Greetings from the other side of the equator! This week in Chile marks another week of teacher protests and schools not in session, meaning that my research is at a semi-standstill. And if the protests weren’t obstacle enough, one of the universities at which I am conducting interviews experienced a fire in one of its buildings this past week, which shut the campus down for a couple of days. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but now I can safely say that there truly never is a dull moment here in Santiago!
Luckily, I have been able to continue my interviews with English professors at other universities, which has provided me with great contacts and excellent information for my project. In fact, in one of my interviews this past week I was introduced to the director of the university’s English office, and amidst our introduction, it quickly became known that he had studied at Notre Dame to receive his Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership. This is just one example of the strength and reach of Notre Dame’s alumni network – in this case, even extending beyond the northern hemisphere! I will be meeting with this director next week to discuss not only my project but also how his education at Notre Dame has led him to his current work in Santiago.
For this week’s blog, however, I want to shed a spotlight on my good friend, Lauren, who is also currently in Santiago this summer to conduct a research project. Lauren is a senior Spanish major with minors in International Development and Poverty Studies, and she also studied abroad with me in Chile during the Fall 2014 semester. She is back in Chile for two months this summer to conduct research on the feminization of poverty. Specifically, Lauren says she is interested in investigating the sexual and reproductive health education of adolescent mothers in one of Santiago’s most underserved neighborhoods. Aside from her research, Lauren is also excited to be back in Chile to not only revisit with the family and friends she made while abroad here last semester, but to continue exploring Santiago and its various museums, parks and events.
Lauren at a look-out in Parque Metropolitano with the Santiago skyline in the background
This project will serve as Lauren’s capstone for her minor in International Development, but she is also currently working to continue studying this topic through a post-graduation research grant from Fulbright. To guide her along in the application process for Fulbright, Lauren has been working closely with the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). CUSE is an office on campus that offers not only funding for undergraduate research but also offers general guidance in the development and execution of such research projects. In addition, the CUSE office also works to help Notre Dame students and alumni to apply for and receive national fellowships, such as Fulbright, which provide opportunities for students to receive postgraduate funding for study, research, teaching or internships.
Lauren hopes that by continuing her research through a Fulbright grant, she can better assist in the realization of the goals of the organizations with which she is working. Moreover, Lauren says, “I hope that by working with these local organizations for a longer period of time and utilizing what I have learned through my classes in International Development, we can provide more resources for these adolescent mothers and change the reality in this underserved neighborhood”.
I highly recommend checking out the website for CUSE, as I hope this blog sheds some light on all of the cool things that Notre Dame undergraduates are doing, the ways in which they created these opportunities for themselves and the ways in which you too can take advantage of all that Notre Dame has to offer. I’ll be back next week with a new blog post containing exciting updates on my research as my final week in Santiago approaches! Until then, chao y cuídense!