Lina Lopez Lalinde

Hometown: Miami, FL
Major: International Affairs and Political Science
College: College of Social Sciences & Humanities

What was you favorite Honors class?

My favorite Honors class was definitely “Being ‘Crazy’ in America” with Professor Maureen Kelleher. It was a really enlightening class to be a part of, particularly because it introduced an entirely new range of perspectives on the issue of mental health and mental illness that I had never truly considered before. Coming into the class, I often thought of mental illness in the context of the field of psychiatry. I was mostly informed on the issue by the interpretations I had seen on television and films. It wasn’t until I studied the subject more deeply through this class that I came to understand why this might be troubling. The class also taught me about the importance of the work of sociologists and social scientists in this field, as it not only takes into account the experiences of individuals receiving treatment for their illnesses, but also those of individuals hindered from receiving treatment for a variety of reasons, including class, race, and gender. I was also able to learn the value of studying mental health through the lens of art, whether it be literal works of art, or written pieces like memoirs and novels, which allowed me to come to the conclusion that pairing the studies of sociology and art creates the perfect formula for examining and learning at mental illness in a completely useful and unique way.

During your time at Northeastern, what experiences shaped who you are today as a graduating senior?

Throughout my university career, I was able to participate in several international experiences, including three Dialogues, two global co-ops, and three university-sponsored spring break trips. These experiences allowed me to really hone my skills and confidence, and delve into my interests and passions. My co-ops and dialogues particularly gave me the skills and experience to put my academics into a global context. My recent co-op in Guatemala, for example, made me realize that most of the problems of international development derive from a distance from the people and places development seeks to affect. Rather, engaging with people at the grassroots level and experiencing firsthand the impact that a community organization can have on their lives has inspired me to leverage my studies and experiences from Northeastern to continue working towards social justice throughout the world. My experiences abroad, therefore, have undoubtedly played the largest role in shaping who I am today and what my goals are going forward.

What is your best memory from being a part of the Honors Program?

On the note of international experiences, the most memorable components of my Honors education were the two spring break trips I participated in with the Honors program. The first took place in March of 2015, when I participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to Otavalo, Ecuador with the Honors program. On this trip, 15 of my classmates and I volunteered with an organization called the Tandana Foundation to help build a bathroom in an indigenous community center. The discussions and reflections at the end of each day led by our student team leaders were incredibly impactful for me, as was the bonding I able to do with my classmates through the work we did every day. It really opened my eyes to the wide range of talents and perspectives among students in the Honors program and made me feel lucky to be a part of the group. The second trip I participated in took place just last month, when I traveled to Budapest as part of an Honors seminar on the History of Modern Terrorism. This trip was particularly exciting since it was a rare opportunity to really put into context the concepts I was learning in class.

Where are you headed after you graduate?

This fall, I will be working as an International Student Advisor for the Program, though I am not yet certain in which location. Once I complete this position in December, I plan on applying to graduate schools to study International Education Policy.