Brumblay, whose mother is from Peru, traveled to the country a half-dozen times growing up. When she arrived at Amherst, she felt a desire to return to the place of her heritage. “When I decided to be an anthro major, I wanted to do a project that mattered to me,” she said. “So in the summer after my sophomore year, I participated in a program there through the University of Virginia.”
In the fall of 2000, Brumblay took a semester off so she could return to Peru to work on a project which would become the subject of her thesis. Working from two universities-the University of San Marcos in Lima, the oldest university in the Americas, and the University of La Huamanga in Ayacucho-she became acquainted with several protesters and studied the terrorist work that the Peruvian government has linked to universities.
“Much of the protesting which has been going on in Peru in the ’90s has been related to President Alberto Fujimori, who recently decided to
run for an illegal re-election,” said Brumblay. “I hung out with students involved in some of the protests, and I helped in the campaign myself.”
While in Peru, Brumblay also taught English and volunteered at the South American Explorers’ Club. She plans to return to Peru in the future to continue and extend her thesis work.
“On the whole, this project has made me feel that Peru is also my home,” Brumblay said. “Even though I spent so much time there in my childhood, this is the first time that I really made a place for myself in the country.”