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Illuminating Humanities: Diego Sepulveda-Allen

Diego Sepulveda-Allen, 2023-24 Glasscock Undergraduate Summer Scholar, Departments of Philosophy and History, Texas A&M

The Glasscock Center is excited to continue its series which highlights humanities research at Texas A&M, and the vital role played by the humanities at the university and in the world beyond the academy.

For this highlight, we invite Diego Sepulveda-Allen to tell us about his experience as a Glasscock Center Undergraduate Summer Scholar (UGSS) in the Right to Vote seminar co-directed by Dr. Katherine Unterman (HIST) and Dr. Linda Radzik (PHIL). 

Diego Sepulveda-Allen is a Junior pursuing a dual major in Philosophy and History at Texas A&M University. Additionally, he is working towards earning a Pre-law Certificate from the Philosophy department and a Legal History Certificate from the History department in preparation to attend law school after graduation.

This image is a composite of 2 clippings from the same newspaper article published in the “Dallas Morning News” on May 12th, 1963 in Dallas, Texas that discusses the “electoral revolt” in Crystal City, Texas.

Sepulveda-Allen is a Glasscock Center Undergraduate Summer Scholar who recently participated in the Right to Vote seminar co-directed by Dr. Katherine Unterman (HIST) and Dr. Linda Radzik (PHIL). The Right to Vote seminar examined the historical and philosophical perspectives of voting accessibility by tracing expansions and restrictions over American history. Sepulveda-Allen ditched his initial career choice in computer science to pursue his lifelong dream of practicing law; he has no regrets, claiming, “I haven’t looked at a math problem since!”

In the past, Sepulveda-Allen’s lack of humanities research experience prevented him from kick-starting his own project. “Every time I was like, ‘oh, maybe I should do research’, I didn’t know where to start…how to start…or even know what I would write about,” he says. Now, Sepulveda-Allen is realizing his research ambitions with the support of the UGSS program.

The program provides various resources, including mentorship, to undergraduate students with the goal of developing a proposal for submission to the LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Scholars thesis program. It is a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to develop their own research project under the direction of professors who specialize in a particular topic. Sepulveda-Allen says “Being able to work with [Professors] in a close capacity, in their area of expertise, is something that I will learn a lot from,” furthermore, “They are smart people who have gone through multiple years of schooling and they have multiple degrees…They are kind of like walking human databases if you will.” 

Sepulveda-Allen is grateful Dr. Unterman suggested that he apply to the UGSS program because it offers an opportunity to further his academic goals while also enhancing his skills in voter advocacy with the non-profit organization MOVE Texas. Sepulveda-Allen says, “I decided that if I was going to apply, I was going to make the best of this opportunity.”

This image is of a newspaper clipping from the “Valley Morning Star” printed on June 27th, 1948 in Harlingen, Texas that discusses the campaign strategy of Phillip Kazen in Laredo, Texas.

Sepulveda-Allen’s research project investigates the historical intersections of election campaign strategies, racialization, and voting discrimination after the Second World War in Texas. He focuses on how political candidates engage with or oppose the interests of Latine voters over time; specifically, what strategies are deployed by Anglo and Latine candidates when addressing or dismissing Latine claims of systemic discrimination. “I feel like it’s not something that I’ve ever heard about…I can’t really find anything that’s super specific about this issue,” Sepulveda-Allen says. “I feel like this is something that is unexplored but it seems to me like a pretty important thing [and] still prevalent today.” 

While completing the thesis is Sepulveda-Allen’s ultimate goal, he also anticipates submitting his research to an academic journal. “I am drawn to publishing research and contributing to a field to study,” he says, “because that means that I was able to construct an argument that was original, and that will be something that I’ll be proud of.”