Sierakowski joins History Department

Natalie Cosgrove

Ingrid Sierakowski joined both the History and the Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research departments as a History and Latin American Studies teacher this fall . She will be teaching three sections of The World and Europe II, a sophomore-only class, and one section of Latin American Studies.

Before coming to the Upper School , Sierakowski moved from New York, where she taught history classes at Trevor Day School. Before teaching there, Sierakowski studied and earned her bachelor’s degree in history from University of California, Los Angeles , as well as a master’s degree and a doctorate in history from Yale University. She also taught Latin American Studies at the NYU School of Professional Studies.

Sierakowski speaks about her background

Sierakowski is originally from Guatemala but moved to the U.S. when she was nine years old. She said she has always had a cultural connection to the place and an inherent curiosity that led her to become a teacher .

“The Latin American Studies course, which is technically not a history course, is more about contemporary issues, but also hearkening back to the focus of thinking about origin points, where these current tensions come from and more along that level,” Sierakowski said.

At Trevor Day School, Sierakowski also spearheaded the Students of Color Affinity Group and the Latin American Culture Club.

“At my old school, I was really fortunate to be at the beginning of some of those culture clubs and [to see] them come to fruition was very exciting, and I think they are in good hands now,” Sierakowski said. “I want to definitely bring that here. I know there are some clubs like that here, and I want to join and to help support, or if there is a new student initiative, I am more than happy to support that as well.”

She initially entered UCLA as an English Major but took history and culture classes about Latin America that quickly led her to change her path. Her curiosity about the two subjects stuck with her through grad school, and she has been continuing on that pursuit ever since.

“I am very much excited to get to know my students, albeit through Zoom,” Sierakowski said. “I am certainly excited to be back in Southern California and to be close to family. Overall, I am looking forward to growing and learning from this new community and to contribute the best I can in forwarding Harvard-Westlake’s mission, which I see as a call to action, particularly during these unprecedented times.”