Senior Claudia Leon matriculated at Cornell intending to double major in Government and American Studies. However, after finding out her interests lie more within the latter field, she decided to solely major in AMST.
A Latino Studies and History double minor, Leon is also president of the Puerto Rican Student Association, which is her greatest on campus passion because she strives to create “community and space for Puerto Rican students,” as she puts it.
In fact, Leon’s senior thesis focuses on radical politics during the Puerto Rican Independence movement, which she is writing through the AMST department.
In addition to doing independent research on her thesis this past summer, Leon did an internship at the Smithsonian’s Program in Latino History and Culture.
“I feel like through American Studies and Cornell and the professors I’ve worked with I’ve been able to dip my toes in a lot of stuff that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to do otherwise,” she states as she reflects on her summer.
She adds that it was through her connections within the AMST department that she landed a Research Assistant position with Stephen Vider, director of the Cornell Public History Initiative.
“The support you receive, the personalized support, from the professors and administration I feel like the fact that I’ve been able to build relationships with administrators in the program is not something I’ve heard about from people from other majors,” she advocates.
As Leon continues to decide whether she wants to pursue a PhD in American Studies or Latino Studies, what she does know is that she will miss the people she’s met through the program.
“I did most of my studies last year in the American Studies lounge so all of the administrators and I became homies throughout the years, especially Adrienne Clay,” Leon recalls.
“We bonded a lot while she heated stuff up and I was studying in the lounge,” she adds.