Distinguished Graduate Fellows

2018-2019 Distinguished Graduate Fellows: Laura, Kikie, and Lidiana

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.

  • 2019-2020 Distinguished Graduate Fellows

    AltamiranoOlivia Altamirano

    Olivia Altamirano is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. She graduated with a BA in Psychology (summa cum laude) from the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. Ms. Altamirano’s career in mental health began with clinical experience in a subacute facility for people with severe mental illness. Her research experience includes investigating the effectiveness of a mindfulness and yoga curriculum in an underserved, low-income school district composed of Latino minorities through Stanford University, and investigating the effects of cognitive training on people with recent-onset schizophrenia through UC, San Francisco. In Mexico, she explored duration of untreated psychosis, barriers and facilitators to accessing mental health services through the University of Southern California. Underlying her current projects are themes that include family caregiving, patient illness, and culture. Ms. Altamirano aims to bridge these interests by investigating both individual and family risk and resiliency factors involved in patient and caregiver mental health. She plans to investigate concepts including how families adapt to changing roles following a severe mental illness diagnosis, exploring differences between American and Hispanic approaches, and differences that may be present within subcultures of Hispanics (e.g., Mexican, Cuban, Salvadorian).

    Stephanie ClementsStephanie Clements

    Stephanie Clements is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Biology. Her research focuses on conservation and tropical ecology with a special emphasis on habitat fragmentation. She completed a B.S. in environmental science at Roanoke College in Virginia. Ms. Clements has worked with both an environmental advocacy group and the National Park Service where she gained experience in public outreach and education. Her interest in tropical conservation has led her to pursue research in the rainforests of Costa Rica. For her dissertation, Ms. Clements is examining how habitat fragmentation impacts reptiles and amphibians. She is specifically investigating movement between patches of forest and whether biological corridors are an effective conservation tool for reptiles and amphibians. Her project coincides with the planning and implementation of a biological corridor connecting two large forest reserves in the region. Ms. Clements hopes that her work will assist in ongoing and future conservation efforts throughout the tropics.

    Rosario ConchaRosario Concha

    Rosario Concha is a second-year graduate student pursuing her PhD in sociology with a concentration in Criminology. She is originally from Santiago, Chile. She earned her MA in Sociology from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, an MPhil in Chilean and Latin American Literature from the University of Chile, and a BA in psychology from the University Católica de Chile. Ms. Concha’s research interests are the sociology of crime and punishment, historical sociology, archival research, and Latin American and gender studies. During her summer research fieldwork 2019, supported by a Tinker Foundation grant, she started archival research on cases of women prosecuted for abortion between 1874 and 1950 at the National Historic Archive in Santiago. During her UMIA Fellowship, Ms. Concha will begin analyzing these sources from the perspective of institutional gendered violence.

     

    Lydda LópezLydda López Valdez

    Lydda López Valdez is a PhD candidate in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. She holds a BA from Reed College and an MA from Florida International University, both in Linguistics. Ms. López Valdez is a scholar of language and culture in Latino communities and is currently working on her dissertation which explores rural and urban dynamics in the context of South Florida. Her work addresses global flows and the mobility of linguistic features across borders and how these relate to issues of identity construction among new Latino communities. Ms. López Valdez’s research contributes to interdisciplinary scholarship that considers the role that linguistic difference plays in the lives of US Latino communities in terms of group identity and social inequality. She is the UMIA/LASP Distinguished Graduate Teaching Fellow for the 2019-2020 year and will teach the course “Spanish, Power, & Linguistic Ideology: exploring language in the global city, Miami.” The class introduces students to basic concepts in sociolinguistics and using Miami as its focus, will discuss ideologies regarding language and politics, education, gender, etc. As part of their final project, students will conduct a digital project and a sociolinguistic field study related to Spanish language use and representation in the Miami linguistic landscape.

  • 2018-2019 Distinguished Graduate Fellows

    Kikie SeideKapriskie “Kikie” Seide

    Kapriskie is a third-year doctoral student at the sociology department. She was born in Haiti and moved to Boston during her Junior year of high school. She holds a BA (Honors) in Sociology from Fitchburg State University and an MPH from the University of New England. Before her doctoral pursuit, she worked as an intern at the Maine Access Immigrant Network (MAIN) in Portland where she developed a clearinghouse of health and social services resources for providers in Greater Portland to assist the asylee, refugee, and asylum seeker populations in Maine. Her scholarly work lies in three programmatic areas, medical sociology, race/ethnic relations, and global health. Overall, her research focuses on the ways in which factors at micro and macro levels affect health outcomes, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities and people living with disabilities in the Caribbean, Latin America and their diasporic communities. For her dissertation, she plans to conduct a phenomenological study of the experience of living with acquired physical disabilities in Haiti with a focus on survivors of the 2010 Earthquake. The study will consider the historical conjuncture of neocolonialism and underdevelopment in Haiti.

    Laura IeuseLaura Iesue
    Twitter: laura.iesue

    Laura Iesue is a second year doctoral student in the department of Sociology. Her research focuses on immigration and crime with a special emphasis in law, society and punishment.  Laura completed her M.A. at New Mexico State University in sociology followed by internships in Washington D.C. where she gained experience learning about security and criminal justice programs within Central America, migration due to violence, and also reintegration programs available for recently repatriated individuals in Central America’s Northern Triangle. This experience, combined with her interest in the process of ‘crimmigration’ within the U.S. is what ultimately led her to pursue her degree from University of Miami. This year she will be working on her project Insecurity and Migration Under the Implementation of Criminal Justice and Security Policies in the Northern Triangle which will be presented at a panel at the Latin American Studies Association in May, 2019.

    Lidiana de MoraesLidiana de Moraes

    Lidiana de Moraes is a third-year doctoral student in the department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Her dissertation project examines thematic and historical connections thorough postcolonial theory among contemporary female writers in Angola, Brazil, and Mozambique. De Moraes earned an M.A. from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS – Brazil) in Literary Theory, and afterwards received a Fulbright Fellowship to work as a Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Miami. Her other areas of interest include subaltern studies (focused on gender, race, and ethnicity); cinema and media studies; comparative literature, and ideologies of language. She has published on the topics of postcolonialism, memory and identity, translation studies, gender representation, and contemporary Luso-Brazilian literatures. Lidiana received the UMIA Teaching Fellowship to develop and teach a class entitled, “Organizando o movimento, orientando o Carnaval: Exploring 20th- and 21st-Century Social Movements through Brazilian Music,” that will be cross-listed in Latin American Studies, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Musicology in Spring 2019.

  • 2017-2018 Distinguished Graduate Fellows

    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

    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).