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November 7, 2005

Ball and awards ceremony to raise funds for undergraduate research apprenticeships

Poster for Frida Kahlo Ball

By Jennifer McNulty

Each fall, faculty affiliated with the Chicano/Latino Research Center invite a small number of undergraduates interested in cross-border studies to join them as “research apprentices.” These students participate in significant research projects and benefit from the opportunity of working closely with a faculty mentor and interacting with a cohort of students and faculty with shared interests.

“We created the apprenticeship because we wanted to build an avenue to encourage promising students to pursue graduate studies and professional careers,” said CLRC director Aída Hurtado, a professor of psychology. “Mentors can help students access all kinds of resources--financial and otherwise--to pursue their goals.”

In order to expand the popular program, which has served 60 undergraduates over the last five years, the CLRC is hosting the First Annual CLRC Frida Kahlo Ball and Awards Ceremony on November 19. All proceeds from the event will go toward the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP).

The awards ceremony will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., followed by dancing until midnight. A donor reception will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. Tickets to the ball cost $50-$100; $20 for students. The donor reception costs $25. All contributions are tax-deductible.

Photo of Sarah Amador and Lourdes MartÕnez-Echazābal

Sarah Amador (left) was invited to participate in the URAP program by Lourdes Martínez-Echazábal, associate professor of literature.
Photo courtesy of CLRC

Student “apprentices” rave about URAP. Sarah Amador, who majored in literature and philosophy, participated for two years. She was initially invited to participate by Lourdes Martínez-Echazábal, associate professor of literature. As a senior, she worked with Juan Poblete, also an associate professor of literature.

“I had no idea how much my experience with URAP was going to motivate me to apply to graduate programs in Hispanic literatures,” said Amador, who began doctoral studies at New York University this fall.

The apprenticeship “opened my eyes to academic life,” said Amador, who found her access to an interdisciplinary community of undergraduates, graduate students, and academics working on cross-border studies invaluable.

Ernesto Maldonado said being a “professor's sidekick” was an amazing experience. Invited to participate by Norma Klahn, professor of literature, Maldonado spent hours in McHenry Library gathering materials about Carlos Monsiváis, one of Mexico's leading intellectuals. The process of helping Klahn prepare a scholarly article was fascinating, but learning that Klahn “hangs out” with Monsivais when he's in town “seemed surreal.”

“I was blown away and couldn't really believe it until I attended a conference with Norma and went to lunch with a group of well-known intellectuals and a novelist,” said Maldonado, a literature major who graduated last spring. “I was amazed by their conversations--they were like family, and not a dysfunctional one!” By the end of the conference, Maldonado no longer felt like an outsider and was thrilled to speak with Mexican director Arturo Ripstein and screenwriter Paz Alicia Garciadiego.

Organizers of the Frida Kahlo Ball hope to raise enough money to expand the apprenticeship program, which is in its final year of funding, said Hurtado.

“Many of us know from our own educational experiences how important mentors can be,” said Hurtado. “Now, as professors, it's our turn to provide support and professional guidance.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets, please contact Evelyn Parada in the CLRC office at (831) 459-3789 or via e-mail at


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