The Humanities Program logo
The Humanities Program

Ana Rivera

1. What was your Humanities contract about?

My Humanities contract focused on public policy, development, and women’s rights. My research was based on the barriers low-income Latina encounter in reproductive health care access in South Texas. In my research, I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with local community members in the Rio Grande Valley. I partnered with local stakeholders, and worked in the policy sector to learn more healthcare policy. My contract gave me the freedom to study different interdisciplinary areas such as government, education, policy, and public health.  

2. How did the Humanities program and Liberal Arts education benefit you?

Being part of the Humanities program, I had the opportunity to focus in a wide range of leadership opportunities. Coming from a small town in South Texas, at first, I was interested to learn how policies affected small communities. Throughout my education career at UT, I wanted to learn more about how policies affected people at a macro level. I got the opportunity to work as a full-time congressional intern in Washington D.C. at the U.S. House of Representatives. I also led a public health education initiative in Honduras; where I worked led preventative health workshops with a group of five other students in indigenous communities.

As a Humanities and Liberal Arts students, I was in a field where I was positively impacting people and still to this day continue to do so.   

3. What was your favorite experience at UT?

Overall, it is very hard to decide since I have several favorite experiences; but I would choose writing my Humanities thesis. It was a challenging yet rewarding experience for me. To gather data, I had to travel several times to the Rio Grande Valley. I met with different people and listened to their stories. Some stories were inspiring but others were heartbreaking. I wanted my research to focus on the barriers Latinas face when they tried to seek health care access and resources. Hence, I wanted to use my work to create an awareness and be an advocate for others. I used that opportunity to present my research in different conferences across Texas. It was a long research process that took about two years to complete. All my experiences from working at Capitol Hill to City Council in Austin, and even doing work abroad in preventative health complemented my Humanities thesis. 

4. Describe your career and how you found this position.

After graduation, I became a 2014 Teach for America corps member in Houston. I taught Kindergarten at a KIPP Houston Public School for two years and served as the Dual Language and Grade Level Chair. I decided to stay in education since there is a need to improve our education system; and work to reduce education inequities in the U.S. I am currently teaching 3rd Grade Bilingual education at San Antonio ISD. However, my interests and passion of women’s health care and public health still remain. I am currently serving as one the Board Members for a national organization called National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. NLIRH focuses on improving reproductive health equity and immigrant women’s health and rights through advocacy, community and leadership development in New York, Washington DC, Virginia, Texas and Florida. I also plan to return back to school to get my masters in education; as well as hope to run for an elected leadership position within the next 5 years in San Antonio.