On 2/23/2016, I attended a “Latin Americanist Lunch” hosted by the College of International Studies. After an entire semester of having class at 12:00pm, I was finally fortunate to find myself with the time to go to one of these miniature lectures. I sat down the with my roommate in the two seats next to the guest speaker and the sponsoring OU professor.
Besides getting Panera lunch, I had a number of noble and not so noble reasons for attending this guest lecture. In my Understanding the Global Community Class, attending these international area studies events can result in extra credit. I also am required to attend these events for the scholarship that I keep this blog for. For my sorority, you can also receive points for attending these “multicultural events.” Besides these reasons for obvious personal gain in other aspects of my life, I am extremely interesting in Latin America. I am currently in Grammar in Conversational Spanish, the fifth semester of Spanish Language offered at the University of Oklahoma, and I love the language and the multitudes of cultures that share the language. Thus, this opportunity seemed to fit all of my motivations rather closely.
I had the rare opportunity of being forced to talk to the speaker and one of my future professors for Understanding the Global Community. This opportunity came from walking in much later than the majority of attendance of other students and the only seats available at the table were those two. I was definitely not ready to talk about myself in a professional college standpoint, and actually stumbled after being asked my major. To say the least, I was rather embarrassed and I hope that I made up for it when telling him about myself. (I always feel nervous about not seeming intelligent and then coming off “too smart”) I told him about my plans to study abroad in Latin America and goals to attend medical school, and we had interesting small talk during the lunch before the talk. It was definitely nice to be able to have that kind of interaction with professors, and be able to talk about myself in a professional manner.
The speaker, Dr. David Lopez-Carr, is the head of the department of geography at the University of California–Santa Barbara. He was an extremely stimulating speaker. He was able to connect geography to bigger issues such as the urbanization and how that changes a nation and different communities. He mentioned the changes that capitalism can cause in the world. My Understanding the Global Community Class combined with these kinds of lectures that I have been attending have really opened my mind to the concepts of globalization and how my individual choices can make a statement. He was a professor I only to to get to know one day. He’s a champion for women’s education and sees education as the key to change. This idea is incredibly important and I really enjoyed this lecture. Dr. Lopez-Carr was able to connect so many different issues to geography. He spoke about women’s pregnancy and how many children a family has changes from rural locations to urban locations. And the fewer children mean that more resources are given to each child. He also spoke about how education also causes women to have fewer children. He also spoke about deforestation in the food industry. The food industry spends so much money on deforestation for crops. The energy used to farm these crops will be lost greatly in the food chain, and the championing for the meat industry is potentially dangerous.
This was an amazing choice for a lecture to begin the Latin Americanist Lunches, and I count myself grateful to the university to have provided me with this opportunity to hear from a visiting professor.