Graduates 2018-2019

Senior Profile: Brenna Cowardin (Hispanic Studies, ’19)


I never imagined to be graduating with a major in Hispanic Studies, but I am so happy that my education at William & Mary led me here. My freshman year, I thought I was going to be an Economics major, but I ended up taking one Spanish class each semester, and by the spring of my sophomore year, I realized that Hispanic Studies was more to me than classes I casually took throughout the course of my college career. Over the past four years, my studies have focused mainly on testimony and memory studies culminating with independent research on Presas de papel (Women Imprisoned in Paper), a play I saw in July of 2018 in Bustarviejo, Spain and then again in November in La Cabrera, Spain. The play gives voice to the memory of women who were incarcerated in the 1940s during Francisco Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975). Through this research, I had the opportunity to interview the creators of the play and descendants of Matilde Landa, one of the most famous icons of the resistance to Franco’s regime. I am incredibly thankful to professor Francie Cate-Arries for making this project a reality and to the Hispanic Studies Department and the Charles Center for funding my November return to Spain. I will spend the summer working with the public schools in Harrisonburg, Virginia, registering incoming students and administering English language exams for those who speak another language at home. After that, I plan to move to DC and work in the nonprofit sector, specifically looking for an organization that works for immigration or education reform.