Tag Archives: profile


Hayen Gehr
Staff Writer



Tucker’s arrival at a Division 1 basketball school is clear evidence that size, in fact, does not matter. The five-foot-three point guard is four inches shorter than any other player on the Dons, but boasts a quickness and fearlessness that can make any height disadvantage seem unimpor- tant. Tucker spent her high school days at Brookside Christian and then McNair High School, both of which are in Stockton, Calif. As a junior at Brookside Christian, Tucker fully displayed her offensive explosiveness, averaging 29.6 points per game and scoring a ridiculous 73 points in a sin- gle game. This scoring output was the fourth highest individual point total in high school women’s basketball state history, and for good measure, she had two other games in which she scored over 50 points. Continue reading DONS FRESHMAN PROFILES: THE FUTURE OF USF BASKETBALL

Chris McMurry: Celebrating Her Heritage Through Irish Dance

When not studying at USF, freshman sociology major Chris McMurry performs Irish jigs at local fairs and festivals, celebrating her culture and making new friends. Photo by Photo Courtesy of Chris McMurry

With all the different cultures that can be found on campus from all around the globe, one student knows how to celebrate her culture—it’s in her genes. Chris McMurry, freshman sociology major, has been dancing the Irish jig from the beginning of her freshman year of high school. In turn this has led her to appreciate her heritage, being more than 50-percent Irish. Her dancing has also led her to become involved with Renaissance Faires and playing the accordion. It just shows how one good thing can open up many doors.

Having grown up in Oakland, California, she has been coming into the city of San Francisco for dance classes and competitions since she first began Irish dancing. She describes her urge to dance as “completely random” and explains that it was the “first thing she wanted to do on her own.” In fact, it became one of her reasons for coming to the University of San Francisco. Also, she said, “I wanted to be in the Bay area and I liked a small school with small classes.”

McMurry’s first dance school was the Raven Valley School of Dance in Davis. While improving she progressed to the dance school of Cumann Rince Naisiunta, or CRN, and the prestigious McBride School of Irish Dance. CRN’s policy is to support and protect the Irish dancing tradition. At McBride, McMurry competed up to primary champion and soon became bored with competition and went to the Celtic Dance Ensemble, which also falls under the CRN. This past fall McMurry proved her worth as an Irish dancer in her first national competition. McMurry received first place in all her dances, which included the “Reel,” “Trouble Jig,” and the “Hornpipe.”

Through a Scottish and Irish dance and music troupe, Siamsa le Cheile, McMurry finds herself performing at different venues all across northern California, such as Celtic festivals and renaissance faires. They usually dance about twenty dances per show and are one of the only troupes to perform Irish and Highland dances. McMurry recognizes this troupe as her extended family. With multiple dance performances accomplished, she stands as the Irish sub-director for the troupe. Along with dancing for the troupe, McMurry wears the traditional renaissance garb. She has also has been practicing the accordion for over a year now in order to play with some of the other members of the troupe who play English, French, Spanish, Irish, and Middle Eastern music together.

Siamsa le Cheile describes itself as practicing “the traditional music and dance of Scotland and Ireland, and we all share a love of traditional Gaelic culture. We try to pass on our love of the arts and traditional folk cultures through our performance.”

Senior Anita Buitrago Interns For Mission Community Council

photo by Cass Krughoff/Foghorn
photo by Cass Krughoff/Foghorn

The Mission District is a neighborhood home to artistic murals and cultural cuisine, a direct contrast to the established homelessness and street crimes for which it is also known. Mission resident and USF senior Anita Buitrago is well accustomed to the colorful culture and violent downsides of the neighborhood, but was never aware of the daily contributions made to improve community life until she landed an internship that opened her eyes to her own backyard.

Buitrago acquired the opportunity early in the spring semester to intern for the Mission Community Council (MiCoCo), an umbrella organization for 25 Mission community organizations that work together to offer programs to families, youth, working residents, immigrants and the Latino community. As an intern, she is assigned various tasks updating and emailing weekly newsletters, updating the organization’s website anything that improves the fluidity of MiCoCo’s operations.

“It’s not a typical office job where you sit at your computer all day,” Buitrago said. “We go to meetings and do different things,” including attending and supporting MiCoCo’s weekly meetings to provide community members information and hold forums on neighborhood concerns.

Within MiCoCo’s building, programs are offered that help people find jobs, provide students with after-school programs, hold classes to learn English or attain one’s GED, and even provide an accessible computer lab to the community. Encountering community members on a daily basis, Buitrago said, makes her have a different perspective on the neighborhood she grew up in.

“I lived there my whole life but I was never involved with the community because I felt like I was sheltered,” she said, “and I’ve noticed before that there’s a lot of gang violence, but the Mission nowadays is lot more justified…its a different community.”

The main reason Buitrago decided to intern for MiCoCo was because it directly helps the community in which she grew up in. “It’s where I live, and now that I’m older I’m getting to know the real, positive things that are going on in the neighborhood.”

But acquiring the job was somewhat unintentional, she said. With only retail and office experience under her belt, she applied to a couple of internships, not knowing whether she would receive a response from any of them. When MiCoCo contacted her, she said it was somewhat of a surprise.

“I was really interested just because it involves the community,” she said, “to make good connections within my neighborhood.” And the experience thus far has been a rewarding one, she said, exposing her to political issues that she was not aware of before.

“Now that I’m a part of it, I know now that’s what I wanted to do,” she said, “get that [political] experience.”

One of MiCoCo’s projects that Buitrago helped put together was the “One Mission Peace March” on Jan. 28, a rally intended to spread messages of love and peace to Mission youth by advocating non-violence as a way of life in the community. It also highlighted the efforts of organizations to prevent crime, as well their fight against the Mayor’s Office for cutting the funding to programs that serve the youth in the Mission. “I was on the committee looking up facts for the youth,” Buitrago said, referring to the poster signs that displayed youth and crime facts that rally participants hold. “Whenever they needed help I helped them, making calls or faxes,” she said.

The internship above all has given her networking opportunities, the chance to meet other people and find out their life stories, and find out what they went through to get where they are now. “The people I work with, they really love what they do,” she said, “having this job reminds me to keep in mind that, if I’m not happy with what I’m doing, then why do it at all? But I’ve learned that I really love what I do.”

To find more information on MiCoCo, visit: http://www.micocosf.org/

Student Profile: Freshman Kathryn Butera Studied Abroad in Panama, Noted Cultural, Gender Differences

Kathryn Butera hopes to return to Latin America to study.  Photo by Chelsea Sterling/Foghorn
Kathryn Butera hopes to return to Latin America to study. Photo by Chelsea Sterling/Foghorn

Living in a foreign country? Showering from a bucket? Eating cow tongue? None of these experiences have stopped freshman Kathryn Butera from enjoying her senior year of high school while studying abroad in Panama. This world traveler managed to put the culture shock aside and soak in the Panamanian way of life, developing a passion for Latin American culture that she has now brought to USF.

Butera is an International Studies and Latin American Studies major, a member of the Martín Baro Scholar Program, and a member of the humanities honors program. Originally she is from Eugene, Oregon, where she got involved in a study abroad program through American Field Services.

The move this year from Eugene to San Francisco was nothing compared to the move from Eugene to Panama last fall. Butera speaks almost entirely positively about her time in Changuinola (a city in Bocas Del Toro, a Panamanian province), but does admit to having her fair share of hardships.

Upon arriving in Panama, Butera quickly learned that her high school Spanish education had left her far from fluent. For the first several months she recounts having a hard time communicating with her host family and other locals, admitting that she would “agree to everything” she was asked, because often times she had no idea what people were saying. This trick worked relatively well, but led to some surprises.

Butera said, “One time I agreed to eat cow tongue without knowing it!” After the first few months, she picked up the language and now considers herself nearly fluent. The food was very different from American cuisine because, as a less developed country, Panama has fewer resources and less ability to support a large food industry. Butera, however, had very few complaints.

One of the biggest culture shocks for Butera was the lack of running water. Flooding in many regions of Panama disrupts the entire country’s water circulation and oftentimes no water would run to her host family’s house. “I would literally shower out of a bucket,” she said. Even if there was running water, she would have to go outside and use a faucet outside of the house to get it.

The program was not just about cultural immersion. Butera also went to school for the nine months she was out of the States at the Bilingual Institute. The school, however, was predominantly made up of Spanish speakers, most of which were from Europe.

Butera was also struck by the cultural norms about family and women’s roles in Latin America. “In Panama, family is everything,” Butera said. “Your parents’ word is the final word.” Butera speculates that the significance of family loyalty may be because Panama is a “less trusting environment.”

Although Butera appreciated the emphasis on family values, she had problems with the expectations her host family had of women. She describes Panamanian culture as much more sexist than American culture. For example, because she is female, she was often not allowed to go out at night with her friends and was expected to perform more household duties. Most nights she was required to be home by 5 PM, which she describes as a huge change from her 2 AM curfew back in Oregon.

By the end of the year, though, Butera was incredibly sad to leave the country. She said it was the, “best experience of my life” and that coming home was much harder than going there. Her time in Panama greatly influenced her choice in major at USF and she has grown increasingly more fascinated with Latin American culture. She hopes to study abroad again, possibly in Panama (where her boyfriend lives), but is open to almost any opportunity to travel to Latin America.

Butera encourages all students, regardless of their year or financial ability, to try to study abroad. She represents the great diversity and enthusiasm that manifests itself in much of the USF student body.

Profile: Ivana Rosas, Globally Minded Senior

Senior Ivana Rosas speaks three languages and has traveled to Europe and Central America during her career at USF.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn
Senior Ivana Rosas speaks three languages and has traveled to Europe and Central America during her career at USF. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Through study abroad opportunities and service learning trips, senior Ivana Rosas has seen many countries including Nicaragua, El Salvador, and France. Rosas, an international studies major focusing on the environment and development, considers herself a citizen of the world.

Born in San Cristobal, Venezuela, Rosas’ family moved to Los Angeles when she was five years old. Her family returned to Venezuela frequently and of these visits she remembers, “I would spend time with my cousins, aunts and uncles. We would celebrate birthdays. I had my first communion there.” Adjusting to her new life and learning English was not difficult for Rosas. She said, “I was in an ESL kindergarten class. My teacher spoke in English all the time. I don’t have recollections of [learning English] being really hard.” At her parents’ insistence, Rosas spoke only in Spanish at home so she could maintain her native language. Today she listens to music in Spanish and also speaks with her parents and cousins in Venezuela to keep her Spanish sharp.

Rosas studied French in high school and continued to take courses at USF. In the spring of 2008, she studied for a semester at the Catholic Institute of Paris in France. By the end of the semester, she was fluent. Rosas now speaks three languages and is learning a fourth: Portugese.

Of the study abroad experience, she said “I really enjoyed feeling like a foreigner and being completely lost to my surroundings, regaining a sense of self, making my own niche in a different society and discovering what it means to be a global citizen.”

Through a liberation theology course, Rosas was offered the opportunity to travel to El Salvador to observe firsthand how liberation theology was affecting communities.  Within a few months of this trip, Rosas again boarded a plane for Central America. Last summer as part of a service learning based project, Rosas interned at the Foundation for Sustainable Development in Nicaragua. She worked with a women’s environmentalist group that sells products made from recycled paper, specifically working on marketing and internal management. “The knowledge I gained was how to do more with community organizing and questioning what is development and taking it further by asking what is sustainable development especially in “third world” countries,” Rosas said.

After she graduates in December, Rosas plans to continue her work at the Global Women’s Fund, where she is part of a team that receives fund proposals from different organizations, like the Central America Women’s Fund.  After taking a year off, she plans to apply to graduate school to study urban planning or architecture. She said, “Studying space is so interesting and the relationship that humans have with space and their surroundings, both manmade and natural.”

Rosas holds her world traveling experiences very dear and strives to maintain her global citizenship, which to her means “being aware that while we may have our own identities be they multicultural or not, we are all responsible for our own existence and we have to be aware of and respect others’ right to exist as well.”