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Carmen Orozco Khan transferred to UL Lafayette’s Spanish program to dig deeper into her roots.
“I started taking Spanish classes at South Louisiana Community College and wanted to advance in Spanish language and culture,” she said. “This drove my passion to learn more about my Colombian culture.”
While at UL Lafayette, Carmen discovered many things about herself, from her favorite book to her call to activism.
“My favorite class was Topics in Hispanic Culture (SPAN 451G) with Dr. Leslie Bary,” she said. “We focused on race and nationalism in Latin America.
“In this class, I found my favorite book, ‘La Raza Cósmica’ by the Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos,” she said. “This essay predicted this new age of a fully mixed race and why mestizaje persists in our modern times.
“This class also demonstrated the continuous challenges of racism in Latin America and how people identify themselves with national identity,” she said. “It opened my awareness to how we view ourselves holistically.”
Carmen was an active student on campus. She was vice president of both Sigma Delta Pi and the Spanish Club. She worked on special projects and she attended guest speaker events.
“My favorite guest speaker was John Smihula who directed the documentary ‘Hidden in Plain Sight,’” she said. “This event sparked my interest in activism for human rights.”
Because of Carmen, “Hidden in Plain Sight” is available for all students to watch. She worked to put together the 2006-2007 Latin American Video Acquisitions housed at the Edith Garland Dupré Library.
All of these experiences Carmen had at UL Lafayette led her to a 10-year career at Apple Inc., where she now serves as a project manager. She focuses on optimizing the supply chain in the Americas.
“My experience at UL Lafayette has helped me apply my Spanish skills within a global company,” she said. “Also, the literature classes highlighted my innovation skills.
“Thinking outside the box is important to apply in any career,” she said. “The creative perspective I gained from these classes is something I apply to projects I manage today at Apple.”