Name: Andrea Lara-Garcia
Major(s): Urban and Regional Development & Political Science
Minor: Latin American Studies & Spanish
Year in school: Senior
Hometown: Tempe, AZ
Clubs/Organizations: Arizona Model United Nations, Five Star Faculty Award Committee
Leisure Pursuits: Southern Arizona has some of the most beautiful natural spaces in the world, so I love to hike, camp, and go on long walks when the weather is good! Pre-COVID, I also loved visiting Arizona's small towns and learning about their history. In my free time, you can also find me baking bread, trying out new recipes, and reading on my front porch.
Research Projects: I have been working as a research intern on the University of Arizona's Manufactured Housing Project for the past year! Thanks to the excellent guidance provided by my faculty mentors, Dr. Mark Kear and Dr. Margaret Wilder, I have learned so much about the local housing and urban development environment here in Tucson, as well as what it means to do community-facing research. I also had the opportunity to develop a spin-off project on tax lien sales thanks to the support of the UA's A.W.A.R.D.S.S program, which provides support from undergraduates from underrepresented groups. I will be presenting my findings at the American Association of Geographer's annual conference in March!
Plans after graduation: I'm keeping my options open! I've applied to some graduate school programs, a couple of year-long fellowships in Washington D.C., and will start looking for jobs soon as well. If nothing else, the pandemic has taught me that flexibility is crucial when it comes to thinking about post-undergraduate life! In the long term, I hope to return to the University of Arizona as a professor and give back to this community that has helped me learn so much about myself and the world.
What has been your favorite Honors course or experience that you have been involved with?
I did the Honors First-Year Project my freshman year, and it got me hooked on doing independent research. My project was on the underrepresentation of women and people of color in symphony orchestras, and it was such an empowering experience to be able to talk to musicians and music teachers across Arizona and learn about how their experiences with discrimination impacted their artistry. Plus, as a former violist myself, it was validating to hear that I wasn't alone!
What is something you have done during your time at UA of which you are especially proud?
This year I'm serving as the Secretary General of Arizona Model United Nations, a club on campus that hosts the only bilingual, binational high school Model United Nations conference in the United States. While it has certainly been challenging to figure out how to navigate moving all our operations online while providing the same quality of programming that we are used to, I am beyond impressed by the adaptability of both our general club membership and our leadership team. I've never been prouder to be a MUNer!
What message do you have for other Honors students on finding their own success?
Don't forget that there's a whole world to explore beyond the UA's campus! While there are many wonderful opportunities on campus, I think that my greatest moments of learning have come from stepping off campus and getting involved in the greater Southern Arizona community. All the lessons I was learning in my political science and geography classes made much more sense once I started getting involved with community organizations like Living United for Change in Arizona, the Barrio Neighborhood Coalition, and the Pima County Community Land Trust. You can make such a difference as an honors student if you reach outside of your comfort zone!
"Andrea exemplifies the drive, ambition, and service typical of a high-achieving Honors student, and thus deserves recognition. She is directly involved in the community of Tucson through her research in manufactured housing, wherein she helps educate tenants of their rights and avenues of legal recourse. Meanwhile, she is also the Secretary-General (President) of the Model United Nations on campus, which is one of the largest and most prestigious organizations recognized by ASUA. In this club, she has instituted scholarships for delegates in financial need so they may be able to attend conferences for professional development. She also has been very successful in steering this club through this difficult time wrought by the pandemic. Finally, she has an extremely inquisitive mindset and is very eclectic in terms of her research interests. She conducted original research on climate change and migration while in her study abroad to Guatemala, which will be abridged in her forthcoming Honors Thesis. Personally, I know that she is a hardworking student that never backs down in the face of adversity. This is why I believe she deserves to be recognized in the Honors Student Spotlight."
– Mohammad Khan, Classmate
To nominate a peer for Student of the Month, please click HERE and complete the submission form. All nominations are subject to Honors College faculty review, approval, and editing for publication.