BSP Alumni Q&A – Beth Lowry

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Hometown: Portland, Maine

School: Kenyon College

BSP Year: Spring 2011

          What role did the Border Studies Program play in your undergraduate education?

I cannot overstate the role that BSP played in enabling me to engage more fully with my undergraduate experience. My time on the border contextualized and brought to life the issues to which I feel I had previously been only superficially exposed. I learned how to ask difficult questions, both inside the classroom and out, and to not settle for easy answers.

         What have you been up to post-graduation and how did the BSP help prepare you for these experiences?

BSP left me with too many pressing questions in my head to stay away from the borderlands. I explored a different border reality in El Paso, TX as a year-long volunteer at Annunciation House before finding my way back to Tucson. Here, I’ve accompanied Central American migrant families as part of the Casa Mariposa community, and I’m currently working as a legal assistant with the Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project. I am profoundly grateful to BSP for introducing me a community of people who are working tirelessly to confront unjust structure and policy, and for empowering me with the tools to grapple with my own role within this chaotic landscape.

         Is there anything in particular you would like to share with undergraduate students considering the Border Studies Program?

Border Studies provides its students with the opportunity to connect and relate on a human level to issues that I would have otherwise caused me to throw my hands up fatalistically. Choosing to participate in this program necessitates a willingness to consider oneself in relation to oppression and injustice, and to be bold enough to act upon what you discover. Because of the support and guidance that I have received from BSP mentors and peers alike, I have grown not only as a student, but holistically as a young person navigating my relationship to the complexities of engaging with social justice.

         Now you’ve spent a couple of years in the Borderlands, what’s your favorite thing about this region?

The connection I feel to other border-dwellers and the opportunity to learn from those around me. To live in the borderlands is to constantly be inspired by the resilience and grit of the human spirit. Also, the availability of Sonoran hot dogs and mangonadas.

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