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Child of Immigrants Researches Indigeneity


As she completes the finishing touches on her honors thesis, Diana Hernandez remarks: “It’s the first big paper that I’ve ever done like this. And it was a really incredible experience!”

URECA student Diana Hernandez ’17

On track to graduate with honors in Comparative Literature in May 2017, Diana is completing an honors thesis that focuses on a 1933 work written by Salvadoran author Salarrué called Cuentos de Barro (Tales of Clay), a collection of folktales about the everyday lives of El Savador’s “campesinos” or impoverished farmers. Working under the mentorship of Professor Timothy August of the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, Diana examines the language and the ways the book reproduces themes of colonization and stereotypes of indigeneity.

Diana also got helpful advice from Professor Paul Firbas of the Hispanic Language and Literature Department, her instructor for Introduction to Latin American Literature and Culture. She plans to present her thesis project in April at her department’s spring colloquium; and at the upcoming URECA undergraduate research symposium.

As the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, Diana found her project to be personally meaningful as well as great preparation for graduate school.

“A thesis project really tests your resolve and your determination to explore your ideas,” Diana said. “I’ve learned a lot about how I pace myself.”

“I wake up every morning thinking to myself ‘this is what I have to do.’ It’s a priority in my life. I’ve really proven to myself that this is something that I want to do and I can continue doing. And just in general, writing something of this length is just incredible practice and preparation for grad school.”

Diana graduated from Brentwood High School, and earned an Associate of Arts degree in Creative Writing in December 2014 from Suffolk County Community College prior to transferring to Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, Diana has served as a Teaching Assistant for Comparative Literature 301: Theory of Literature.  She plans to pursue graduate study in either Spanish literature or Comparative Literature. Diana’s hobbies include: creative writing (including writing blogs, co-founding an interactive site where students can talk about their experiences with discrimination, sexism, or prejudice of any kind).

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