Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Mayra Garcia

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Mayra Garcia

Keeping Her Culture Alive

Mayra Garcia knows what it’s like to be caught in the middle of Anglo and Latino cultures. Garcia likens her situation to that of Gloria Anzaldua’s “Mestiza Consciousness.”

As a graduate student in the English M.A. program, Garcia’s emphasis is on the Borderlands. A native of the Rio Grande Valley, she is delving deeper into her experiences of how both Mexico and the U.S. have impacted her life.

“I get to integrate my culture and history into my academics and use the Spanish language that allows me to express myself in a way that I don’t think I can in English,” she said. “This program has given me the opportunity for the academic and the personal sides of me to become one.”

The McNair Scholar, who has presented at conferences at the University of California, Berkeley and Loyola University Maryland, graduated from the Island University with honors in spring 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and psychology with a minor in history. When she is not studying, Garcia is a grader for the psychology department, and works at the Barnes & Noble campus bookstore.

Her current studies give her the freedom to understand more about her culture while continuing her education in Chicano/Mexican American studies. One of the most notable works in Garcia’s collection of books is Anzaldua’s “Borderlands-La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” that tells the journey of a girl growing up in the Borderlands, who after traveling in the United States, has an identity crisis.

“My parents are from Mexico, but they really don’t know the history and literature connected to it,” she said. “That’s why I want to study more about my culture, so I can inform people about it. I want to teach a younger generation about their culture, so they don’t lose their heritage.”

Garcia enjoys revealing her experiences as a Chicana in the 21st century, skills she developed in creative writing classes taught by Drs. Vanessa Jackson and Robb Jackson. After Garcia graduates, she plans to teach at the college level.


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