Each year, the Latin American and Latino Studies Steering Committee awards one graduating senior with the Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies. Recipients of the award are deemed by the Committee as having demonstrated superior knowledge and performance in coursework and research.
Past recipients of the award are listed below.
Bennett Vieira Hene (’16)
Bennett, originally from Louisville, Kentucky, received the 2016 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies. He graduated with a major in Anthropology and minors in Spanish and Latin American and Latino Studies among the top 1% of his class. During his time at Wake Forest, he was involved in numerous projects, such as the Mayor’s Poverty Thought Force, Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Family and Community Medicine, and the Department of Anthropology. At all times he kept involved with the Latino community through his research and his studies, here on campus and abroad (Ecuador, Argentina, and Chile), working as a seasonal farm hand and serving as an elementary and ESL tutor at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Center. Among the awards he received are the Reynolds/Carswell Undergraduate Research Grant, and the Anthropology Department “Bagel Fund” Grant.
David Anadi Banerjea (’13)
A native of Boston, Massachusetts, David Banerjea received the 2013 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies. David majored in Political Science with a double minor in Latin American and Latinos Studies and Economics. David spent a semester studying in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile as a part of the inaugural Southern Cone program. In Chile he conducted research on political exiles and returnees under the Pinochet government and interned with the Fulbright Commission Chile. At Wake, he served as a research assistant for a Political Science professor where he conducted research on populism and its various currents in Latin America. David also interned briefly with the office of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Massachusetts Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. Upon graduation David will continued his studies at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service where he is pursuing a Master’s in Latin American Studies.
Avery Lord (’12)
Avery Lord, originally from Canton, Connecticut, received the 2012 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies. Avery majored in Political Science with a double minor in Latin American and Latino Studies and Spanish. While at Wake Forest, Avery worked with the local immigrant community, serving as an intern at El Buen Pastor Latino Community Services and as a Vocational English Instructor at World Relief, a refugee resettlement organization. After graduation Avery moved to Washington, DC where she works as the Executive Assistant at Voto Latino, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that works to empower Latino Millennials through voter registration and advocacy work for issues such as immigration reform, healthcare reform, and voting rights.
Carey Alice Carpenter (’11)
Carey Alice Carpenter was selected as the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies as well as of the 2011 C.H. Richards Award for Excellence in Political Science. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Carpenter double majored in Political Science and Spanish and minored in Latin American and Latino Studies. Before and during college, Carey’s passion for Latin America was the impetus behind several study abroad / research trips to the Southern Cone Region, specifically Argentina and Brazil. Carpenter interned briefly with the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and with the office of North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, a Wake Forest alumni, on Capitol Hill. Immediately after graduation, Carey spent several years with Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Practice based in Washington, DC, where her clients included the World Bank Group and USAID. Notably, Carey’s Portuguese studies – which she completed as part of her LALS minor – earned her the opportunity to support an overseas Deloitte/USAID project in Mozambique which, like Brazil, is a former Portuguese colony. In Mozambique, Carey caught the “Africa bug” and has since joined a fast-growing, health-focused and entrepreneur-led social enterprise called Living Goods. As part of the Living Goods Partnerships Team, Carey is based full-time in Kampala, Uganda (East Africa) with frequent travel to support replication of the Living Goods model in new geographies.
Melissa Velarde (’10)
Melissa Velarde was chosen as the recipient of the 2010 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and majored in History with a double minor in Latin American and Latino Studies and Sociology. Melissa was the President of the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) and was a freshmen mentor for the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Multicultural Enrichment program which pairs incoming minority students with an upperclass student as part of the freshmen orientation experience. During her time at Wake, Velarde also received a Carswell Summer Grant that allowed her to travel to the Library of Congress, the Oscar Lewis Archives at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, and the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas to help her write her honors thesis on Oscar Lewis’ culture of poverty theory and how it was misapplied during America’s War on Poverty. For this honors thesis, Melissa received the 2010 Chilton Pearson Research Prize in United States History. At Wake, she also worked as a research assistant for a Romance language professor and helped edit a professor’s book on Central American national identity
Jessica Stone (’09)
Jessica Stone, the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Senior Award in Latin American and Latino Studies, graduated Phi Betta Kappa with a Bachelor’s in Political Science, Latin American and Latino Studies, and Global Trade and Commerce Studies. A native of Miami, Florida, Stone held numerous internship positions with the election campaign and office of Florida Senator Bill Nelson. She also worked briefly in the office of Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Shultz and on the campaign of North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan. As an undergraduate student, Carpenter was actively involved in the university’s Student Government, serving as an Aide in the office of the university’s President. She was also selected to be the recipient of the 2009 Outstanding Senior Award in Global Trade and Commerce Studies.