In 2006, the Mexico, the Americas and Spain (MAS) Program expanded and created the Alvarez Internship Grant Program, which is designed to provide real-world experience for students in their communities. The grant awards allow Trinity students to acquire unpaid internships that relate to the MAS mission.

“Most internships require strong language skills, and all offer the prospect of enhancing professional skills and developing community relationships that mesh with the mission of MAS.  After the completion of 120 hours of service, students earn a $1,500 grant,” said Rosana Blanco-Cano, director of MAS.

The MAS program coordinates initiatives that create opportunities for Trinity students involved in studies specific to Latinx culture.

“The MAS Program is a key element of Trinity’s internationalization, one of the main points of the Trinity Strategic Plan. The Alvarez Internship Program enables this productive and necessary interaction,” Blanco-Cano said.

Students who are involved with the program credit the expansion of their perspectives to the influence of MAS. By extending opportunities like the Alvarez grants to students, MAS provides the chance to become more involved with the culture of San Antonio and beyond.

“My junior year, I applied for two Alvarez Internship grants in the Spring of 2016. I did one this past summer with the non-profit organization SWAG to College, and I am completing one now at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center,” said senior Olivia Garza, who has been an active member of MAS since her sophomore year.

The MAS program allows students to do more than just intern — it also allows students to grow and become more culturally aware. Although students join for different reasons, they all end up with the same perspective-changing experience.

“It started with taking Dr. Navarro’s ‘Latin American Cultural Traditions’ my first year of college, and has led me to explore MAS via attending a conference this past weekend that was in celebration of Gloria Anzaldua and going to a film screening of ‘Las Tesoros’ which follows the lives of four female singers who grew up on the Westside of San Antonio,” Garza said.

The program also inspires its members to start thinking differently. Unlike other internship grants, MAS gives students the opportunity to be involved in an area of their interest — Latinx culture.

“MAS has influenced me in a major way because it gave me the opportunity to gain experience and start thinking about what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. The internships gave me more knowledge, connections and insight into what I want to do,” said Madison Matthies, a recipient of two Alvarez grants.

MAS allows students to widen their perspectives about issues like domestic violence, immigration, incarceration and criminal justice. It provides the experience of a non-profit career and often helps students decide if they want to continue in that field.

“I actually do not want to go into the non-profit world, but I would not have known that if I did not have the opportunity to try it out. Without the MAS grant, I would not have as much understanding as I do about immigrants and justice-involved women. I really feel like I was privileged to work with these people,” Matthies said.

According to Matthies, MAS provides students opportunities to engage with their communities and learn from people who are unlike them. The program, and specifically the Alvarez Grant Program, provides a new level of understanding for students who are involved.

To apply, you must have a formal relationship with a non-profit organization that focuses on the Latinx community or a program related to the MAS mission. A student must also be sponsored by a Trinity faculty member and be approved by the MAS Executive Meeting.

The deadline to apply is November 13.