Distinguished Graduate Fellows

Since 2012, the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas have awarded three distinguished fellowships every year to fund doctoral students in all areas of Latin American, Caribbean, Latino and Diasporic studies.

The fellows participate in the intellectual life of the institute while working on their own degree programs and dissertation projects.

2017-2018 Distinguished Graduate Fellows

Felicia Casanova

Felicia is a second-year doctoral student in the department of Sociology. Her research focuses on global health as well as immigration and health from a sociological lens.  Felicia completed her M.A. at UM in International Administration where she focused on evaluating the role, impact and sustainability of medical missions in Latin America.  Upon completing her M.A. she joined the U.S. Peace Corps, where she served from 2009 to 2011, in Guatemala as a Municipal Development Volunteer engaged in citizen participation and capacity building efforts that supported community leaders such as community health workers and women's groups.  Felicia worked with the UM department of Public Health Sciences managing and arranging public health capstones locally and globally, which led her to pursue a doctoral degree in Sociology.  This summer, Felicia presented a paper at a sociological conference in Montreal. 

Samantha Chaitram

Samantha Chaitram is a Ph.D. Candidate in International Studies at the University of Miami.  A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, Samantha was awarded a LASPAU Faculty Fulbright in 2012 to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Miami.  She holds a B.Sc. in Economics and Spanish (2006) and a M.Sc. in International Trade Policy (2008) from the University of the West Indies.  Prior to doctoral studies, she worked a Research Assistant at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C., was employed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Trinidad and Tobago as an International Relations Officer, and was a Lecturer in Economics and International Trade at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago.  She has participated in several international exchange programs including the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (2012) and a Summer Academy in European Integration at the University of Bonn, Germany (2010).  Her research interests include international trade policy, security policy and U.S. foreign policy.  Samantha is currently working on her doctoral dissertation with Dr. Bruce Bagley on United States – Caribbean security engagement in the twenty-first century.

Ernesto Fundora

Ernesto is a Ph.D. Candidate in Romance Studies and a Distinguished Fellow of the Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. He holds a B.A. in Theater Studies from the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana (2007). In 2015 he participated in the Mellon School of Theater and Performance Research at Harvard University. His research focuses on Dramatic/Theatrical Canon formation processes, Classical Tradition and Reception, and Theater Laboratories in Latin America and Europe. Ernesto has presented at a number of international conferences, has published articles in several magazines, and in 2014 he coedited Las palabras de El Escriba. Artículos en Revolución y Lunes de Revolución (1959-1961), the annotated edition of the journalistic work of Cuban author and playwright Virgilio Piñera. He is the editor of Dramaturgia cubana contemporánea (Mexico: Paso de Gato, 2015) and Cuba Queer (Madrid: Hypermedia Ediciones, 2017), which will be presented this coming November in the Miami International Book Fair.


2016-2017 Distinguished Graduate Fellows

Caitlin Brown
Caitlin is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Comparative Literature & Society from Columbia University (2013). After a year teaching and doing research in Andorra through the Fulbright program, she earned her M.S. in Clinical Health Psychology from the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona in 2015. Caitlin’s research interests include sociocultural factors that influence the assessment and treatment of bilingual and bicultural individuals with schizophrenia. She is currently engaged in a project on multilingualism and serious mental illness, examining whether the language of clinical assessment (English or Spanish) impacts perceived symptom severity and effortful control in bilingual Hispanics with schizophrenia.
Matthew Davidson
Matthew is a second-year doctoral student in history and a Distinguished Fellow of the Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. His research focuses on U.S. Empire and public health in the Caribbean during the early twentieth century, and he is currently studying under the direction of Dr. Kate Ramsey. Matthew completed his M.A. from Trent University in Peterborough, Canada, where he wrote a thesis on the 1915-1934 occupation of Haiti. He was subsequently employed as the Coordinator of the Peterborough chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. Matthew has presented at a number of international conferences, has contributed book reviews and entries for various journals and projects, and has published articles in numerous magazines.
Yulia Vorobyeva

Yulia is a Ph.D. candidate in International Studies at the University of Miami. Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Yulia studied linguistics and translation at Herzen State Pedagogical University specializing in Spanish language. In 2007, she interned as a translator at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to her residence in Miami, Yulia received her Master’s degree in Spanish from the University of Northern Iowa where she worked as an instructor of Spanish. In 2011, she served as an intern at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs. Her research interests include drug trafficking and organized crime, with special focus on Latin America and Russia, civil-military relations, security studies, and terrorism. She is the author of a book chapter “Drugs as a National Security Threat: Securitization of Drugs in the U.S. Official Discourse,” in Bruce Bagley and Jonathan Rosen (eds.), Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today (University Press of Florida, 2015).