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Kacey Cook

International and Area Studies

Marquette, MI
IAS (Latin America)
Political Science
Study Abroad:
Valparaiso, Chile
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In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
IAS allows you to really delve into what interests you.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I was drawn to this department by the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of Latin America and its relations with the US and the rest of the world. The IAS major allows me to take classes in Religion, Anso, and Political Science that are focused in the region. I knew I wanted to study abroad and loved how applicable that experience could be to my studies here in the US. I have stayed with the major because it has given me the opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines and combine my areas of interest into projects, papers, and internships that I am passionate about.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Take advantage of the department’s flexibility. Take the required IAS courses that are intro courses in different departments like the history requirement, Intro to Anso, and Econ 101 early on. They will help you decide what you might want to pursue as your cognate minor/major and, when you do decide, you will have some of those already out of the way for your IAS requirements. 

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
Being an IAS major enriched my experience on study abroad; I was able to apply what I had learned at K to my experiences in Chile and my experiences there have deepened my interest and understanding of what I am studying here at K. I look at the IAS department as a point of intersection for many of my interests and passions. My passion for the Spanish language, for political science, for traveling, for local and sustainable foodways and for human rights activism have all intertwine through my IAS major. My internship with Farmworker Legal Services, my time in Chile, and my SIP are all examples of this. Being able to take classes and to pursue projects that I am passionate about has been the most rewarding aspect of my time here at K.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Don’t live a boring life: Take advantage of opportunities to try new thing, to explore unknown places, and meet interesting people. Don’t rush into a career or the next step, you’ll get there! Have some fun along the way. Often unfamiliar or intimidating situations are the most rewarding.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
One of my favorite classes here at K was Dr. Brock’s Mandela and the Movement because we learned about history through the study of a social movement and its leaders. We read Mandela’s biography, skyped someone currently involved in a social movement, and ended the class connecting what we had learned to a movement in the history of our future study abroad sites. The class interconnected the past, present, and future in a way that was engaging and relevant.

What is your SIP?
I am doing my SIP in the Political Science department on the framing and dissemination strategies being employed by agents in the debate surrounding pro-GMO legislation in Chile.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I am hoping to take some time for a few adventures before applying for law school with the hopes of working in some facet of human/civil rights law.

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