UCB Anthropology Professor Introduces Students to “Life-Changing” Work

Carol Conzelman pictured with UCB students and Tocaña residents wearing Saya outfits.

When Dr. Carol Conzelman, PhD, was invited to Carmen Pampa in 1997 as an education and international development specialist to help the College create a 10 year plan, she never imagined how that visit would alter the trajectory of her life. “My work with the College was life-changing,” she said.

Dr. Conzelman’s experience in Carmen Pampa led Conzelman to a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Colorado-Boulder (UCB). Her dissertation about farmer unions and community democracy was done in collaboration with students in Carmen Pampa.

Now, as a UCB faculty member, Dr. Conzelman organizes Global Seminars in Bolivia for undergraduate students. This year was the fifth course she led to Bolivia since starting the program in 2012.

“My goal is to give UCB students a holistic perspective of life in Bolivia,” Dr. Conzelman says. “This includes insight into Bolivian history, indigenous Aymara cultural traditions, current political economic issues, rural livelihoods and development, community democracy and modern social movements.” 

Dr. Conzelman’s work has also forged long-term relationships with students at the College in Carmen Pampa. In 2015, she received funding from the U.S. State Department to support six UAC-CP students completing undergraduate theses projects. Two of those 

students are now working on master’s degrees in Carmen Pampa.

Dr. Conzelman facilitates her course with help from Sonia Maria Mamani, a 2014 UAC-CP Education graduate who works at a language institute in Bolivia’s capital of La Paz. Sonia, who speaks Spanish, English, and the indigenous Aymara language, serves as an assistant guide and interpreter. “Sonia reflects the overall quality of education at the College,” Dr. Conzelman said.

UCB students have the opportunity to interact with and learn from UAC-CP students  during the course, including tours of on-campus businesses and the food cooperative. Students also attend thesis presentations. 

“My students listen to agronomy and education presentations during their visit to campus, and we are all impressed. It is a pleasure to see the work happening in Carmen Pampa.” 

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