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Major Moment: Economics and Latin American Studies with Emma Carney '25

Hometown: Davis, CA
"I didn’t know that I would be majoring in Latin American Studies when I came to Bryn Mawr, it was an interest that emerged organically over time."

"I didn’t know that I would be majoring in Latin American Studies when I came to Bryn Mawr, it was an interest that emerged organically over time."

Originally from Northern California, Emma Carney ‘25 is an Economics and Latin American Studies double major, which she created through Bryn Mawr’s Independent Major Program. On campus, she works in the Admissions Office and the Career and Civic Engagement Center. Outside of the classroom, she runs for the Bryn Mawr Cross Country team and plays for the Lame Ducks Ice Hockey Club. Here, she tells us more about her academic journey. 

How have the classes you’ve taken at BMC either confirmed your interest in the major or surprised you with a new interest? 

Coming to Bryn Mawr, I knew I wanted to study Economics, especially since it’s a field that allows you to study key social and political issues through a quantitative scientific lens. Through taking courses at Bryn Mawr such as Econometrics, Social Policy Economics, and Rural and Agricultural Development Economics, I learned how different econometric research strategies can be used to better understand and measure the impacts of public policy and international development policy. Through these research methods, economists can evaluate, critique, and improve policy implementation which allows policymakers and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) to make informed decisions that can materially improve the lives of the populations they serve. I’ve really enjoyed furthering my research skills and knowledge in these areas, which has confirmed for me that I made the right choice in choosing Economics as my major. 

Contrastingly, I didn’t know that I would be majoring in Latin American Studies when I came to Bryn Mawr, it was an interest that emerged organically over time. I attended a Spanish immersion school from kindergarten through 8th grade, so Latinx/Latine language, culture, and politics were always a major part of my upbringing and educational background. In college, many of my childhood friends became Spanish majors and minors, but I was more interested in focusing on the political and cultural areas of study. Through taking courses such as Environmental Justice in Latin America, Comparative Politics in Latin America, and Migrant Communities in Philadelphia, I had the opportunity to expand my knowledge and meet wonderful professors who encouraged my interest in Latin American Studies and supported me throughout the independent major application process. 

Favorite class you’ve taken for your majors? 

One of my all-time favorite classes I’ve taken at Bryn Mawr was Migrant Communities in Philly. This course was part of the Tri-Co Philly Program, so it had lots of great experiential learning opportunities and field trips to different places in Philadelphia including a guided tour of the Museum of Italian American Immigration, participating in a Día de los Muertos procession, and joining a potluck at a community garden in North Philly. After the potluck, the professor for the course was so kind to pack up some leftovers and send them home with me in her own tupperware. Even though this took place over a year ago, her warmth and generosity has really stuck with me. Additionally, it was such a wonderful experience to learn more about Philadelphia through these field trips and connections with Philly residents, which makes me so grateful to learn from professors who have such strong ties to the city. 

What experiential learning opportunities have you had connected to your academic interests? 

The summer in between my freshman and sophomore year at Bryn Mawr, I worked as a research intern for Casa Refugiados in Mexico City. This internship taught me about the drivers of migration and forced displacement and allowed me to hone my research skills by conducting a research project on the effects of U.S. gun regulations on gun violence in Mexico. Reading, writing, and working in my second language and in a new city was a hugely formative experience that helped me grow as an individual and as a student. Plus, the whole experience was funded by the Haverford College Center for Peace and Global Citizenship which was a huge bonus! 

What advice would you give to a student on the process of declaring a major?  

I would encourage them to reach out to professors in their department of interest to seek advice. Most professors that I’ve met so far are eager to work with students and really want to support them so that they can make the most of their time at Bryn Mawr. I’ve received so much great advice from faculty members here just by visiting their office hours! Additionally, if you’re unsure of what it will be like to declare your major, go talk to juniors and seniors in that department, they will likely be happy to share their experiences with you and can walk you through the process of declaring and writing a thesis within that department. 

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