About Us

Latinx and Latin American Studies provides a great opportunity for students who wish to understand the diversity of Latina/o cultures within the US and in Latin America.

There are also opportunities for students to engage within the Latinx community of Kansas City and beyond.

Our courses are not only formative in creating knowledge about cultures and various identities, but also in building a community of support for our students’ studies and research.

Academic Projects

Dr. Clara Irazábal-Zurita

Articles Under Revise-and-Resubmit Status

Irazábal, C. “Coastal Urban Planning in ‘The Green Republic’: Tourism Development and the Nature-Infrastructure Paradox in Costa Rica.” Revised and resubmitted to the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), July 26th, 2017. Manuscript ID: IJURR-Art-1703.R2.

This article examines coastal urban planning in Costa Rica vis-à-vis the country’s expressed values in the areas of sustainable tourism and community development, focusing on the city of Jacó. It argues that an anti-urban tourism development strategy, a swift growth of coastal urban development, and weak planning have nurtured a nature-infrastructure paradox, whereby bringing people closer to nature without the proper urban and governmental infrastructure is causing social and environmental damage. To assess the paradox and understand local perceptions towards development, this study analyzed long, semi-structured interviews and survey responses in San José and Jacó. Research methods also encompassed the analysis of current tourism planning institutions and regulations, tourism media coverage and reports, real estate data, participant observation of planning and community meetings and activities, and observations of the built and natural environmental conditions in Jacó and its surroundings. The findings show jurisdictional fragmentation, regulatory weaknesses and complexity, poor coordination, slow action, and incoherent planning and development effecting environmental degradation and socio-spatial inequities. A more balanced approach to planning and development would seek to improve environmental health and socio-spatial equity in tandem, by nurturing and advancing both nature and infrastructure development. Jacó’s lessons have global resonance, given the expansion of the worldwide tourism and second-home/retirement housing industries, their recent concentration in coastal urban destinations of developing countries, and the fragility of these socio-ecological systems.

Handal, C. and C. Irazábal. “Lost-and-Found Public Space Paradox: “Safer Barrios” and the Perversion of Governance and Citizenship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras,” Revised and-resubmitted to the Journal of Urban Affairs, July 15th, 2017. Manuscript ID: JUA-16-229.R1.

This paper analyzes the paradoxical lost-and-found and lost-again spatial dynamics created by “Safer Barrios,” a security initiative that redefines notions of governance, citizenship, community, and the public in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The complex findings reveal a program produced by a public-private-people partnership that seems to enhance democracy and participation by fostering a greater sense of community and safety for participants. These results, however, derive from the perversion of governance for the public good and citizenship as an equalizer status for Hondurans. The (re)creation of sociability space within gates precisely happens due to its own constraint. The benefits temporarily accrue for just a few and at an ever-higher price to the larger public outside the gates, and can negatively affect all in the long term if and when more streets in the city are gated than necessary to facilitate circulation. This study includes qualitative research and quantitative data gathered from the program’s inception in 2011 to 2016. The findings expose critical implications that this fast growing practice has for design, planning, and policy making. They also reveal that these newly gated residential areas demand a more nuanced analysis than that which traditional gated communities have received.

Articles Under Peer-Review

Angueloski, I., C. Irazábal, and J. Connolly. “’Grabbed’ landscapes of pleasure and privilege: Socio-spatial inequities and dispossession in infrastructure planning in Medellín.” Submitted to International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, June 27th, 2017. Manuscript ID: IJURR-Art-3542.

Cities confronted with unsustainable development and climatic changes are increasingly turning to green infrastructure as an approach for growth and climate risks management. In this context, recent scholarly attention has been paid to gentrification, real estate speculation, and resident displacement in the context of sustainability and green planning in the global North. Yet, we know little about the environmental justice implications of green infrastructure planning in the context of self-built settlements of the Global South. To what extent do green infrastructure interventions produce or exacerbate urban socio-spatial inequities in self-built settlements? Through the analysis of the Green Belt project, an emblematic case of green infrastructure planning in Medellín, we argue that, as the municipality of Medellín is containing and beautifying low-income neighborhoods through grabbing part of their territories and turning them to green ‘landscapes of privilege and pleasure,’ communities are becoming dispossessed of their greatest assets, namely location, land, and social capital. At the same time, community land is transformed into a new form of aesthetically controlled and ordered nature for the new Medellin middle and upper class. In contrast, communities’ planning alternatives reveal how planning can better address growth and climate risks in tandem with equitable community development.

Irazábal, C., I. Sosa, and L. Schlenker. “The Sleek High-Rise And The Makeshift House: Rhizomatic Collisions In Caracas’ Torre David.” Submitted to ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, December 31st, 2016. Manuscript ID: 1516.

A 45-story tower in Caracas formerly occupied by some 5,000 squatters, Torre David was touted as the world’s most spectacular “vertical slum.” This, among other sensationalized accounts, failed to consider the paradoxical ways in which Caracas’ formal and informal, urban and architectural trajectories literally collided with each other in Torre David. The modern high-rise and the self-built house—antagonist spatial typologies in Caracas’ growth—were dramatically superposed in the tower, unleashing hitherto un(fore)seen dynamics. Through site fieldwork, interviews, film production, media analysis, and historical research, we offer a nuanced theorization of Torre David that grapples with its charged tensions between the formal and informal, the modern and traditional, modernity and postmodernity, reality and imagination, and capitalism and socialism. Ultimately, we argue that these tensions created a rhizomatic socio-spatial field heavily pregnant with both risks and hopes for the people, the government, and the spatial disciplines. We conducted ethnographic and film documentary engagements between January 2011 and August 2014, producing a feature-length documentary with which some of this piece’s data is shared. In addition, media analyses, historical research, and expert consultations in Venezuela and the United States comprised our methodological approach.

Work In Progress

Irazábal, C. “The Counter Land Grabbing of the Precariat: Housing Movements and Restorative Justice in Brazil.” Journal article manuscript.

Members of the Brazil’s precariat, politically organized in national social housing movements, are courageously pressing for a true urban reform in Brazil, whose promise has been systematically delayed and subverted even by those who were put in power to realize it. By occupying vacant buildings and underused land, not only are these unsung heroes/heroines confronting neoliberalism in Brazil at a time of the model’s highest level of hegemony in the world. They are making visible the impossibility of the system to deliver socio-spatial justice to the poor and are enacting an alternative. Through a restorative justice practice, they go beyond political critique and show us an alternate project that would allow millions of people in Brazil access to decent housing, and through it, to myriad other opportunities—the right to the city. As shown in these experiences, restorative justice deserves further exploration as an alternative planning mode that can combine the strengths of advocacy and communicative action planning while reducing their drawbacks. These reflections are the result of ethnographic work on several building and land occupations in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil in March 2016.

Dias da Silva, R. and C. Irazábal. “Boom, Burst, and Doom: COMPERJ and Urban-Regional Development in Brazil.” Journal article manuscript.

Considered the largest investment project in Brazil in recent decades, the Rio de Janeiro State Petrochemical Complex (COMPERJ) is unfinished and paralyzed due to the serious economic and political crisis in Brazil since 2014. Planned to change the productive profile of the region, the complex was seen as a possible watershed for the socio-economic dynamics of Rio de Janeiro, especially for the poor municipality of Itaboraí, where it is located. The project’s cycle has followed the recent trajectory of the national economy, showing itself another case of boom, burst and doom related to mega-investment projects based on natural resources. This article aims to analyze the development path of COMPERJ, seeking to explain the determinants of the project’s peak and decline, highlighting the main effects on the urban dynamics in Itaboraí, in the metropolitan east of Rio de Janeiro. In addition, the work indicates how the project was one of the most representatives of the national developmentalist model between 2003-2013. The study highlights the problems of metropolitan peripheral urbanization and the role that large investment projects have over regional productive and social structures and dynamics. What was expected to be the trigger for growth has instead reinforced past problems in one of the poorest regions in the state of Rio de Janeiro, with the emergence of new urban challenges and dilemmas. Making use of literature review, historical sources and data analysis, the study seeks to present the limits and possibilities that the activity of large industry has on the urban and regional dynamics of peripheral metropolitan regions.

Irazábal, C. and J.C. Castro. “Venezuela’s Grand Housing Mission: Janus-Faced, Reversed Gentrification in Caracas.” Journal article manuscript.

In conventional processes of gentrification, upper class residents start populating traditionally lower-income neighborhoods eventually causing an economic and spatial transformation that starts displacing the original residents. In Caracas, massive construction of social housing in central areas of the city carried out by the Venezuelan Grand Housing Mission (Gran Misión Vivienda Venezuela, GMVV) is producing a reversal of sorts of this process. Fulfilling the aspirations of most anti-gentrification demands, the GMVV affords low-income residents new, decent housing in prime areas of the city. These material gains, however, prove insufficient and often even counter-productive when delivered without an integral program of socio-spatial inclusion, conviviality, and rehabilitation. Left to fend for themselves in these new locations and housing complexes, residents are challenged to both reproduce the level of supporting social networks and services they had in their places of origin and insert themselves in educational and labor systems of opportunity to improve their wellbeing. In addition, the forced coexistence between different socio-economic classes in the central neighborhoods does not naturally produce conviviality and instead often exacerbates distrust and class struggle, creating micro-geographies of spatial segregation and social alienation. Finally, the disruption of the urban capitalist order from above—via land and building expropriations, social housing construction and allocation, and class mixing—is insufficient to promote a more just city when unaccompanied by the assumption of anti-capitalist values and practices from below. Instead of a top-down, viviendista approach to social housing production and location, GMVV would do better focusing less on housing quantity production and instituting instead more holistic and participatory programs of context-sensitive habitat co-rehabilitation and management.

Dr. Theresa Torres

Work In Progress

The Founding of Latinx and Latin American Studies at University of Missouri-Kansas City

This article has been requested by the journal Dialogo, from DePaul University, and focuses on the important role of Latinx leadership in the development of the UMKC Latinx and Latin American Studies Program. The article includes the historical events leading up to the founding and development of the program along with interviews with some of the key participants in its founding.

Guadalupe Centers, Inc.: Leadership and Fostering a Latinx Community: 1990s-2017

This article, which is being submitted for an anthology on Latinxs in the Midwest, develops the historical setting and context that reveals the significant leadership of Guadalupe Centers for Kansas City metropolitan area. The Guadalupe Centers, Inc. (GCI) has made a lasting impact on the lives of many Latinxs and people living in poverty in the Westside of Kansas City and surrounding metropolitan areas. The purpose of the Guadalupe Center article is to document their leadership as a nonprofit agency at the local, regional, and national levels. What are the ingredients to the leadership and success of GCI from 1990 to 2015? This question is the central focus of the research and will be the based on (archival research, interviews, photographs, and videos), so that others will learn the significant elements of the long-lasting legacy of success and leadership that can be passed on from one generation to another.

Latina Leaders: The Spirituality, Resilience, and Resistance that Grounds their Leadership

This book is an on-going writing project that incorporates interviews of ten Latinas’ wisdom based on their histories of leadership and social justice commitment to empower their communities. The women were selected on the basis of their proven leadership and the respect of their communities as leaders. The timeline for this book is publication in 2018-2019.

Dr. Joseph Hartman

Work In Progress

Hartman, J.R. “Oh Capitol, My Capitol: Neoclassicism, Nationalism, and the Limits of the American Imperium in Havana, San Juan, and Manila.” Journal article manuscript.

Neoclassical formalism embodied a new U.S. dominion in the ex-colonies of Spain after the Spanish-American War of 1898. This essay will examine three works of civic architecture constructed in Manila, Havana, and San Juan, each used as seats of legislature and patronized by local civic leaders under the auspices of the United States during the 1920s. The Federal-style architecture of the Caribbean and Pacific legislative buildings activated a complicated network of reproduction and simulacrum in the island nations and the American Imperium. The Philippines’ Legislative Building, built in 1926 and formerly intended as a grand Capitol under Daniel Burnham’s unfinished 1905 plan, featured a neoclassic temple façade; Cuba’s Capitolio, unveiled in 1929, was a near-replica of the Capitol in Washington D.C.; and Puerto Rico’s Capitolio, also inaugurated in 1929, employed designs nearly identical to Cuba’s. Drawing from shared geographies and cultures, the Spanish Caribbean examples were necessarily distinct from the Legislative Building of Manila. Nonetheless, the three buildings displayed remarkable parallels in their respective histories and designs. With the support of U.S. financial and political interests, local architects trained in the United States and Europe created the design for each building (Raul Otero, Rafael Carmoega, Juan M. Arellano, among others). They employed a mixture of indigenous symbolism with “universal” signifiers of Western democracy. So too, the three buildings embodied typologies of quintessential North American Capitols, Statehouses, and Legislative Buildings, as seen in the porticos, copulas, rotundas, and symmetrical wings of legislative houses in Minnesota, Texas, and many other states. Unveiled within three years of one another under the administration of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and used variously as sites for legislation and political ceremonies: The three buildings reveal an untold history that moves beyond common narratives of monument cataloguing and Western appropriations. This paper will argue that these replications expressed a contested transnational vision of nationalism within the American Empire. Supported by local politicians as well as U.S. financial and political interests, the buildings were symbols of local sovereignty negotiated through and around longer histories of U.S. imperial hegemony and Spanish colonialism. The three “Capitols” registered the capitalist ambitions of the United States as well as Cuban, Filipino, or Puerto Rican assertions of national identity and autonomy.

Hartman, J.R. Book project: Dictator’s Dreamscape: How Architecture and Vision Built Machado’s Cuba and Invented Modern Havana. Pittsburgh, PA: The University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019.

“The Dictator’s Dreamscape examines the legacy of nation building in Cuba and its cultural stakes in a wider hemispheric and global context during the twentieth century. The book focuses on the public works program of President Gerardo Machado y Morales (in power 1925-1933). Political histories often condemn Machado as a U.S.-backed dictator, overthrown in a labor revolt and popular revolution. Architectural histories tend to catalogue his regime’s public works as derivatives of U.S. and European models. The building campaign of the machadato (Machado’s regime) has yet to be viewed within the broader cultural context of twentieth-century Cuba. This book addresses that gap by reassessing the regime’s public works program as a visual project embedded in centuries-old representations of Cuba alongside wider debates on the nature of art and architecture in general, especially in regards to globalization and the spread of U.S.-style consumerism. In this discussion, the public works of the machadato articulated a forceful and highly nuanced politics of space, vision, and cultural experience aimed at both local and foreign audiences.”



Our director, Dr. Clara Irazabál-Zurita, is the main advisor for Latinx and Latin American Studies; but you may also consult with our other professors, Dr. Theresa Torres or Dr. Joseph Hartman.

Whether you have questions related to the program, our minor, specific courses, or even about future opportunities, we are always here to help and support you in all your needs.

Our LLAS offices are located at 5120 Rockhill Road, 204 Haag Hall.

ALAS speaker Steve Ellner discusses Maduro’s Venezuela

Scofield Hall

On November 15th, during his fall speaking tour, Steve Ellner spoke on the challenges Venezuela is experiencing under President Nicolás Maduro. The event was a combined effort of The Association of Latin American Students (ALAS) worked with the Latino Alumni Student Organization (LASO). Read the full article in the University News… Continue reading


Madelina Nuñez

Madelina Nuñez graduated from the UMKC LLAS program in 2016. Since graduation, she earned her M.A. in Latin American and Latino Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently a Doctoral Fellow at Purdue University.

“The UMKC LLAS program always felt like a home away from home.  It’s where I began to truly develop my voice. I want to give back to a program and to the people that have given me so much. I can’t wait to see how the program continues to grow, and what folks continue to accomplish. To students: reach out, and know that you always have a home here.”

If anyone would like to reach out to ask any questions about what one can do after LLAS at UMKC, or would like general guidance during their time in the program, please feel free to email Madelina at

Juliana I. Ayala

Juliana I. Ayala is currently a Master of Education student in the Higher Education Management program at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Through the program, she serves as a graduate assistant for the Summer Studies Program at Carnegie Mellon University.

“The Latinx and Latin American studies minor changed my outlook on higher education and my future. Before taking LLAS classes, I had never had teachers who were Latinx or from Latin American decent, I never had syllabi that included Latinx scholars and authors. Representation matters. I learned so much about my people and I am forever grateful. Without the history and knowledge I learned about Latinx folks through this program, I would not have the outlook on life that I do now.”

“Current LLAS students, hang in there, open your minds, absorb as much as you can, educate your communities. We are all in it together.”

If you ever have any questions, or just want to say hello, please feel free to email Juliana at

Become a Student

We strongly encourage students from all fields to participate.

The curriculum serves to empower our students with the concepts and skills to better understand, value and perform in the midst of a rapidly growing and increasingly diverse Latinx population in the US.

Contact Us

Administrative Office

Program Director

Dr. Clara Irazábal-Zurita
Ph: 816-235-2541
Fx: 816-235-5542

Office Support Assistant IV

Grace Henderson
Ph: 816-235-5854
204 Haag Hall
5120 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110

UPS/FedEx deliveries

204 Haag Hall
5120 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, MO 64110-2499

Visitor Parking

On the UMKC campus map, look for yellow-metered parking.


For current courses offered by LLAS, please see Pathway

For a complete listing of all LLAS courses, please see UMKC Catalog


Current Events

Fall 2018

October 13, 2019, 4:00PM

October  11, 2019, 6:00PM


October  10, 2019, 6:00PM

Past Events

October 2, 2019, 6:30PM

September 19, 2019

Dr. Clara Irazabal talked to a group of students about “Housing Is A Right”

at UMKC in Katz Hall

September 19, 2019, 11:30AM-1:00PM

Housing Is A Right: A Case Study of Affordable Housing in Venezuela
Presenter: Dr. Clara Irazabal

Thursday, September 19th
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Katz Hall, Room 101
5005 Rockhill Road, KC MO
Lunch will be provided. Metered parking is available across the street from Katz Hall

Register Now >>>


September 17, 2019, Noon-1:30PM

September 3, 2019, Noon-1:30PM

August 27, 2019, 2:00-3:00PM

August 22, 2019, 5:00PM

June 17-19, 2020

April 29, 2019, 3-4:30PM


April 26, 2019, 6-9PM

Registration is required for everybody by Wednesday, April 24, 2019

All guests please register HERE

Graduates need to send the following to Iván at: as soon as possible but no later than Wednesday, April 24, 2019!

1)      Major(s) and minor(s), if applicable

2)      Head shot

3)      Inspirational quote (one line, can be original or authored)

4)      Would you or your parents like to talk/testimony for a minute or so? Words of encouragement?

March 20, 2019, Noon

March 18, 2019, 1:30PM

Various Dates

February 25, 2019 – March 1, 2019
Dr. Clara Irazabal presents at 2 urban planning events in Washington, DC:

  1. February 26, 2019 – The launching event for a Historic Preservation Program in Latin American and Caribbean Cities by the Inter American Development Bank
  2. March 1, 2019 – The Annual Latino Public Affairs Forum


November 15, 2018 – 6:00PM – 7:30PM
Presenting Steve Ellner
In Honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month

Steve Ellner earned his Ph.D. in Latin American History at the University of New Mexico in 1980. Since 1977, he has taught Economic History and Political Science at the Universidad de Oriente in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.  He has been a Visiting Professor in various US universities in the fields of Latin American History and Political Science. Ellner has published several books on Venezuela and Latin America and has been a regular contributor to NACLA: Report on the Americas, Commonweal, and In These Times, among others.

Location: UMKC Student Union, Theater 103
For more information contact

UMKC and community cosponsored by Latinx and Latin American Studies (LLAS) ● Architecture, Urban Planning and Design ● Political Science ● Sociology ● History ● Economics ● Latin@ Alumni and Student Organization (LASO) ● Association for Latin American Students (ALAS) ● Planning and Design Student Organization (PDS) ● the Alliance for Global Justice ● Cross Border Network ● International Relations Council.


Faculty Grants

Dr. Clara Irazábal-Zurita

Urban Community Development: A Gendered Community Capitals Framework Assessment

This is a research project that analyzes the relationship between the accumulation of communal assets and community development within the Latinx population of Wyandotte County, Kansas by adopting a Gendered Community Capitals Framework (GCCF). This framework considers natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial, and built assets (capitals). We will study the gendered nature of the accumulation or dis-accumulation of assets and the process of urban community development in Kansas City-Wyandotte County. This project is funded by a UMRB Grant. Dr. Irazábal-Zurita is the PI and Dr. Torres is the Co-PI.

Dr. Theresa Torres

NEH Arts Our Town Grant with El Centro

This grant is a second-round application in collaboration with El Centro, Kansas City, KS and local arts community. The grant will be a collaborative project with local arts communities in the Kansas City, KS community to develop arts an urban community utilizing the diversity of the local community.

Guadalupe Centers Research Project

This ongoing project is a collaborative effort with Guadalupe Centers Inc. (GCI) staff and UMKC students (who help with conducting interviews) and myself. We are developing a series of interviews both audio and video of community leaders and their connection with the center. The purpose of this research is to add to the limited research on GCI from the 1940s to the present day. The goal is to have this project completed by 2019, in time for the 100th anniversary of GCI.

Dr. Joseph Hartman

Funding for Excellence

This UMKC grant was used to help support in research, photo images, promotion, and realization of my book manuscript

University of Missouri Research Board

The University system grant was used to help in the costs of subventions for my book manuscript

The Graham Foundation

This internationally competitive grant was used for subventions, promotion, and realization of my book manuscript.


Faculty/Staff Directory

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“The end of all education… should surely be service to others.” ~Cesar E. Chavez


Postdoctoral Fellowship- Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project

The University of Houston (UH) Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (Recovery) seeks applications for a 2-year CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies to work in its international program to locate, preserve and disseminate the written legacy of Latinas and Latinos produced in the United States from colonial times until 1960. The fellowship is a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to the development of a digital humanities program using Recovery’s materials, as well as to gain skills and knowledge related to diversity and inclusion of minority collections and their preservation and dissemination using digital tools and digital humanities curation. This fellowship creates and supports opportunities to lead, engage or collaborate in workshops, seminars, presentations and publications.
Required Qualifications:

Ph.D. completed within the last five years in a relevant field.
Practical understanding of the research process and research data lifecycle.
Experience with or demonstrated knowledge of digital humanities tools and platforms in teaching or research.
Working knowledge of technical implementation of servers, software systems, etc., for the purposes of database setup and delivery.
Familiarity with markup and metadata standards associated with digital humanities projects.
Strong interest in collaborative grant writing.

For more information, please visit the following link:

KC Startup Interested in Hiring Venture Fellows

With the support of the Kauffman Foundation, Venture for America will send recent college graduates to work at high-growth startups in Kansas City. Venture for America Fellows accepted into the Class of 2017 will attend a five-week training program in June to prepare for their roles at startups. In August 2017, Venture for America Fellows matched with startups in Kansas City will begin their two-year fellowships, serving as core members at growth companies while receiving first-hand experience in building a startup and helping Kansas City entrepreneurs expand and scale.
Learn more at

Fight Against Racism Takes Up the Tools of History

The Festival of the Archers, Flanders (1493), Royal museum of fine arts, AntwerpResearchers reveal the exploitation of medieval imagery and language by white supremacists

White Nationalists and neo-Nazis have misused medieval imagery and language to support their cause. Faculty from the University of Missouri-Kansas City are working to reveal the true histories and explore the connections between contemporary issues and medieval concepts of race, gender and identity. Continue reading

First-Generation College Student Navigates College By Learning About Her Heritage

Mentor in the UMKC Avanzando program assists in journey

When Aricela Guadalupe first arrived at UMKC, she spent a lot of time thinking about her parents – would she make them proud? Would she have what it takes to succeed in college?

As a first-generation college student, she was eager to take advantage of the opportunity she’d been given. But the path to graduation seemed uncertain.

Read the full article in UMKC Today >>>


“The end of all education… should surely be service to others.” ~Cesar E. Chavez


Congressional District Office Summer Internship Program

The Summer Internship Program is an unpaid, educational opportunity for college students. Interns will gain invaluable work experience in a fast-paced, constituent-focused, and project-intensive office. Applicants should be students in good standing at a local college or university. Preference will be given to interns able to work full time over the summer.  Office hours are from 9am-5pm each day, Monday thru Friday.

Locations of Missouri 5th District Offices include: Independence, Higginsville and Kansas City

Duties include:

  • Answering Constituent Calls
  • Assist with Constituent Casework
  • Learn about the inner workings of Federal Government Agencies
  • Work on District-Based Projects
  • Research Issues
  • Attend Constituent Meetings
  • Join staff at outreach events

How to Apply:
Log-on to
Submit: Cover letter, Resume, and Writing Sample

Important Dates:
Submit applications by March 31st
Interviews will be scheduled through April
Applicants will be offered an internship before May 1st
Internship starts May 26th  (can be flexible)

Latino Heritage Internship Program

The National Park Service and Hispanic Access Foundation’s Latino Heritage Internship Program (LHIP) is designed to train young people in the skills of cultural, historical, natural resource management. The program will raise awareness of our national parks and historic sites, their accessibility and the need for the Latino community’s involvement in their preservation.

LHIP Internship is an entry internship that focuses on career exploration and building fundamental natural resource science skills. Each LHIP Intern will receive a weekly stipend of $400 based on a 40-hour workweek, plus a commuting stipend. Local or park housing and travel expenses will be provided for out-of-state students. Interns who successfully complete 640 hours of work in one or more eligible internships and are under the age of 26 will be eligible for the Public Land Corps noncompetitive hiring authority for 120 days following the completion of the internship. Successful completion of an LHIP internship does not guarantee that the participant will be hired into a federal position.
LHIP Direct Hiring Authority Resource Assistant internship (DHA-RA) is a unique internship opportunity aiming to build a pathway to employment in the Department of Interior (DOI). DHA-RA interns will apply cultural and natural resource expertise to NPS management and build a network with federal employees throughout the internship. These rigorous internships require specialized knowledge and typically are available to upper-level undergraduate students, graduate students or recent graduates. DHA-RA interns will receive a weekly stipend of $480 based on a 40-hour workweek, plus a commuting stipend. Local or park housing and travel expenses will be provided for out-of-state students. DHA-RA interns who successfully complete the internship requirements become eligible to be non-competitively hired by the DOI for two years from the date of their degree. Successful completion of the internship does not guarantee that the participant will be hired into a federal position.

LHIP DHA positions are currently being reviewed and pending approval. If you are interested in any of the tentative DHA projects listed below, please submit your application during the first week of January, and e-mail our LHIP Program Manager at

  • Basic Eligibility
  • Age 18 to 35
  • Possess US citizenship or permanent residence
  • Be enrolled in a post-secondary educational program or have graduated from college within the past year
  • Have a strong interest — or relevant experience — in areas pertaining to — but not limited to — history, historic preservation, public history, museum studies, archaeology, cultural interpretation, landscape architecture, anthropology or other related fields.
  • Bilingual skills (Spanish/English) — helpful and more needed for some positions
  • Be social media savvy!
    Apply at

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Scholars Program

The AFSCME Union Scholars Program is recruiting for the our 14th annual summer internship program. The Union Scholars Program is a 10-week summer opportunity for students of color who want to join us in working for economic and social justice. Students will be placed in the field on AFSCME organizing campaigns. They will learn the basics of one-on-one organizing conversations, building solidarity among workers, and developing leaders. The program provides housing, transportation, and a stipend of $4,000 for the summer. Students who successfully complete the program will qualify for an academic scholarship of up to $6,300 for the 2017-2018 school year.

Applicants must be college sophomores or juniors at the time of application and interview process, have a GPA of 2.5 or higher, be students of color (African-American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian American Pacific Islander, Latino/a,) have a valid driver’s license, and have a demonstrated interest in working for economic and social justice. If you have questions about the program or would like recruitment materials, please contact the Program Coordinator, Deanna Richards, at 202-429-1202 or The program is supported in part by the Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund and is a partnership with the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program.

Students who want to apply should visit and search for the Union Scholars Program. All applications are due by February 28, 2017.

LLaS Minor

Admission requirements:

• The minor is comprised of 18 credit hours.

• Students must be currently enrolled at the University of Missouri to register in the minor.

• Some courses in the minor can be taken by high school students for college credit.

• Only one course is mandatory in the minor. It is neither a prerequisite to enroll in other courses nor has a prerequisite to enroll in it: LLS 201 – Introduction to Latinx and Latin American Studies (3 credit hours).

• You don’t need any specialized knowledge of U.S. history or Latinxs. You also don’t have to be Latinx or an immigrant. All are welcome!

Interested? Here’s what to do:

1. Enroll in course LLS 201 – Introduction to Latinx and Latin American Studies (3 credit hours) during the fall or spring semester. This course is open enrollment and requires no special permission to enroll.

2. Submit an online request for Minor approval, ideally during the semester you are completing LLS 201.

3. Once registered in the Minor, continue to take the required credit units for completion, selecting from the courses below.

Meet Our Students

Drew Cox

Drew Cox

“I am a Junior majoring in Biology, Spanish, and Chemistry. I was raised in Joplin, MO but I enjoy exploring Kansas City! As a pre-med student, I am pursing a minor in Latinx and Latin American studies because I would like to increase my knowledge of the Latinx population and be able to attend to the health needs that are unique to this population. Also, I have enjoyed taking LLAS courses offered at UMKC. A fun fact about myself is that I studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina for six weeks last summer.”

Alicia Rodriguez- Montanez

“I am currently pursuing a degree in Secondary Education in Spanish (K-12) and a minor in Latinx and Latin American Studies at UMKC. I am a Senior in the process of applying to the Professional Teaching program to receive my teaching certification. I was born and raised in a small town in Michoacan, Mexico called Tangancicuaro and in 2004, I moved to the United States. I lived in California in a town called Delano and a year later moved to Kansas City. I received an Associate degree in Science from Donnelly College. The reason why I decided to work towards a minor in LLAS is because I want to learn about my culture and be able to pass on that knowledge to my students in my future classrooms. The program also gave the opportunity to conduct research on folkloric beliefs of the Mexican community about pregnancy and postpartum. Such experience has granted me with new skills and knowledge that will be beneficial for my future career as a foreign language instructor. My interests are primarily school and learning new things. Also, I enjoy traveling an getting to meet new people and cultures as a way to learn to embrace diversity, specially as a future teacher who will be interacting with students from all around the world.”

Vianney Salazar

“I am a senior majoring in Urban Studies, I will be graduating this summer. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri and have always resided on the Westside, a community that has always served its Latino residents. Being a part of a community who goes above and beyond for their Latino and immigrant residents by providing basic resources and education centers is what helped me decide to minor in Latinx and Latin American Studies. I hope to get a better understanding of Hispanics and their ancestry in the United States so that I can better help Latinos (immigrants and non-immigrants). Some of my interests are spending time with family, playing sports, helping others, volunteering, and traveling.”

Jose Sustaita

“I am a senior working on finishing up my Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts. I am a fulltime student and I also have been working fulltime as a Union Electrician for the past 23 years. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas and have lived on both sides of the state line. Music has been my passion since I was very young and I am in a local band called Trio Aztlán. I decided to minor in LLAS because I want to learn more about my culture, past and present.”



Post-Doctoral Pipeline Program for STEM Faculty of Color

The LLAS program is involved in one of the 7 projects winning final approval and funding in the first year of the Provost’s Strategic Funding Initiative
Developed by the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Biological Sciences; the School of Computing and Engineering; the School of Graduate Studies; the Black Studies Program and the Latino/Latina Studies Program.
This is a two-year pilot pipeline program designed to add diversity to the faculty and leadership positions in the STEM disciplines. A cohort of three post-doctoral research fellows, selected via a national search, will be actively mentored by senior faculty and supported by programming offered through the Black Studies and Latino/Latina Studies programs. Fellows will engage in research and teaching activities in the natural and physical sciences divisions of the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Biological Sciences; and the School of Computing and Engineering; and complete a graduate certificate in College Teaching and Career Preparation through the School of Graduate Studies.

Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) Initiative

Developed by the College of Arts and Sciences; the School of Computing and Engineering; the School of Biological Sciences and the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
The program builds on previous collaborative efforts to support women in STEM fields at UMKC, with the addition of an arts focus. The initiative is based on findings that female students develop spatial abilities differently than males, and because arts already have a high female representation, bringing the arts into STEM initiatives fosters that connection for female students. Activities include on-campus events, student organizations and off-campus arts explorations.


Through the partnership with Avanzando, LLAS supports successful transitions of students into graduate school and/or career positions.
Implemented in August 2011, the Avanzando program is designed to support Hispanic Development Fund’s (HDF) Scholarship recipients at UMKC in their academic and career pursuits. Goals include: Increasing scholar retention, improving graduation rates, and assuring successful transitions of students into graduate school and/or career positions. Program components included individualized academic support, mentoring and enhanced access to campus and community resources.
Every Avanzando scholar receives individual support from the program director and D&E staff. Scholars are also matched with a UMKC faculty or staff member and/or a Latin@ professional or business owner. Mentors listen, provide guidance, support, and create access to essential campus and community resources. Mentors also support scholars in maintaining their Latin@ identity and in recognizing their unique strengths and attributes. Avanzando fosters opportunities for Latina/Latino students to connect with each other and engage in research and community service.
The Avanzando Program is located in the Division of Diversity, Access and Equity Office, 359 Administrative CenterContact
Marji Datwyler Project Director, at


Our program director, Dr. Clara Irazabal-Zurita, is the advisor for this student organization. Together with LASO, our program wants to provide new opportunities, mentorship and resources for Latinxs and non-Latinx students interested in Latinx and Latin American Studies.
LASO’s main goal is to build a community at UMKC and help students achieve their educational goals. LASO collaborates with LLAS in its mission to provide awareness of Latinx issues at UMKC.

Helpful Resources for Hispanic and Latinx Students


Program Information

The Latinx and Latin American Studies Program (LLAS) wants to be a prominent reference for social justice teaching, research, service, and advocacy related to Latinxs in the Midwest and the U.S., Latin Americans, and the diaspora around the world.

Our program provides awareness and understanding of the wide diversity of Latinx communities, cultures, and backgrounds.

We are a vehicle for multidisciplinary teaching, research, and outreach focusing on Latinxs.

The program includes individualized academic support, mentoring, and enhanced access to campus and community resources.


Besides teaching, all our Faculty are involved in several research projects.

Learn more about Academic Projects

Learn more about our Faculty Grants


Student Opportunities

Besides our courses, there are numerous opportunities for our students outside the classroom as well.

Our internships and fellowships across our community immerse students into real life experiences that grow necessary leadership skills and abilities.

They also help boost their resumes and portfolios.

Why a LLAS Minor

Did you know that…

  • At the end of this century, the majority of people in the US will trace their family origins to Latin America instead of Europe?
  • Latinxs are currently contributing over 80% of the growth of the population in the state of Missouri and over 60% of the growth in the state of Kansas?
  • Given those demographic trends, you’d make yourself more professionally effective and competitive—whatever your race, ethnicity or major may be—if you learn about Latin America and Latinxs in the US?

For an overview of the LLAS Minor, please see the UMKC Catalog