Student Interns

Celebrating the CUSLAR Class of 2020


Melanie Calderon ’20 is currently a senior at Cornell, majoring in American Studies and minoring in Law and Society and Public Policy. She was born in Mexico, but has lived in the suburbs of Las Vegas most of her life. She’s interested in politics and eventually going to Law School and possibly concentrating in corporate law or data rights and intellectual property. Melanie is involved in student government at Cornell as the former Diversity and Inclusion Chair for Residential Student Congress and as VP of Finance for the Society for Women in Politics. She is a founding member of the Cornell Latinx Association of Pre-laws and is also Diversity chair for her sorority Alpha Chi Omega. Melanie loves listening to Lorde, playing tennis, watching soccer, and hanging out with her friends!

Rebekah Jones ’20 is a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She studies Development Sociology, Public Policy, Inequality Studies, and Crime, Prisons, Education, and Justice (CPE + J). She is from Queens, NY and her research focuses on Mass Incarceration and charting the effects of social policy. After graduation she plans to pursue a PhD in comparative political science with a regional focus in Latin America.


Kevin Maldonado ’21 is currently a junior at Cornell University majoring in Government and minoring in history. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Kevin came to Ithaca looking to study Economics, but had a change of heart when taking his first history class: Foreign Policy as Subversion. The class taught him about the fervent U.S. intrusions in Latin American politics during the 19th and 20th centuries and revealed to him that there can be a silver lining to this history. By fostering positive relations with the rest of the Western Hemisphere in the present, the U.S. can only rise above its past and move forward courageously into a more prosperous era of cooperation with the democratic governments of Central and South America. Kevin decided to join CUSLAR to learn more about the interconnectivity between social justice and international politics and is looking forward to making major contributions to the organization.


Kimberly (Kim) St Fleur ’21 is currently a junior at Cornell University studying Global and Public Health Sciences with minors in Spanish and Infectious Disease Biology. In her time at Cornell, she has done Hurricane Maria relief work with a local NGO in Puerto Rico, volunteered with mobile clinics and community development projects in Perú, and has participated in many different activities, including conducting a research project, at a rural hospital serving tribal communities in India. She had previously served as the Secretary for Amnesty International at Cornell and was involved with MEDLIFE at Cornell. She currently works at the Latino/a Studies Program as an administrative intern. She is also an e-board member for Mayor Potencial, a community development and empowerment organization. The student organization is working in the village of El Rodeíto, Honduras and has been fundraising for over a year with prospects of building a school closer to the village. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare, focusing on maternal and child health care and disparities in marginalized communities of the US and Latin America. Her global health experience and ties in Latin America and her desire to focus on the US and Latin America in her career brought her to CUSLAR. Through CUSLAR, Kim hopes to learn more about current, emerging, and evolving social justice movements in Latin America. She wants to explore the health disparities that exist within social justice issues and spread that awareness to her peers and community.


Gabriel Fernandes ’21 is a junior at Ithaca College, majoring in political science with a concentration in international studies and minoring in religious studies and Spanish. Having been born and raised in Brazil, Gabriel had the chance to experience different moments of political consciousness in his country. Through that, he became interested in studying how hegemonic narratives are constructed and employed as tools to enhance governability. Throughout his academic career, Gabriel has studied and written about the urgency of land reform struggles in Latin America, also focusing on the lessons that can be drawn from campesino and indigenous organizing to enhance democratic governance in the Americas. Recently, Gabriel has also written about post-truth in modern politics and lawfare as a hegemonic tactic. At CUSLAR he hopes to bring an international perspective to the group, helping to bridge the gaps between US and Latin America and uniting our peoples in a common humanitarian struggle against imperialism.      

Joshua Lam Photo Fall 2019

Joshua Lam ’20 is a current senior Spanish major at Ithaca College with a minor in Translation Studies. At Ithaca College, he is also involved in the student organization Intercambios as their farm education coordinator. Intercambios is dedicated to two missions: to provide English teaching services to migrant farm workers in the Tompkins County area and to provide local “exchange” by pairing speaking partners between Spanish language learners in the organization and English language learners from the Ithaca community. He is also the secretary for Ithaca College’s Melanin in Medicine, a student organization that supports people of color interested in medicine and healthcare. Lastly, he is the historian for Ithaca College’s Asian American Alliance, an organization dedicated to supporting Asian and Asian American students at IC and to bringing Asian American culture to campus. Throughout his time in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Ithaca College, Josh has become increasingly interested in finding ways to reform Spanish language classrooms to better reflect the realities of the Spanish-speaking world, considering social, political, and economic issues, as well as moving away from Spain and peninsular Spanish as the central models for teaching Spanish language and Spanish-speaking culture. He currently is designing his own independent study, which will include directed readings of underrepresented canons in Spanish language poetry, including Equatorial Guinean poetry, Moroccan poetry, Asian Latin American poetry, and indigenous poetry in Spanish. Through CUSLAR, he hopes to better understand the realities and current issues of Latin America, giving him the tools to become a better teacher in the field, filling in the gaps of what he has learned through his department at IC.


Daniela Rivero (she/her) ’21 is a junior at Ithaca College studying Social Movements and Latin American Studies with a minor in Art. Daniela is from Mexico but currently lives in the Boston area. She holds her homeland and her people very near and dear, and this has shaped her decision to study Latin American politics with a purpose of decolonizing our land and our future. She hopes to move back to Mexico after graduating to work with indigenous communities that are fighting to protect their land from extractivism. On campus, Daniela is on the executive board of an organization for Empowering Mental Health in People of Color (EMPOC) and also leads the Committee on Decolonial Affairs (CODA), an organization concerned with resisting colonial structures and building solidarity with communities in Latin America. She also co-hosts a podcast called “In-Between” through Passion Project Online. In her free time Daniela can be found journaling, reading magic realism novels, and enjoying all the wonders of Ithaca.


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