Student Spotlight: Diana Isabel Diaz Muñoz 09F
For Diana, a semester abroad with the Hampshire in Havana Program was instrumental in directing her vision and focus for her Division III project, entitled, Cultura, Ciudadania y Salud: Latinas Promoting their Wellbeing through Gendered Cultural Citizenship.
In her Division II, Diana studied the non-biological factors of Latin@ health and well-being, namely, how discrimination, socio-economic factors, and the daily stress of marginalized status, or what Diana calls their Cultural Citizenship, erodes health and promotes illness and disease among Latin@s.
For Diana, coming to Hampshire, and finding herself part of a very small Latin@ and immigrant community among a predominantly European-descended and native student body, was a difficult transition.
“It took me some time to find people that I felt comfortable with and who could identify with my experiences as Latina or immigrant in the United States. Nonetheless, learning and residing in environments that were conducive of critical thinking kept me excited to come back every semester, especially the multicultural communities,” Diana said.
Once in Cuba with the Hampshire in Havana study-abroad program, Diana’s studies took on a newly gendered lens as she conducted narrative analysis and ethnographic research on the development of women in Cuban society. Diana says that the project ignited her passion for women’s issues, which brought a new dimension to her Division III, a qualitative research project with Latin@s from the Connecticut River Valley, focusing on how gender, race, and immigrant status interact to impact Latinas’ health.
“Through [participants’] experiences and input I was able to document the concept of Gendered Cultural Citizenship at work; their efforts to create and maintain communities catered for the needs of Latinas (mentally, emotionally, and physically) [and] how social support and empowerment, as results of this political practice, function for the benefit of the general well-being of Latinas,” Diana explained.
Diana will continue her studies at the School of Public Health in Hunter College in the fall, where she hopes to integrate the concept of Cultural Citizenship to the field of public health.
By: Barbara Morrison 10F