Senior learns Cuban history on the spot
Steven Garza ’13 hasn’t let the boundaries of one campus, nor its curriculum, limit his educational adventures. The international studies and political science major has embraced a variety of learning opportunities during his time at St. Norbert, including a J-term course this year to study Cuban history – in Cuba.
Garza learned of the course offering through Marti Lamar (History). Lamar’s letter of recommendation helped Garza secure a spot in the two-week January class sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. “Dr. Lamar was the reason I did this trip,” states Garza, whose region of study is Latin America. “She’s very inspirational. She motivates her students and makes her classes very interesting. Every professor I’ve ever had here has been 100 percent supportive of me.”
Garza, who has a Mexican-American heritage, developed a particular interest in Cuban-American relations through his Latin American focus within International Studies. “I think Cuba is one of the most interesting international relations that we have today,” he says. “We maintain a Cold War policy toward Cuba, yet the Cold War has been over for 20 years. The names Fidel Castro and Cuba stir a lot of emotions. Where is our relationship going with Cuba, and why has there not been a policy change yet? Those are questions that are interesting to ask.”
Garza previously lived with a Cuban immigrant family in Ecuador during a study-abroad program in the spring of 2012 – a chance to fulfill his goal of learning a third language, Portuguese. A second semester-away program took Garza to Washington, D.C. – good groundwork for a student who hopes to work for the State Department at some point in his career.
Education is very important to the Garza family, an emphasis led by Steven’s father, who attended college in Texas on the GI Bill after serving in Vietnam. “From day one, I set out to throw my hat into every application and every opportunity,” Steven says. “At St. Norbert, you get a lot of support for every adventure you want to undertake. If what you’re looking for isn’t on campus, they will help you find it somewhere else, and this is a prime example.”
March 27, 2013