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An Experience to Remember

12/12/2012

Anyelin Antigua '14 of New York City, N.Y., always had an interest in equality and social behaviors, and wondered how one group seemed to get an "upper hand" over another. As a sociology major at MCLA with a minor in anthropology, she's able to examine that, and much more.

The multiple high-impact experiences she's had here include a research paper she wrote last year for Professor Edward Curtin's "Methods of Social Research" class.

"I think that, by far, that was probably one of my best papers. I felt accomplished. I never gave up, and Professor Curtin would always keep me going," Antigua explained. "Even after the paper was done, he sent me a link to this Web site and said, 'Look at this. What you said in your paper was exactly right.' I was really happy about that."

While she finds her studies fascinating, it's her professors who make all the difference.

"I love the classes and I love the professors. They are very open with discussion. I'm very comfortable talking with my professors with any subject in my classes. I feel like that's very important," Antigua said.

"Initially, I wasn't going to apply to MCLA, but I got up here and it's probably the best decision I've made. Even though it's far from my home and I've been homesick since I'm from the city, I've been able to succeed academically because I have the one-on-one connection with my professors. I'm able to go to any faculty member here and ask them questions. I think that's what matters the most."

Antigua has changed much since she first arrived on campus.

"I've grown intellectually and out of my comfort zone completely. I've come to a place that's culturally different from where I'm from and I've gotten used to it, so I've grown so much as a person - emotionally, mentally - everything. It's been a complete change."

Among the high-impact opportunities Antigua's taken advantage of was to study archaeology and anthropology last summer in Belize, where she focused on the Mayan culture.

Belize "was the best experience ever," she said. "And, while I was there, one of my professors allowed me to go on a trip with her to Guatemala. It was just great. Even though I'm from a Spanish-speaking culture, it was totally different." Although her classes were conducted in English, "When I went to the market, I was able to speak Spanish to other people. It was very diverse."

Antigua plans to graduate a semester early, next December. Then she's headed to graduate school to study anthropology with the goal of becoming a human rights investigator.

 In the meantime, "MCLA has probably the best sociology program because the professors are so open-minded. They push you because they know that you can do it, and they go beyond there. They make you think and help you reach your full potential, and accomplish things you didn't know you could do.

"If you want to go to a school where your academic needs will be met and you'll get the most out of it if you take advantage of all the opportunities given here, this is the place to be."