Graduate Research Symposium


The University of Kansas Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, CLACS, and Latin American Graduate Organization, LAGO, will host a symposium showcasing innovative interdisciplinary graduate research from Latin America and the Caribbean on Friday, April 22, 2022 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Jayhawk Room at the Kansas Memorial Union.

Through their research, graduate students make significant contributions to the field that support CLACS’ efforts to be a leading resource center for people across Kansas, the country, and the world in the study of the histories, cultures, and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Graduate students from programs as diverse as Anthropology, Geology, Geography and Atmospheric Science, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Psychology, and Spanish and Portuguese will be presenting research in short, slide-based talks that explore themes of environment, resource management, crime, indigenous rights, technology, politics, and more. Presenters include:

Robert Cajas, Rafael Gonzalez, John Paul Henry, Trevor Lies, Javier Torres Lopez, Guillermina Laura Peña Sandóval, Valentina Rivera-Rodriguez, Bryan Javier Rodriguez-Colon, Silvia Sanchez Diaz, Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani, Claudia Salas-Forero, Taylor Tappan, and Angela Rocio Torres Zamora.

Our graduate students exemplify CLACS’ tradition of interdisciplinary research that places this university in global conversations. Most importantly, our students’ travels and studies promote multiculturalism in communities at home and abroad, and bring attention to bold ideas, aspirations, and actions.

The Graduate Research Symposium is meant to be an informal opportunity to learn and socialize. Organized into panels, speakers have approximately five minutes for each presentation, and an additional five minutes for questions and comments from the audience. Brief intermissions will divide panels, and light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be provided. Come and stay for the entire event to support all of our graduate students, or select from this list:

  • 4:35 Environment and Resource Management
  • 5:10 Crime and Justice
  • 5:25 Indigenous Rights and Representation
  • 6:20 Technology, Politics, and the State

For more information and a full schedules of topics, panels, and speakers, please visit or contact Aron Muci at


4:30 Introductions

4:35 Panel 1: Environment and Resource Management

Angela Rocio Torres Zamora, Geology

“Controls on Deposition and Reservoir Character of the Miocene Cicuco Field, NW Colombia: A Low-latitude Shallow-water Transitional Carbonate System (TCS)”

Bryan Javier Rodriguez-Colon, Geology

“Ciencia Boricua: Investigating the Occurrence of Modern Microbialite Systems in Puerto Rico”

Trevor Lies, Psychology

“Cultural Psychology, Conceptions of Environmentalism, and Climate Change”


5:10 Panel 2: Crime and Justice

Valentina Rivera-Rodriguez, Latin American & Caribbean Studies

“Symbols of Justice: Latin American Literature and the Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy Crisis”

Robert Cajas, Latin American & Caribbean Studies

“Gender Roles in Relation to the Brazilian Drug Trade”


5:35 Panel 3: Indigenous Rights and Representation

Taylor Tappan, Geography and Atmospheric Science

“Reclaiming Indigenous Land: a Subtle Success Story from the Costa Rican Talamanca”

Silvia Sanchez Diaz, Anthropology

“Entering the Marketplace: Shifting Indigenous Identities from Maya Kaqchikel Women's Standpoint”

Guillermina Laura Peña Sandóval, Spanish & Portuguese

“Sovereignty and Pluricultural (Self)representation of Indigenous Women in Middle American “Nahualismo” (1300-2018)”

Daniel Bagheri Sarvestani, Anthropology

“Indigeneity In Transition: Maya Chorti Evolving notions of Identity and its Intersectionality with Indigenous People's Rights Discourses (IPRD)”


6:20 Panel 4: Technology, Politics, and the State

Rafael Gonzalez, Geography and Atmospheric Science

“Raramuri in the City & Virtual Homeland”

Claudia Salas-Forero, Spanish & Portuguese

“Freemasons and Leadership in Colombia, During the Times of the Illustration and the Cartagena de Indias Holy Inquisition in America, from the Colony to the Independence”

John Paul Henry, Geography and Atmospheric Science

“Geopolitics of Cuban Sousveillance: Challenging Authoritarianism through Video Activism of Public Space”