The Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) program promotes and enriches a bilingual and bicultural environment on and off campus by providing students with opportunities for engagement with life, and culture from Latin America, the U.S. Latina/o contexts, and Spain. MAS has become one of the premier interdisciplinary programs at Trinity, and an umbrella for efforts of every kind to more deeply engage with the MAS world.
Seven students dedicated Summer 2021 to working in MAS internships for various organizations that seek to support the LatinX community in San Antonio. Below are the experiences of three of those students. While each of these students major in very different subjects and work towards different career goals, they all have one thing in common: Their experiences with the MAS program internships has deepened their passion and understanding for their aspirations post-graduation and beyond. Meet three of these interns below!
Adrian Herrera ‘24
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
Through the MAS program, engineering science major Adrian Herrera ’24 is able to further his passion for civic engagement and social justice initiatives. Already involved in several clubs and organizations such as the Latinx Leadership Program, TULA, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Adrian dedicated his summer interning for the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.
Originally from Houston, Adrian experienced gentrification first-hand. In high school, he dedicated much of his time to lifting up the voices of residents in historic and low-income neighborhoods. Adrian also got involved with the Institute of Engagement, a Houston-based organization that helps young people take responsible ownership of their city.
“I remember the feeling when I saw a ‘Mi Barrio no se Vende’ sign in a neighborhood in San Antonio; I immediately felt a connection,” Adrian says. “I realized that the sign was part of the Esperanza Center’s anti-gentrification coalition initiative and that Trinity students had been an important part of propelling the project. Knowing that I could continue to support their work motivated me to become involved.”
Adrian hopes to further connect engineering with social justice in his studies at Trinity and in his career.
“Engineers must take into account social and infrastructural obstacles and research the culture and demographics of a neighborhood when investigating a site or before working on a project,”Adrian says. “In my career, I will have to make decisions that affect communities. This internship provides a valuable opportunity to combine two distinct lenses and ways of thinking that are both important to me.”
Maria Arteaga ’22
Maria Arteaga ’22 is dedicated to supporting fellow LatinX peers in post-secondary education and beyond. As part of the Mexico, the Americas, and Spain (MAS) internship program, Maria interned with Momentum Education, a nonprofit organization in Houston.
Momentum Education focuses on providing support to first-generation, low-income students through mentorship, summer opportunities, scholarships, and other resources to get them to and through post-secondary education and eventually the workforce.
“I chose this organization because I believe in its mission of being able to provide students with the resources they need in order to succeed in their area of interest,” Maria says. “Every day comes with a challenge, but alongside my mentors and co-workers, we are able to practice our problem-solving skills and find the best solution for each student.”
Maria knew she was lucky enough to have amazing mentors and opportunities and was aware not everyone has this luck. After her first year at Trinity, she was determined to extend the same luck, mentors, and opportunities to other students. With a double major in human communication and Spanish and a minor in teaching, Maria hopes to combine her fields of study to support first-generation, low-income students in their education endeavors and beyond.
“Each and every single one of our students and my coworkers impress me day by day,” Maria says. “I am excited to keep learning from others wherever I go.”
Shelby Smith ’21
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)
Shelby Smith ’21, a senior graduating in December, spent her summer as an intern with RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. RAICES is a San Antonio-based nonprofit agency that promotes justice by providing free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.
Shelby’s experience with RAICES has given her valuable insight into the nonprofit, legal industry. In joining this passionate and purposeful community, Shelby has grown confidence in herself and interest to fight for a more compassionate society through research and law.
“I feel like this internship has allowed me to adjust my post grad plans and seriously consider a law career,” Shelby says. “I have always loved elements of law, but it never seemed as a viable option. This experience has given me assurance that I have the capability to do more.”
Shelby recalls an extraordinary feeling of partnership being integrated into the RAICES team as an intern. “One of my favorite memories was sending a 30 page document to one of my supervisors that I spent about 4 hours researching and correcting,” she says. “My supervisor told me that it was perfect and needed no edits. It was one of the times I felt extremely assured that I was succeeding.”
Funding for MAS internships is made possible by a generous gift from Carlos and Malú Alvarez, who have provided unwavering support for the MAS program for more than 15 years.