What's in your Backpack?

“A book of indigenous poetry,” said Sandra Sanchez, a senior majoring in history and East Asian languages and cultures and minoring in Indigenous Studies. Sanchez read Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas during her sophomore year for her Indigenous Literatures of Latin America course. “It is reflective of my multifaceted identity — in language and culture — as well as my academic pathway,” she said. 

Sanchez immigrated to the United States from Guatemala as a young child, which sparked her interest in studying immigration. Learning languages and cultures helped her to understand the varied experiences of immigrants, while also navigating her own varied identities. 

“For me, [Sing] connects me to my past through language and land, and signaled to me that I should be self-situated and reflective in my academic pursuits,” she said.

During her time at KU, Sanchez has studied abroad in Beijing, visited Yellowstone through the University Scholars Program and interned at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. While at the Smithsonian, she was able to connect with visitors with an “immigration cart,” which displayed items that were brought from Latin America and told stories of the history of immigration in the U.S. 

Sanchez plans to earn a doctorate in history and to then become a professor — goals that she says wouldn’t be possible without the scholarship support she has received thus far.

“I don’t know what I would have done without them, so I am really grateful for scholarships, as they remind me that everything I do is reflective of all those who have stood beside and helped me,” she said.

VICTORIA SICKINGER