A Strong Sense of Community and Enriching Opportunities in the Latin American Studies Program

Kayla Marra
MA ’20
Latin American Studies
Recipient of the Riordan Roett Fellowship

As a trained scientist, Kayla Marra was drawn to Johns Hopkins SAIS for its academic rigor in quantitative studies. She knew the school was unique in its ability to provide a platform for her data-driven approach to learning. Additionally, the opportunity to study in an international hub like Washington, DC was a major plus.

Prior to graduate school, Kayla worked in cancer research at Dartmouth College with a drive to understand global health in a deeper capacity. During her travels to Honduras to assist with cancer screening, she was overwhelmed with an immense need to address the root causes of health inequality. Her interest in the history, structure, and political economies of developing nations was a significant factor in her decision to declare the Latin American Studies program as her concentration.

In addition to receiving the Riordan Roett Fellowship, Kayla has organized and participated in the school’s delegation to American University’s 2018 Model G20 Summit, representing Brazil, where she received the award for best delegation. Her academic achievements are a testament to her work dedication both on and off campus.

So far, Kayla feels that the Latin American Studies program has far exceeded her expectations. Access to individualized career coaching and internship placement as well as a tight-knit community within her program makes her feel well-supported. The diversity of her classmates also adds a third-dimensional angle to the country case studies discussed in class. Kayla appreciates that there are students who can offer real-world insight that isn’t always found in textbooks.

While she is still exploring options for post-graduate opportunities, she sees herself working in policy research or for a non-governmental organization and leveraging her research skills to analyze data and trends to find policy solutions in creative ways. She hopes to do impactful work that’ll one day contribute to equitable access to healthcare.