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Aliera Morasch

International and Area Studies

Portland, OR
International & Area Studies (with a focus on Latin America) and English
Study Abroad:
Quito, Ecuador
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Anything with caramel and/or cookie dough. Also, mango sorbet.
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
You get to try to understand why the world is the way it is.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
What initially drove me to IAS was my desire to engage with my studies on a global scale. The way the department juggles looking at both big ideas on the global scale as well as details about specific parts of that global system is what keeps me coming back. I not only want to learn about institutions and systems within the United States, but also those outside of the United States. I want to learn about how international actors interact with each other and how those interactions affect individuals on a smaller scale. Overall, I am interested in how different people interact with each other, and to understand that it becomes vital to also learn about how larger actors interact globally. The IAS major fuses a mixture of classes that allow me to study international relations broadly as well as in detail, allowing me and pushing me to focus on certain areas while encouraging me to consider and not ignore other areas.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Use the region of concentration aspect of this major as a chance to study a specific region you are interested in in depth, specifically exploring how that region interacts on an international level. Choose a region you are interested in and really delve into that region, but to do not forget that it exists within a complex and interesting global system.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
The systems, theories, and paradigms I learn about within the IAS major give insight into the more theoretical discussions of other parts of my studies. It provides a concrete foundation on which to have complex discussions, both academically and in other areas of my life.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Don’t be afraid to listen to other people’s guidance, suggestions, or ideas, but in the end figure out what you believe, what you are interested in, what you are passionate about, and what you want to do.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
US Ethnic Lit. This is a class in the English department, and it uses different forms of contemporary literature and writing to examine race and ethnicity in the United States. This class provided a space to reflect on my own identity as well as explore race relations on a larger scale. IAS impacted and was impacted by my studies in this class because while this class looks at individuals within the US, through IAS I can study similar interactions and racial situations, but on a more global scale.

What is your SIP?
I am doing a 2-unit SIP within the English department. It is a hybrid SIP, meaning it will have both critical analysis and creative writing. I plan to look at the history of performativity of raced bodies in the United States, and the silencing and violence committed against those bodies through performance. I plan to look historically at minstrelsy and lynching, as well as at the contemporary portrayal of raced bodies in the media, including the way shootings are covered (or not covered, as is often the case) as well as the way immigration is discussed. I plan to root my ideas and theory in creative writing, to remind myself and the reader that this is reality, not just academic jargon.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
Eventually I plan to go to grad school, but I want to take time off to work and travel. Hopefully, I can combine those things and work abroad. I’d love to eventually work in something that combines my love for writing, travel, and studying interactions around me, but I’m not sure what exactly that will be yet!

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