Davidson Bonner Serves in Dominican Republic

The Princeton in Latin American Fellowship connects recent college graduates with one-year, service-oriented positions at nonprofit and community-based service organizations in Latin America. The fellowship is designed to promote education, leadership, and engagement within communities all throughout Latin America. Elizabeth Prosser, a current Princeton in Latin America Fellow based in the Dominican Republic, shared her experience in the program and gives some application tips.

1. What inspired you to apply for the Princeton in Latin America Fellowship?

Elizabeth (second row, third from left) enjoying a visit from the Patrick Healy Fellows at Georgetown University

I think I first learned about Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) during my sophomore year at Davidson College, where I was a Hispanic Studies major. I looked for opportunities to use my Spanish outside of the classroom, usually in the context of education.  This often overlapped with my work through the Bonner Scholarship program, a service and leadership scholarship that required a minimum number of community service hours each semester and summer. For example, I taught a weekly Spanish class at the local elementary school, designed a Spanish language and culture class while teaching at the East Harlem School in New York City, and worked as a Curriculum Development Intern at the Centro Hispano Marista in Atlanta, an organization that helps Latinx adults get their G.E.Ds.  During my junior year, I studied abroad in Arequipa, Peru and visited Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina during that semester. I love Latin America and knew that I wanted to spend more time living there.

Elizabeth (left) and Mia, another Yspaniola Princeton in Latin America Fellow, at an event commemorating the Masacre de Perejil

Princeton in Latin America seemed to be the perfect intersection of my interests: Latin America, Spanish, service, and potentially education. When I had my PiLA interview, I explained that I was specifically interested in being partnered with an organization focused on education where I would be able to work with youth and children. I interviewed with a few partner organizations and ultimately accepted a position with Yspaniola, a nonprofit organization that does literacy work in the Dominican Republic. I had never visited the Dominican Republic or even the Caribbean before. I was excited to learn about a new region of Latin America because I had mainly spent time in South America, and PiLA had listened to me when I requested to work in the field of education. Although I had spent time volunteering and interning with nonprofit organizations in the past, I wanted to spend a longer period of time working within one organization. I knew that I would be challenged by working at a small nonprofit and that I would learn new skills working as their Operations and Development Fellow.

Read full interview here.

Elizabeth Prosser recently graduated from Davidson College with a B.A. in Hispanic Studies with a minor in Francophone Studies.  Over the course of her college career, she held multiple internships and service positions aligning with her passions for education reform, nonprofit work, Spanish, and international relations. She now explores her love for these subjects through a Princeton in Latin America Fellowship, working as the Operations and Development Fellow at Yspaniola, an education-based nonprofit in the Dominican Republic. Afterwards, she will pursue a Master’s in Latin American Studies at Stanford University in order to gain a more holistic understanding of Latin America and its history, culture, and challenges.