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Meet Milan Suárez: Hellmann Scholar 2023-24

May 28, 2024

In this Q&A, we speak with Milan Hortencia Suárez, a senior majoring in Global and Regional Studies, who was selected as a 2023-2024 recipient of the Donald C. and Margery S. Hellmann Scholarship award.

Unique to the Jackson School, the award provides a $5,000 stipend to support the education and training of a Jackson School undergraduate major with demonstrated excellence in international studies, clear interest in a career in international affairs, and with a strong and creative commitment to promoting the international public good.

Milan Hortencia Suárez headshot in graduation cap and stole

Milan Hortencia Suárez ’24

Name: Milan Hortencia Suárez
Degree: B.A. Global & Regional Studies
Expected to graduate in: June 2024
Hometown: San Mateo, California

How did you choose UW?
I appreciated the student body’s values the most when choosing to attend the University. The emphasis on reform through holistic education makes me proud to be a student here. I also admire the important research done by the College of Arts & Sciences at UW.

Why major at the Jackson School?
I was weighing programs similar to the Global and Regional Studies major with courses that coincided with my interests in non-profit work for Latin America and Indigenous peoples. The department’s curriculum quickly introduced me to a wide thematic selection. The school’s rigorous courses and interesting topics allowed me to learn about more subjects than I thought would be available in a program.

Tell us about your reaction on becoming a Hellmann Scholar.
I was excited to be chosen as the 2023-2024 recipient, it made me feel like the work I have done since I applied for the award was worth the effort. To be recognized was special since I’ve never had the opportunity to receive such a distinction.

Tell us how the award helps your goals and career path, any additional activities you are planning to do with the award if applicable.
This award serves as a supplement to the research I published during my senior year for my bachelor’s degree. I conducted ethnographic research on Indigenous human rights while studying abroad in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil and finished my courses a quarter early. I later applied to the Jackson School’s master’s degree program, which I’ll attend in the Fall.

Tell us about the places you’ve been able to study or research abroad as JSIS major.
Before receiving the award, I had interned in Antigua, Guatemala at The Jackson School supported me with two awards including one from the Latin American & Caribbean Studies Program. After applying for the Hellmann Scholar award, I studied abroad in four Brazilian states where I practiced speaking Portuguese daily. I completed my degree in Madrid, Spain to delve deeper into the roots of the language that colonized Latin America.

What Jackson School class impacted you the most and why?
Narcoculture: Propaganda and Publicity in the War on Drugs, (JSIS 354), has been the most impactful course of my undergraduate scholarship. It focused on the effects of media portrayal of narcotraffic in Hispanophone and Lusophone/Latin American countries. It outlined the roles of the United States and China in the worldwide drug epidemic. It focused on the detriment of using these narratives for entertainment value, which made me contextualize the era historically and culturally. The emphasis on the exploitation of these narratives in the entertainment industry allowed me to contextualize the historical and cultural era more deeply.

Key skills have you learned at the Jackson School you’ll apply to your career?
The School has influenced me to evaluate events holistically, specialize in the topics I’m passionate about, and aim high in my academic and professional careers.

Advice do you have for prospective Jackson School students?
My main hope for future Jackson School students is not to let their knowledge stay in the classroom. The topics of study I was able to pursue were invaluable to my volunteering, club affiliations, and non-profit work. Prospective students should feel eager to enter a program where their instructors are ready to guide them and professors are accomplished educators.