Jeremi Poindexter (left) and Omar Duran with their awards for excellence.

Latin American studies

Two UD students honored by Pan American Association of Philadelphia

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11:50 a.m., May 9, 2013--The Greater Philadelphia Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs (GPCLASP) annually asks affiliated colleges with a Latin American Studies Program to nominate one student for each of their prestigious award categories. This year, two outstanding University of Delaware students, Omar Duran and Jeremi Poindexter, received awards.

Duran, a junior from Wilmington, Del., who majors in art history and Spanish with a minor in Latin American and Iberian Studies, received the Pan American Association of Philadelphia's Alejandro Reyes Scholarship award. The award, given to a junior with a proven record of academic excellence and Latin American community involvement, recognizes Duran’s hard work and dedication in his field. 

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“It’s gratifying to be recognized for working hard and doing what you care about, and this scholarship will help me to achieve more goals,” Duran remarked.

Poindexter, an Honors Program student and triple major from Newark, Del., studying art history, Spanish and Latin American and Iberian Studies, received a Janice Bond Award plaque from the Pan American Association, also signifying distinguished excellence in Latin American studies and community efforts as a graduating senior. 

“I was excited and surprised to be chosen out of everyone involved in Latin American studies at UD. It’s a nice feeling to know they thought of me first for such an honor,” Poindexter said.

“They are exceptional students,” Monica Dominguez Torres, who nominated both students, said. “It was a no-brainer, and I think Omar and Remi’s dedication really got the attention of the judges.”

Dominguez Torres, associate professor in the Department of Art History, taught multiple classes in which Poindexter and Duran were enrolled, sometimes at the same time. She recalls that Poindexter demonstrated an exceptional interest and perseverance in researching Zumbi dos Palmares, a famous 17th-century Afro-Brazilian warrior for whom sources were in Portuguese and limited in number. 

Fluent in both French and Spanish, Poindexter is interested in attending graduate school and traveling to Latin America to experience the culture and art firsthand. 

Duran immediately stood out to Dominguez Torres, as well.

“Omar constantly shone with his insightful comments in class. For my seminar ‘Art and Warfare in Latin America’ he conducted research on a number of performance pieces by the Guatemalan artist Regina José Galindo, denouncing the brutal violence against women that occurred in Guatemala during the decades of civil war and military dictatorship,” Dominguez Torres explained.

As the first in his family to attend college, Duran said he hopes to earn his doctorate and was accepted into the McNair Scholars Program in 2012. He plans to pursue a professorship at a university, specializing in Latin American art and culture.

Both students were honored at an awards ceremony in Philadelphia on April 24, during which they met with Carmen Lomellin, U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS is a government organization dedicated to promoting peace, democracy and cultural diplomacy.

Article by Sarah E. Meadows

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