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2018 Student Speaker and Outstanding Senior

Brisa Zavala
Honors at Graduation
2018 Convocation Speaker

Chemist, researcher, and most fluent non-native speaker of Nahuatl in the U.S., Brisa is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in Latin American studies and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. Her combined passions for medical research and indigenous language study led Brisa on remarkable journeys to La Huasteca, Mexico, where her interviews with native Nahuatl communities identified similarities between the active compounds in plants used to treat nemauhtilli and those found in drugs used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. After graduation, Brisa will pursue advanced degrees in medical anthropology and continue working to preserve knowledge and use of plants to treat illnesses in indigenous communities.

Nicolas Contreras
Outstanding Senior

Wordsmith, activist, and scholar, Nic is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in writing and rhetoric studies. As a Writing Studies Scholar, he maximized his transfer experience cultivating an interinstitutional writing ecology of shared teaching and research between SLCC and U teachers and students. Committed to amplifying the voices of others, Nic’s research on structural racism and the rhetorics of food trucks opened a campus dialogue around the racialized representations of Mexicans, gun violence, drug cartels, and tacos that cast food trucks in a new light. After graduation, Nic plans to take his commitment to socially just contexts for composition and apply it to the real world and to his own writing.

Last Updated: 6/1/21