Kacie Martinez-Kocher Makes Nomadic Journey in Morocco,
Presents Findings at Wellesley College’s Tanner Conference

October 31, 2008

Molly Tarantino, Public Affairs


WELLESLEY, Mass. — Wellesley College senior Kacie Martinez-Kocher could have written a traditional research paper to cap off her semester as a study-abroad student in Morocco. Instead, inspired by a colorful piece of broken tile she found on a footpath in the mountain city of Chefchaouen, Martinez-Kocher decided to embark on a month-long nomadic journey through the rural villages and urban centers of Morocco. Along the way, she collected fragments of tile from each site, which she used to create a mosaic representative of the relationship between Moroccans and migration.

Although she started her journey with a limited Arabic vocabulary and no knowledge of ceramics, mosaic-making or the Moroccan nomadic lifestyle, Martizez-Kocher said she came a long way during her travels. “I found myself in an intellectual and personal state above my peers. I had molded my own study-abroad experience,” she said.

Martinez-Kocher, a political science and Middle Eastern studies major at Wellesley, is the daughter of Raquel Kocher of Round Rock. She discussed her research in the presentation, “A Mosaic of Morocco: Life as a Nomad,” at the annual Tanner Conference on the Wellesley College campus, a day-long event held Oct. 28.


“I really got the chance to experience Morocco as a Moroccan, through living with my family, and as a foreign student trying to make sense of the world through my own creative means,” she said. “Although my mosaic is not very aesthetically appealing and is cracked, the adventure I had lives in the forefront on my memories and truly affects my daily life and the decisions I make for my future.”

The Tanner Conference brings together students, faculty, staff and alumnae as they share their off-campus studies. With projects ranging from “Behind the Screen: The Making of Local Television News” to “Victim or Victimizer? The 2008 London Extradition Case of 1994 Rwandan Genocide,” Wellesley travelers return to discuss their experiences with the community.

This year’s conference represented the work of nearly 300 students, faculty, alumnae and staff. The annual event was established in 2001 through the generosity of Wellesley trustee Estelle “Nicki” Newman Tanner ‘57. For more information, visit http://new.wellesley.edu/CWS/Tanner/.

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to www.wellesley.edu