Alumni Spotlight

February 22, 2019

This week, we would like to distinguish Alumni Carmella Scorcia Pacheco! Carmella graduated from UNM with an MA in Southwest Studies in 2011, and is currently at the University of Arizona, where she has received the opportunity to continue her research on Border Studies.

“Since graduating with a Masters of Arts in Spanish/Southwest Studies at UNM, I became involved in an eclectic variety of work within New Mexico before embarking on pursuing a PhD in Spanish/Border Studies at the University of Arizona.

Some of the activities I have become involved with after graduating from UNM include writing and publishing two works—the first entitled, La mujer de mi vida, an essay I submitted for a writing contest with the Genealogical Association of Hispanic America in which I was selected as a winner and is published in their journal, Nuestras Raíces (Fall, 2015) and the second publication, Witch Tales of El Guache: An Ethnopoetic Analysis was published in the Journal of the Southwest (Winter 2016).  This project originally started with the wonderful tales of brujas and brujerías that my grandmother, Ida Pacheco, recounted many a time and it wasn’t until my mentor, Dr. Enrique Lamadrid, offered a class on New Mexico Folklore that I became interested in understanding many of the underlying themes of the cuentos through ethnopoetics. 

While at UNM, I was fortunate to co-direct the pilot program, Bio-cultural Diversity and Social Justice in Ecuador and upon returning from this experience, I was inspired to form an organization dedicated to sustainable and empowering initiatives among women in New Mexico called Luna Ladies.  We have shared many valuable cultural and traditional wisdom in the organization as well as helped local women’s shelters.  Some of the activities have included sharing traditional remedios, making trementina, participating in Seeds: A Collective Voice by making several seed murals in order to educate others about the importance of ancient and organic seed preservation, and sharing creative and healing experiences amongst each-other.

Having since graduated from UNM, I was also granted the opportunity through the New Mexico Folk Arts Program to learn the masterful and rare art of reconstructing, refurbishing and tuning Accordions.  I worked under the guidance of Master Accordionist, Toni Tomei, and am now a certified Accordion Apprentice through the State of New Mexico.  I enjoy very much working with my hands and with very few people knowing how to work on Accordions, I am grateful and hope to continue in keeping accordions alive. 

I am happy to announce that I was offered a wonderful opportunity by the University of Arizona to continue my work in Border Studies as a University Fellow.  I plan to continue research on cultural hybridity in all the manifestations and genres of expressive culture.  I will be exploring border issues in terms of cultural resistance, social justice and the affirmation of multicultural and transnational identities.  I hope to raise awareness of histories that influence border communities and to create tools to facilitate broader discussions about the politics of difference; one objective of my work is to enable more inclusive and expressive cultures, particularly as manifested in music, language, literature, and the arts. 

When I am not at school, you can find me recording stories of my grandmother, helping out at our orchard in Alcalde, dancing a little flamenco, playing a little tune on the accordion and enjoying the land, people, music and culture of wherever I may be.

Last but not least, I cannot express how grateful I am for the amazing experiences the Spanish & Portuguese Department has granted me.  I am grateful to each and every professor I was able to

work with.  I would not be where I am today without our paths crossing and without the encouragement I received from everyone in the Department. Gracias a todos.”