story.

View Tamara’s Film: “Finding Home: From California to Oregon”

Shelby Lopez

I am a cultural Anthropology student that decided to take this class to get greater understanding of Latinos here in Oregon. Since moving up her from California, I felt like a major minority because I did not really see many Latinos here on campus. Once I started venturing outside of campus, I was started to the diversity Oregon has to offer and it made me question where was all the diversity on campus? So I decided to take this class to help me understand this question, which made me realize that I wasn’t alone feeling like the minority. Sure, I am not a Spanish speaker and I never got into my heritage as much, but I still wanted to be connected with people that could help me realize that there are more people who feel just like I do.

View Shelby’s Film: “Identity through Connection”

Adimary Matias-Hernandez

I am double majoring in cultural anthropology and Spanish, and I’m minoring is business. The reason I took this class was because, even though I grew up speaking Spanish, I felt my knowledge of my culture was lacking. When I saw this course is centered on the Latino journey, I had to sign up for the class. The most important thing I learned from this class is that everyone has a story to tell, and it’s important to turn those stories into history so future generations are able to grow and learn from our archives. We don’t want everyone’s amazing histories to be forgotten.

View Adimary’s film: “Los Oaxaqueños de la Sierra Norte”

Celeste Medina

My name is Celeste Medina. I am a Journalism and Cinema Studies major focusing on producing movies and telling stories. I took the Latino Roots class to gain a better understanding of my people’s history. I wanted to learn about the impact Latinos have had in our country and how things have progressed over time for minorities.

View Celeste’s film: “Embracing the Dream”

Lucy Murdoch

I am a junior majoring in Anthropology. I enrolled in this course because I was looking for a way to incorporate my interest in the Spanish language into my major. Not only has the Latino Roots I and II sequence involved these interests, but it has also provided me with practical skills that are useful in the field of anthropology. I was also interested in enrolling in this course because it served as a unique opportunity to research and help document the stories of Latinos in Oregon. Having completed the Latino Roots sequence, I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to learn everything from Oregon history to the interviewing process to editing a film that can be used to improve cultural awareness and education in Oregon.

View Lucy’s film: “Tu Sueño Realidad: Opening Doors for Latino Children”

Lexus Oswald

I am an undergraduate majoring in Journalism and minoring in Cultural Anthropology. I aspire to work with documentary in the future in order to tell stories through oral history. I am passionate about traveling and being immersed in other cultures. I took Latino Roots I & II because I have always wanted to know more about Latino’s histories in order to feel more connected to my own descent. Throughout this course I strengthened my interviewing, recording video and audio, and editing skills. Most of all this class was humbling and impactful towards my own personal growth through teaching me the realities of immigration.

Keaton Rogers

I am an International Studies major with a geography focus and an interest in Latin America. I took this class to push myself academically and to delve deeper into understanding the racial history of Oregon. I have learned a great deal in regards to film- making and I have gained a deeper sense of appreciation for oral history projects.

View Keaton’s film: “The Story of Carlos Enrique Marquez”

Haydee Romero

I am a Journalism major in the School of Journalism and Communications and I chose to take the Latino Roots class because as a Latina, I felt that there was something that I could either learn and share in the course given my own experiences. What I most learned and appreciated from the class was hearing about the stories of all of my classmates and how they have chosen to use the stories they have recorded to enrich their own lives and the lives of others. It’s been a long journey, but I think we’ve all become better individuals from it.

View Haydee’s film: “The Journey of Life is to Give

Eli Ruth-Cheff

I am a Latin American Studies, International Studies, and Spanish major. I took this class because I was intrigued by the potential for a classroom setting that would foster substantive discussion about the history of Latin@s in Oregon and dispel some of the stereotypes and cultural assumptions that are prevalent in our community. In addition to the myriad technical skills I learned throughout this course, I gained a deeper understanding of the importance of accountability in my life. Neyo (the subject of my film) entrusted me with his life story, and I felt profoundly responsible for doing it justice. The skills I learned in this course allowed me to communicate Neyo’s story in a manner that reflects his unfaltering dedication to his family, community, and beliefs.

View Eli’s film: “El Lugar y el Dolor”

Troy Shinn

I am student in the School of Journalism and Communication. I enrolled in Latino Roots I and II course so that I could finish this video project I had already started on my grandparents. The course provided me with many new ideas and perspectives that are reflected in my final documentary. Moreover, it taught me how to address concepts of culture and race in constructive ways that are mindful of existing stereotypes and cultural assumptions.

View Troy’s film: “Across the Border”

Chelsie Simonson

My name is Chelsie Simonson and I am a Senior, majoring in Anthropology. I have a strong interest in Latino socio-political issues within the United States, as well as in Latin America. I have a background in photography and enjoy documenting stories through imagery. I was excited to take the Latino Roots courses because they offered a bridge between my interests in Anthropology and photo/video technology.

View Chelsie’s film: “A Journey to Survival”

Nina Sobotka

I am a senior with a major in History and a minor in Geography. Both my curiosity and my desire to be pushed out of my comfort zone led me to register for this course. I am grateful to have had the opportunities to study the racial and ethnic history of Oregon, to experience the entire filmmaking process, and to learn directly from Carmen Urbina, an amazing educator and community member. I am more aware now of my identities as a white woman, scholar, and filmmaker, and why it is important for me to continue to cultivate my awareness of those identities when I’m collaborating with people of color.

View Nina’s film: “Carmen Urbina: My Journey to Activism”

Richard Velazquez

I am a masters student in History with a regional interest in Latin America, specifically in Mexico. I took this class to develop new skills and to broaden what I can produce with my academic research. By creating a documentary, I am able to make my research more accessible to larger groups of people.

View Richard’s film: “Buscando Oportunidades: My Journey to Oregon”