Derick Gomez

Mentor: Dr. Paul Ortiz
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"High school history is taught in a static way that is much more focused on having students memorize a couple of key names and dates rather than learning how to think critically. Studying history in the university setting has allowed me to recognize how much understanding it helps me come to grips with current, real-world situations and events. Participating in a research project is giving me the opportunity to immerse myself deeply in something that I am passionate about."




Urban Planning

Research Interests

  • Student Activism
  • Latin America
  • Politics

Academic Awards

  • University Scholar Program
  • Dean's List


  • Reitz Union Board
  • Fine Print
  • Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures


  • Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
  • Libros de Familia
  • Southern Legal Counsel

Hobbies and Interests

  • Urban Bicycling
  • Hitchhiking
  • Attending Live Music Shows
  • Camping

Research Description

Fighting for Equal Education
Chile currently has one of the most developed and robust economies in Latin America. This is generally credited to neo-liberal reforms enacted during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, which lasted from 1973 to 1989. However, these economic policies created a massive gulf between wealthy Chileans and the rest of the nation. This is perhaps most evident in the country’s educational system. Pinochet’s government passed laws, without democratic approval, that considerably changed the structure of education in Chile. The Chilean Student Protests of 2011 sought to pressure political leaders to reform the nation’s educational system and to challenge one of the most substantial and lasting changes to Chilean society produced during Pinochet’s dictatorship. I want to research and understand this movement.