Dissertation Year Fellow (2013-14)
I am a doctoral candidate in United States History at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to attending Notre Dame, I received my bachelor's degrees from Purdue University in History and Spanish. As a historian I study how communities, ideas, and institutions change over time. I have learned that even the boundaries of seemingly self-evident categories, such as citizenship, national identity, and civic participation, change over time and vary according to place.
My dissertation “Latinos, the Ethnic Midwest, and the Evolution of Gary’s YWCA International Institute, 1919-2001” explores how Mexican women who migrated to the Midwest during the early twentieth century re-negotiated everyday social relationships in a company town. In particular I am interested in how these women re-fashioned a Mexican American identity for themselves through their contact with industrial capitalism, other immigrant groups, and late Progressive-era social reformers. It is my hypothesis that Mexican women in Gary relied on these everyday interactions to bridge the socioeconomic and cultural gap between their world and mainstream American society. The years between World War I and World War II were good for some immigrant groups and not so good for others. In the United States this was the period when the current legalistic and racially-defined contours of American citizenship took shape.
As a first-generation college student I am particularly interested in helping other underrepresented undergraduates learn about the higher education process. While at Purdue I attended various summer research programs for underrepresented students which fostered my interest in acquiring a PhD. These programs included: the Committee on Institutional Cooperation’s Summer Research Opportunities Program at Purdue University; the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Chicago; and the Leadership Alliance’s Summer Research Early Identification Program at Princeton University. In July of 2013 I moderated undergraduate research presentations at the Leadership Alliance’s annual National Symposium, and I hope to help again next year. In the future I hope to continue serving underrepresented students who are in the process of considering a career in academic research.