January 5, 2021 | Patricia Alba
Over the summer, the Center for Latin American Studies bade farewell to Ms. Wanda Carter as she retired from the University of Florida. Ms. Wanda began her journey at the Center in 2001 when she joined the Tropical Conservation and Development Program as the secretary. She was promoted to the Program Assistant position in 2003. In her role, she worked under the direction of three MALAS Program Coordinators, Dr. Richmond Brown, Dr. Susan Paulson, and Dr. Carlos Suarez.
As part of her work, Ms. Wanda helped Center students from the moment they were admitted to the program until they graduated. New students met Ms. Wanda during the MALAS Orientation, where she welcomed them to the Center and provided them with much-needed information and student resources. Ms. Wanda’s dedication to the students was shown in the way they trusted and cared for her.
“To me, Ms. Wanda Carter was an integral part of the Center for Latin American Studies,” said Moisés Moreno-Rivera (MALAS, 2017). “She made me feel like family. I know this with how she greeted me; with how she assisted me with bureaucratic paperwork; with how she raised concerns when I fell ill and looked out for me; with how she helped us grieve when Dr. Brown passed; with how she spoke with me in our random 1-on-1s; and with how she greeted me when I returned to visit the Center years after graduating. It will be difficult envisioning the Center without Ms. Wanda Carter. I wish her all the best in her retirement!”
Beyond the student work, Ms. Wanda also worked with faculty and staff across the Center and the University of Florida. She was the point of contact for faculty that needed assistance with curriculum or course schedules, she worked with staff and awards committees, and she was always present and willing to lend a helping hand to anyone that stopped by her office.
“Wanda was not only an excellent colleague but with her warm personality and her smile, she was able to create an ideal workplace,” said Efrain Barradas (LAS emeritus faculty).
Ms. Wanda’s dedication to the students and her exceptional work ethic was recognized in 2018 when she received a Superior Accomplishment Award from the University of Florida. After 19-years of hard work and dedication to the Center for Latin American Studies, the faculty, staff, and students at the Center wish Ms. Wanda a happy and restful retirement. Thank you for everything, Ms. Wanda!
This article is part of the Fall 2020 newsletter The Latinamericanist. To read the full newsletter, visit this link.