The Merritt Cox Award has been awarded to Julia Tripodi and Mackenzie Krol.
This award commemorates Prof. Merritt Cox, a distinguished specialist in 18th century Spain. It is awarded to a graduating Hispanic Studies major who has achieved an outstanding level of academic excellence in Hispanic Studies, and will pursue a graduate degree in the field. Julia is interested in teaching ESL and Spanish in the future.
Professor Cate-Aries recounts, “I remember with pride Julia’s field research project conducted while studying with our summer program in Cádiz, Spain. Because of her interest in educational issues related to equity for all students, teachers’ rights, and social activism, she chose to research current street protests in Spain related to citizens’ response to unpopular government measures to eliminate teaching positions in public education, increase work hours and the student-teacher ratio. She chose as her case study the group Marea Verde (The Green Tide), a nation-wide coalition comprised by educators, parents, and community members who champion quality public education against increasing cuts that compromise local and regional educational objectives. She not only was able to observe a massive demonstration in Cádiz in May 2019. She was able to ground her study of teachers’ complaints and activism within a larger context of the robust social movements more broadly in 21stcentury Spain. Her own future as a classroom teacher, after pursuing a Master’s degree at UVA in the fall, is incredibly promising.”
Mackenzie will be attending Wake Forest University in the fall for an MA. She says, “I feel extremely honored to receive this award. I am excited to pursue my masters in Translation and Interpreting Studies, and am grateful to have support from the WM Hispanic Studies Department!
Prof. Cate-Aries recalls, “I remember her final class project with particular admiration. She had access to a rare mimeographed archival document entitled “Cursillo de Capacitación Social”, a November 1966 training and educational manual for indigenous activists in the rural, indigenous community of Malacatancito, Guatemala. Mackenzie thoroughly researched the place of these widespread “cursillos/mini-courses” in the origins of the Latin American liberation theology movement, citing the 1966 document’s genesis in the climate of Vatican II (1962-1965) and the ongoing Latin American Catholic Church debates that spawned the Latin American Episcopal Council’s (CELAM) manifestos. Mackenzie’s translation provides historians and cultural studies practitioners a valuable primary text that succinctly overviews the most pressing socio-economic concerns—like homelessness, lack of health care, illiteracy rates, the necessity for more equitable agrarian land reform—that face marginalized communities and the faith groups who are committed to serving them. It was a top-notch piece of translation research.”
Congratulations, Mackenzie and Julia, for all your hard work!