Where They’re Headed: Gabriela Lomba ’18

A native of Puerto Rico, the former Jose Padin Scholar and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow is following up her undergraduate degree in comparative literature with graduate studies in the same field at the University of Chicago.

Gabriela Lomba ’18, who majored in comparative literature at Haverford, will attend the University of Chicago this upcoming fall to pursue a doctorate in the same field. During her very first semester here, she took an “Introduction to Comparative Literature” course with Associate Professor of English Maud McInerney—an experience that left her with the certainty that comparative literature “was a field that I really enjoyed and wanted to be a part of.” And it was a research training program held at the University of Chicago during the summer of 2016 that cemented her decision to pursue her love for comparative literature beyond college—specifically, to the University of Chicago, which Lomba lauds for its faculty accessibility.

“I appreciated the fact that comparative literature students could collaborate or receive mentorship from any professor, not just professors within the comparative literature department,” she says. “I’m so excited to be going back this fall!”

During her time at Haverford, Lomba—who was both a Jose Padin Scholar and a Mellon Mays Undergraduate fellow over the course of her four years—was the recipient of the 2018 Laurie Ann Levin Prize in Comparative Literature, was awarded departmental high honors, and graduated cum laude, but she also found time for extracurricular pursuits, including rowing for the crew team, serving on Customs teams, and planning and hosting review sessions as a Spanish TA.

Within her major, she began to realize a particular attraction to Caribbean literature, “thanks to classes with professors [like] Asali Solomon, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, and Enrique Sacerio Garí.” It’s certainly one that hasn’t waned with time: Lomba plans to focus on 20th- and 21st-century Caribbean literature during her first year at the University of Chicago, and she’s currently studying French and Haitian Kreyòl in an effort to engage more authentically with the material she’ll be reading for her classes this autumn.

Ultimately, Lomba would like to become a professor and teach the very literature she has come to love, particularly back on her home island of Puerto Rico. But before she can return there, she’s moving more than two thousand miles away for a program she is enthusiastic about.

“I’m not exactly sure what to expect,” Lomba says, “but I’m keeping an open mind and preparing myself for the challenge!”


“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.


Photo: Gabriela Lomba ’18 will attend the University of Chicago in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in comparative literature. Photo courtesy of Gabriela Lomba ’18.