Emily McGranachan '12, East Coast Regional Manager
Award: Jessie Babcock Award
Advanced Degrees: MA in Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs from American University
Employer: Family Equality Council
In 2011, I studied abroad in Santiago, Chile. Prior to living and learning in Chile, I had never traveled to a Spanish-speaking country. But thanks to my classes in the Spanish and International Relations departments, my passion had been sparked to understand recent human rights history in the southern cone. In Chile, I visited former clandestine prisons, met people who had lost loved ones during the dictatorship, and even took a class with the judge who indicted former dictator Augusto Pinochet. It was a profound experience to meet people who had fought so hard for social justice and human rights, at great personal risk.
My degree from Mount Holyoke in Spanish has opened the world to me.
During my senior year at Mount Holyoke College, I realized I was not ready to let this go.
I wanted to continue to explore the history and influence of these human rights leaders in Chile and Argentina. So I went to graduate school in Washington, D.C. There, I earned grants to travel back to South America in January 2014 to complete my research on the women-led anti-dictatorship movements in Chile and Argentina. I interviewed several women from Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and Agrupación de Familiares de los Detenidos/Desaparecidos in Chile.
To this day I am humbled by them and their strength. I have shared my research in publications and a conference, both very gratifying experiences.
Language acquisition opens worlds and it opened my eyes.
The Spanish department fostered my passion for social movements in Latin America in a way that only understanding a language can. My life is richer because of the people I met and the stories I heard, the food I ate and the things I saw.