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Trinity Washington University | Profile: Lara Gutierrez ’10

Lara Gutierrez ’10

During the summer of 2010, when most people were at home relaxing, Lara Gutierrez ’10 used connections she made while at Trinity to go Guatemala on a human rights delegation, investigating violence against women and advocating for change.

Lara Gutierrez at Lago de Atitlán

Lara Gutierrez at Lago de Atitlán in Guatemala

Local School, International Focus

Originally from Annapolis, MD, Lara wanted to stay close to her family when going to school because of her father’s health. With DC only 30 miles away, her research lead her to Trinity. It was the perfect combination of quality and location. “I was impressed by Trinity’s reputation, and by the strong female leaders it has produced,” Lara shared.

Once at Trinity, Lara settled right in, majoring in international affairs and minoring in sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. As part of the international affairs program, students are encouraged to work an internship with an organization that focuses on the issues that interest them. For Lara, she was drawn to Latin American culture and concerns.

Internship Connection Leads to Eye-Opening Opportunity

During her third year, Lara learned about the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission (GHRC), a local non-governmental organization right down the street from Trinity. She was intrigued and applied to an internship with GHRC. While Lara wasn’t selected for the specific internship she applied for, she did make an incredibly important connection: GHRC’s Director, Amanda Martin.

Village in Jalapa

A few months later, when space arose in the human rights delegation traveling to Guatemala,  Amanda Martin remembered the enthusiastic Trinity student who had previously sought out an internship at her organization. She gave Lara a call, alerting her to this opportunity, and Lara jumped at the chance.

In Guatemala, Lara’s delegation visited three separate indigenous villages, and countless grassroots organizations before visiting the US Embassy and meeting with the US Ambassador to Guatemala as well as members of USAID and the State Department. The delegation also met with well known human rights leaders such as Norma Cruz and Jennifer Harbury, who is a human rights lawyer who has been fighting for justice for the murder of her husband.

“My Professors Are to Thank for My Success”

Since returning from Guatemala, Lara has continued to pursue her human rights dream.  She has been actively calling her congressmen regarding immigration reform and will continue to lobby Congress with her fellow delegates for the passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).

Lara continues to honor her Trinity connections. She returned to campus to speak to the international affairs senior seminar class about Latin America and her experiences in Guatemala. In addition, Lara was an invited panelist during Dr. Navarro’s, a former professor, annual human rights event. The theme for this year was indigenous women and human rights so Lara presented her first-hand experiences working with indigenous women in Guatemala.

Lara is happy to give back. She excelled at Trinity, graduating magna cum laude in May 2010, and she applauds her professors for accomplishment. “My professors are to thank for my success at Trinity.”

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Make Your Own Difference: Grassroots Organizations

Photo Gallery from the GHRC Human Rights Delegation to Guatemala

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