The Latin American Studies Program offers Colby students the opportunity to apply for up to two Walker Grants for internships and service learning, cultural immersion and language training, and independent research. Scroll down for exciting descriptions of the research, immersion, and travels that our students have financed with their grants.

Chloe Wan, ‘20: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 2018

During Jan Plan 2018, I received a Walker Grant to attend an intensive Portuguese
program at Caminhos Language Centre in Rio de Janeiro. I attended group classes in
the mornings and participated in a variety of cultural activities offered by the language
school in the afternoons. Apart from taking group classes, I also took private classes to improve my conversation skills and to avoid errors that people with prior knowledge of Spanish tend to make. I was fortunate enough to have learned a lot of Portuguese in a very short time and to have engaged with the Brazilian culture outside of the classroom. I went to forró dance classes, saw a football match in the Maracaña Stadium, and visited a couple museums in the city. Through attending the cultural and social events organized by the language school, I was able to connect with my classmates and professors, as well as to immerse myself in the Brazilian culture. After four weeks, I felt like I could have a simple conversation with Cariocas with ease. I enjoyed my time in Rio de Janeiro and I highly recommend Caminhos Language Centre to Colby students who are interested in learning Portuguese. It was an incredible opportunity to study a language that is not offered at Colby currently. As a double major in Latin American Studies and Economics, I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn Portuguese, a language spoken by millions of people from an emerging economy. Looking back, I had an amazing time learning Portuguese in a cidade maravilhosa (the wonderful city). This experience has definitely reaffirmed my passion in Latin American studies and shaped my future plans.

Paula Jaramillo ’20, Valerie Mejía ’19, Emma Hofman ’20: Lima, Perú, January 2018

 The Walker Grant allowed us to spend the full month of January in Peru doing research in Maternity centers in and around the city of Lima.
We visited Taller de Los Niños, Instituto Nacional Materno Perinatal, and La Casa de Panchita. With the help of our extended team, assembled by Professor Patrice Franko in collaboration with the NGO Supporting Child Caregivers, we were able to conduct over 50 interviews of mothers,
nurses, and psychologists, collecting qualitative data on infant caregiving practices in Peru. We developed a relationship with Taller de Los Niños in San Juan de Lurigancho, and have carried this project into the semester by conducting a literature review to compile a manual for mothers
of infants. In addition, we were able to travel to places like Cusco, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu, and Huacachina over the weekends. We feel so appreciative because this experience would have been impossible without support from the Walker Grant.

Sophie Bartels 17′: Santiago, Chile, January 2017

This past January I received a Walker Grant to travel to Santiago, Chile to conduct research for my Senior Honors Thesis on the black market for medical abortion in Chile. I spent the month of January interviewing nineteen government officials, doctors, lawyers, and nonprofit workers in Santiago and in Valparaiso. I had the chance to speak with officials from the Ministry of Health, and with a range of frontline feminist activists. On the weekends, I had the chance to go surfing in Pichilemu and to go hiking in the Cajon de Maipo. I had a wonderful time returning to Santiago with the Walker Grant, and was able to research a topic that would have been completely inaccessible to me in the United States.

Greg Morano, 17′: Guatemala City, Guatemala, January 2017


During January of 2017 I was fortunate to receive a Walker Grant from the Program to travel to Guatemala City. As part of my Senior Honors Thesis in Latin American Studies, which focuses on recent Guatemalan challenges and successes in prosecuting high-level corruption, I interviewed ten government officials, nonprofit employees, and journalists. These interviews contributed to my understanding of the process of anti-corruption in the Central American country. One weekend I was able use my personal funds to travel to Lake Atitlán and learn the art of weaving from a local women’s cooperative. With the support that the Walker Grant gave me, I had a successful fieldwork experience for my thesis. Without the Grant I would not have been able to research a topic that continues to evolve in Guatemalan and global politics.

Meghan Kelly, 17′: Lima, Peru, January 2017


During JanPlan 2017, I received a Walker Grant for to travel to Lima, Peru to conduct archival and historical research for my Senior Honors Thesis in Latin American Studies on women during the Sendero Luminoso war. I was able to visit two different archives, the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos and the Centro de Información de la Defensoría del Pueblo, where I examined primary sources unavailable in the United States. I read testimonies, newspapers, and government documents, which enriched my understanding of women’s lives and the social memory of women during and after Peru’s internal armed conflict I also visited several war memorials in and around Lima to complement my research. On the weekends, I was able to visit Ayacucho as well.


Julien Lauretti, 17′: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 2017

Thanks to a Walker Grant and colleagues of Professor Franko, I had a great experience during my research internship in Rio de Janeiro at Brazil’s Escola de Comando e Estado Maior do Exército (Army Command and General Staff College). I worked in the library of the school under the supervision of a professor from the civilian sector of the institute, João Marcelo Dalla Costa. For the project, we began by looking into Brazilian effort to both modernize their armed forces and shore up their domestic defense industry. Throughout the internship I examined internal studies and data from the programs, the military, and the companies involved to help the team of professors by narrowing down the subject matter for an eventual paper. Our research team was especially interested on the level of integration with the local economy such as use of local suppliers. Living in Rio de Janeiro and working at the military institute at the Praia Vermelha was a rewarding experience and presented an opportunity to pursue an interest not offered at Colby, and I will have a chance to continue it for the rest of the semester.

Previous Walker Grant Testimonies

2015-2016 2014-2015 2013-2014 2012-2013 2011-2012 2010-2011