Amanda Lee Tovar

Amanda Lee Tovar

Name: Amanda Lee Tovar
Age: 28
Major: Master of Art in Interdisciplinary Studies in Mexican American Studies
Hometown: Pharr 

I chose UTRGV because it’s home. More specifically, I chose Mexican American Studies at UTRGV because I wanted to understand myself, the community, and to understand myself in the community so that I could most effectively serve the community and its needs. Other schools may have ethnic studies programs, but Mexican American Studies at UTRGV provides opportunities to work directly with my community.

What made you decide on your current major?
The ability to put my heart and soul into my studies without alienating myself from the community. The faculty in my major are also so encouraging, which is rare.

What do you like most about UTRGV?
I absolutely love the professors in my department. I have never come across so many genuine and validating individuals who dedicate their livelihood to the success of others—shout out to Dr. Stephanie Alvarez and Dr. Ernesto Ramirez for believing in me!

What are some of your favorite study spots on campus?
Center for Mexican American Studies! It’s my second home!

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
Being a Vaquer@ means being proud of where I come from. It means having the opportunity to be a part of a diverse and inspiring group of people who are ambassadors for our community.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
UTRGV has given me the opportunity to participate in culturally relevant education in elementary, middle and high schools, like Bilingual Story Hour and an Altar Competition with PSJA ISD.

What are a few of your favorite books?
Tequila Worm by Viola Canales! Dr. Amy Cummins assigned it in a young adolescent literature course I took with her. The novel is culturally relevant and could not have come at better time for me, considering I was dealing with the death of my grandpa while the protagonist was dealing with the loss of her father.
Gloria Anzaldúa’s Luz en lo Oscuro is, again, culturally relevant. The text works as a manual for healing traumas. Reading it was cathartic and prompted me to be a kinder person all around.
Ted Hughes’ Birthday Letters. It’s my absolute problematic fave. I can’t even express why I love it, but I do.

What’s in your playlist right now?
Right now, my playlist consists of polar opposite artists. I’m listening to a lot of Soul Glo, I Hate Sex, Solange and Cardi B. I love the social commentary of Soul Glo, I Hate Sex and Solange, and I love how unapologetically real Cardi B is.