Matthew Leslie Santana

Matthew Leslie Santana

I am a third-year student from Miami, Florida pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance. I am also active in sexual health-related activities on campus and have been a member of the World AIDS Week Planning Committee and the Sexual Health Peer Educators with Chinyere Neale at University Health Services.

As a violinist, I have performed with the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and for His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as a member of the Teen String Quartet in Miami. In 2005, I was one of eight semi-finalists in the junior division of the Sphinx National Music Competition for Black and Latina/o string players.

As a member of Trio St. James, a piano trio comprising undergraduates at the University of Michigan School of Music, I have performed twice for President Mary Sue Coleman.

Since coming to the University of Michigan, I have been named an Angell Scholar and have been given the William J. Branstrom Freshman Prize in recognition of my academic achievement.

This summer, I will be going to South Africa as a member of the Pedagogy of Action program led by Dr. Nesha Haniff and sponsored by the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies and the Women’s Studies Department. While in South Africa, I will be teaching an oral methodology in HIV prevention developed by Dr. Haniff for people of all ages and literacy levels. As a part of the teaching process, I will train students to teach this methodology in English, Zulu, Xhosa and other South African languages. While in South Africa, I will be working at the University of Zululand in rural KwaZulu-Natal, at Cato Crest Primary School in Durban and at Damelin Community College in Johannesburg. While at the University of Zululand, I will be involved in conducting focus groups and in-depth interviews in order to assess the impact of Dr. Haniff’s oral methodology from the previous years of the program.

In addition to the Raoul Wallenberg International Summer Travel Award, I have received the Center for International and Comparative Studies Student Research Fellowship and the College of LS&A Summer Opportunity Scholarship to fund my summer travel and research. I am very thankful for the generous support of the Wallenberg Endowment, without which I would not have been able to participate in this transformational program. Upon my return to the United States, I hope to help publish reports based on the findings from the research conducted in South Africa and to use my experience to inform and enhance my sexual health work in the campus community.

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