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TAMIU Political Science Student Zapata Presents at National Conference
Posted:5/14/15

TAMIU Political Science Graduate Student
Zapata Presents at National Conference

Nestled within the Texas A&M International University College of Arts and Sciences Department of Social Sciences and Department of Humanities is the Master’s Program in History and Political Thought. The Program is smaller than other program siblings, but these budding political scientists are starting to make an impact.

Lorena Zapata

Texas A&M International University graduate student Lorena Zapata (BA, ’14) presented her original research at the Midwest Political Science Conference in Chicago.

Graduate student Lorena Zapata (BA, ’14) recently presented her original research at the Midwest Political Science Conference in Chicago recently.

Zapata presented “The Political Trajectory of Simón Bolivar from Liberator to Tyrant.”

“I had a great time presenting in Chicago and interacting with fellow political science majors,” Zapata said.

She made the trip along with her research advisor, Dr. Alia Paroo, TAMIU assistant professor of history.

Zapata’s research focused on Bolivar’s trajectory over time and analyzed whether or not Bolivar possessed tyrannical ideals that affected his politics later in life.

“Taking into consideration changes in Bolivar’s political philosophy over time, my research focused on whether or not Bolivar was a despot; what led him to change from a young idealist into an autocrat; to what degree did he actually become a tyrant. I found that Bolivar was an effective military leader and that Latin America would not be what it is today without him,” Zapata explained.

“It is important to remember Bolivar for his early idealism and for liberating South America from Spain, but one should not ignore his failures as a political leader and the impact he had on the region’s future even though he initially strived for the establishment of a liberal republic,” she added.

Zapata, who wrote her undergraduate honors thesis about Latin America, participated in the Harvard College Initiative for Latin American Relations last Fall.

Dr. Mark Menaldo, director, History and Political Thought Program, encouraged Zapata to present at the Midwest Political Science Conference.

“Lorena’s research is an example of the unique cross-disciplinary approach that the Master’s Program encourages its students to adopt,” said Dr. Menaldo.  

“The best memory about this trip was getting to know students who had similar interests as mine. For example, I met a student who was interested in gender inequality and poverty in Latin America. That was so captivating,” Zapata said.

She encourages other students to apply to the Conference in the future.

“It is a great opportunity to meet individuals and learn from them,” Zapata said.

“I would like to thank Dr. Menaldo for encouraging me to apply, Dr. Paroo and Dr. Aaron Olivas for being my advisors for my research, and Dean Tom Mitchell and the College of Arts and Sciences for making it all possible,” she said.

For more information, contact Menaldo at mark.menaldo@tamiu.edu or 326.2651 or visit offices in Dr. F.M. Canseco Hall, room 313A.

University office hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu