Jacquelyn Kovarik

Bolivia, Peru, & United States Instructor

B.A. in Comparative Literature with a Concentration in Latin American Studies, Columbia University
M.A. in Global Journalism Joint Program Studies—Journalism and Latin American and Caribbean Studies, NYU

Jacquelyn is proudly from the Sonoran Desert and still calls Phoenix her home, but she has spent the last six years based in Manhattan. Jacquelyn first discovered her love for outdoor education because of her brother, tagging along on his Boy Scout troop’s backpacking and rock climbing trips in Northern Arizona when she was in elementary school. In 2013 she started leading her own trips by working as a backcountry ranger in magical Northeastern New Mexico, “Where The Rockies meet the Plains.” A few years later she tried her hand in an entirely different ecology, leading canoeing trips and backpacking trips in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and along “Mother Superior” in Northern Michigan.

In 2015, Jacquelyn headed to Peru for the first time on a college study abroad program. The experience would change her life in ways she never could have imagined. She was drawn to the Andes because of the mountains, but she fell in love because of the incredible culture, history, politics, and people that have so much to offer to any open mind and heart. Jacquelyn returned to Peru the following year to study Quechua, the ancient language of the Incan Empire and the most commonly spoken Indigenous language in all of the Americas. She now speaks Quechua at an advanced level and is an elementary Quechua instructor herself.

Since that first trip in 2015, Jacquelyn has returned to the Andes five times for separate projects, spending most of her time in Cusco and Pucallpa, Peru and Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her research and writing focus primarily on Indigenous political movements and truth and memory justice movements, both in the Andes and the Amazon. In the past two years, she has had the opportunity of covering political events in both Bolivia and Peru for a variety of news outlets, including The New Republic, the North American Congress on Latin America, and Latino USA. She has also co-produced two documentaries set in Peru for PBS NewsHour. She has presented her research at conferences at Columbia University, New York University, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. Though she has loved engaging with the Andes primarily as an academic and a journalist for the past several years, Jacquelyn is ecstatic to be working as an educator and cannot wait to witness her participants’ lives change in radical and profound ways.