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Joana Garcia

Los Angeles, CA
Religion and Spanish
Study Away:
Philadelphia, PA
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Best Adjective to Describe You: Unflappable

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
A unique opportunity to see how religion intersects in our lives!

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
What initially drew me were the professors and the type of environment that they create for their students. I initially started off with another major (surprise) but once i took a class with Dr. Anderson and saw how much she, as well as the other professors, went out of their way to make you feel welcomed was what kept me here.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Take a variety of classes, I waited until junior year to take a Buddhism course and I definitely regret it. It was completely different than any of the other classes that I had taken. Each class was mind blowing!

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
As I have taken more religion classes I have noticed that religion is much more than belief. It is part of everyday life and interwoven in areas that may surprise you. It's in popular culture, films, cultures, and music that change my perspective in which I view things.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
Sometimes, as stressed out you may be it is OK to just step back and enjoy your time here.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
My favorite class at K was Visual Studies in Latin American Culture in the Spanish Dept. Not only did I have a great professor but the topics covered in the class ranged from Mexican muralism to telenovelas (Spanish soap operas). It was fascinating to learn things about my culture that I had not known, this was the class that allowed me to learn about the history of Latin America that may be hard to find in other courses at K. We discussed how ideology and cultures go hand in hand and it challenged me to see the world through a more critical lens.

What is your SIP?
The SIP! My SIP is through the religion department with the help of Dr. Gandhi, my topic is about Santa Muerte who is a Mexican folk saint. She is mostly known through her alleged involvement in Mexican/Central American organized crime but there is a much softer caring side to her. I will be visiting botanicas (herbal stores) in the Los Angeles & San Francisco area where she has grown popular, along with interviewing her growing devotees I plan on exploring reasons behind why she is growing so popular amongst Latino women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ Latino community.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I'm still debating between continuing with my love for religion by going on to grad school or with my other love of working with first generation college bound students in underfunded high schools as a counselor. I keep on switching back and forth between the two so I will see what this year has in store for me.

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